Meet us halfway and submit a caption for this week’s cartoon! The Sun staff will vote and the winning caption — along with the winner’s name — will appear in the Monday, February 26 edition of the paper. The deadline for submission is 11:59 p.m. on Friday, February 23.
A series of six retractions and several corrections issued by Prof. Brian Wansink, marketing, director of the Food and Brand Lab, is deeply concerning and requires further investigation and explanation from the University. The reputation of Cornell’s research is critical to the success of its students and faculty, and should be a predominant priority of the Administration. Faculty who produce research with inconsistent data or improper methods risk not only their own academic reputations, but those of all their colleagues, students and that of Cornell as a whole. Cornell previously concluded that the errors found in some of Wansink’s research “did not constitute scientific misconduct.” However, the ongoing string of retractions is indicative of a pervasive lack of proper methodology and analysis. Cornell must further investigate the integrity of Wansink’s research findings and provide an explanation for the retractions and corrections — the University must do better than merely referring back to an outdated statement from last October.
One week ago, Provost Michael Kotlikoff announced the surprise resignation of Soumitra Dutta, dean of the SC Johnson College of Business. In the seven days since, the University has refused to explain the circumstances of Dutta’s departure. The Sun has reported that administration officials are working hard behind the scenes to maintain silence, and a brief statement released by Dutta on his LinkedIn page offers no further substantive explanation for his exit. The announcement blindsided not only Dutta’s interim successor, L. Joseph Thomas, but faculty and administrators in and out of the business college, including the dean of the hotel school. Professors and students alike have become amateur Poirots and Marples, speculating over coffee as to the reasons why the dean left so abruptly.
The behavior attributed to Zeta Beta Tau by the Fraternity and Sorority Review Board on Friday is abhorrent, and the sexist ideas underlying such behavior must be addressed within the University. The “contest” described in the report is an exercise in hazing and sexism, and shows a severe lack of judgement by those involved. Women are not points to be won. Using women and their bodies as a path toward higher social stature is unacceptable. The casual labeling of women as “pigs” is sexist and dehumanizing — and the brothers of ZBT should take a moment to think about how the women they objectified are feeling today.
For two years, all Cornell could talk about was the College of Business. So why is the administration so tight-lipped following the sudden departure of Soumitra Dutta, the college’s dean, on Tuesday? Dutta, who had served as the dean and public face of the controversial SC Johnson College of Business since its launch in 2016, resigned yesterday without explanation. A University spokesman declined to comment because Cornell “does not comment on private personnel matters,” and in an email to colleagues, Joe Lyons ’98, executive director of leadership gifts, communications and donor engagement, said that “no further comment will be coming.”
The college Dutta led is integral to the University’s plan for the 21st century, and Cornell’s lack of transparency is unacceptable. Endowed by the single largest donation to Cornell’s Ithaca campus, housed in the $25-million state-of-the-art Breazzano Family Center, built to catapult the Johnson name into the ranks of Wharton, Sloan, Kellogg and Haas — and yet, not a whisper about why its founding dean has made such an unceremonious exit.
In the midst of the most intense flu season since 2009, it remains vitally important that all members of the Cornell community remember to get vaccinated. The failure of both Cornell Health and the Tompkins County Health Department to prepare adequately for this season’s demand is disappointing, but Cornellians and Ithacans alike should not let this inconvenience prevent them seeking out the vaccine where it is still in supply. Universities like Cornell are prime breeding grounds for communicable diseases like flu. The close quarters of dormitories, lectures, dining halls and dance floors bring us into contact with hundreds of people every day, each of them potential flu-carriers. Vaccination is the healthy and the smart choice.
Tuesday’s reported arrest of a man in downtown Ithaca by U.S. Immigrations and Custom Enforcement is the latest example of the federal overreach and lack of accountability characteristic to the Trump administration. Under President Trump, arrests by ICE have increased 47 percent, and arrests of undocumented immigrants with no criminal records have increased a staggering 179 percent. ICE continues to show a blatant disregard for human dignity, arresting parents dropping their kids off at school, students going to high school prom and patients emerging from operating rooms. On Jan. 16, ICE arrested a Michigan doctor and lawful permanent resident, and have initiated deportation proceedings against him based on two misdemeanor charges from nearly three decades ago, when the man was a teenager. How does that make us safer?
Last semester Cornell was witness to a potential hate crime in Collegetown, continued overzealous behavior by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a display of rank anti-Semitism and the abrupt end to the once-promising political career of a graduate of Cornell in a precursor to the #MeToo movement.
This coming Tuesday, New Yorkers will have the opportunity to call for a state constitutional convention. While the idea of revising the state constitution is an attractive one, to do so now would be at best a non-event with costly side-effects, and at worst a dangerous exercise in the rollback of currently-existing protections. As a result, we urge voters to reject a constitutional convention at the ballot box this week. In the event of a convention, almost all delegates would be elected from existing state senate districts (15 would be elected at-large). The state senate map is consistently gerrymandered by the Republicans who have controlled the upper chamber for all but three years since 1938.
Every fall, members of the Cornell Board of Trustees and the Cornell University Council arrive in Ithaca for a whirlwind weekend of meetings, presentations, speeches and socializing. While we always appreciate the presence of Cornell’s supreme authority on campus, we hope that the trustees and councilmembers seize this brief opportunity to interact as much with the student body as possible, and we hope that the University administration addresses the need to bring trustees in contact with students in unstructured ways. Members of the Board of Trustees have the unenviable task of performing two full-time jobs at once. They are CEOs and managing partners, NBA owners and philanthropists, and for much of the year we understand that Cornell may not be their primary focus. But for these four days, they have the ability to reconnect with their alma mater in a substantive way that too often goes underutilized.