“More Than a Survivor, More Than a Story” — an exhibition in Willard Straight Hall Art Gallery brought to campus by SASSY highlights the lives of survivors. (Darien Kim / Sun Staff Photographer)

Group Brings Exhibition to Campus Highlighting Survivors of Abuse

Aiming to raise awareness of the commercial sexual exploitation of children, “More Than a  Survivor: More Than a Story” — a photo project featuring the portraits of 22 women who are survivor leaders from across the country — opened to the public Monday in the Willard Straight Hall Art Gallery. The exhibit has taken more than a year of effort from Cornell organization Students Against the Sexual Solicitation of Youth — also known as SASSY  — and is a traveling photo project that offers an alternative narrative for victims of commercial sexual exploitation or domestic trafficking. At the opening reception for the exhibit, SASSY co-president Shiwani Bisht ’16 explained in her speech that the exhibit was based on “Survivor Leader Transition” or the the concept that survivors of sexual exploitation are more than their traumas. “The women in the photographs around us are beautiful, empowered and successful people who are more than a collection of traumatic events,” Bisht said. “They have become leaders by telling their stories, sharing their growth and combating commercial sexual exploitation in their own distinct way.”
Bisht then cited several examples of how the women in the photographs had overcome their traumas to become leaders in the arts, in science, in politics and even by fighting and protecting other victims of commercial sexual exploitation.

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Elie Kirshner ’18 Concedes, Nate Shinagawa ’05 Loses in County Elections

Democrats Elie Kirshner ’18 and Nate Shinagawa ’05 both failed to secure seats on the Tompkins County Legislature Tuesday, according to unofficial returns. Kirshner, who was running to represent the fourth district, secured 91 ballots to 118 ballots cast for write-in candidates. Shinagawa lost the second district seat to Independent candidate Anna Kelles by a margin of 340 votes to 474. 
Write-in candidate Rich John ’81 mounted a campaign against Kirshner also seeking to represent the fourth district, which includes the Collegetown and the Commons neighborhoods, two weeks after the Democratic party endorsed Kirshner, arguing that a more experienced candidate was needed. Shinagawa had represented the fourth district in the legislature for 10 years and announced his resignation from that seat on Sept. 16.

Ithaca Police Begin Wearing Body Cameras

Ithaca Police Department officers began wearing body cameras Monday afternoon, according to the police department. All patrol officers will be required to wear body cameras and every officer expected to be engaged in “law enforcement operations” — which include but are not limited to traffic stops, arrests, searches, physical or verbal confrontations and execution of warrants  — will now be required to record their activities through their body-worn cameras, according to the new policy issued by Ithaca Police Chief John Barber. “The use of cameras is intended to assist officers in the performance of their duties, increase transparency and accountability of IPD operations and gather evidence for use in the prosecution of crimes,” the policy reads. Officers will be required to activate recording on their body-worn cameras at the beginning of each “law enforcement operation,” however, officers may not record between operations, according to the policy. Officers are also not required to disclose when they are recording through their body cameras, but are expected to complete recordings once they begin until the “law enforcement operation” is completed or a supervisor permits the end of the recording.

Cayea Found Guilty in Murder of Jones ’15

Jurors found Benjamin Cayea guilty Wednesday of second-degree murder for the strangling of his girlfriend Shannon Jones ’15. He will face a sentence of 15 years to life and will be sentenced in December. The verdict, which came before 10 a.m. Wednesday and after hours of deliberation from the jury Tuesday, follows a four-day trial, in which the jury heard testimonials from 15 witnesses. Cayea had initially confessed to the murder of Jones in an interview with law enforcement hours after Jones’ death on Thanksgiving Day in 2014. However, Cayea presented a different story when he took to the stand Tuesday, testifying that the death was accidental and a result of a sexual encounter where Jones had asked him to choke her.

Cayea Found Guilty of Murdering Cornell Student

Jurors found Benjamin Cayea guilty Wednesday of second-degree murder for the strangling of his girlfriend Shannon Jones ’15. He will face a sentence of 15 years to life and will be sentenced in December. The verdict, which came before 10 a.m. Wednesday and after hours of deliberation from the jury Tuesday, follows a four-day trial, in which the jury heard testimonials from 15 witnesses. Cayea had initially confessed to the murder of Jones in an interview with law enforcement hours after Jones’ death on Thanksgiving Day in 2014. However, Cayea presented a different story when he took to the stand Tuesday, testifying that the death was accidental and a result of a sexual encounter where Jones had asked him to choke her.

Carly Rae Jepsen to Perform at Cornell

Carly Rae Jepsen — the Canadian pop singer who rose to fame with her viral song sensation “Call Me Maybe” in 2012 — will perform at Barton Hall on Nov. 1, according to the Cornell Concert Commission. Known for her catchy and infectious pop songs, Jepsen released her third album Emotion, which Rolling Stone described as “a compelling, vaguely retro, synth-bathed record,” in North America in August. “Cornell Concert Commission is thrilled to bring Carly Rae Jepsen to Barton Hall,” said Ryan Enderby ’16, executive director of the Cornell Concert Commission. “Far from a one-hit-wonder, Jepsen recently released her third album, Emotion,” Enderby said.

Graduate Students Move to Join Teachers’ Federation

Moving forward in their push for graduate student unionization, an “overwhelming majority” of Cornell Graduate Students United members voted Thursday to affiliate with the American Federation of Teachers and its state affiliate, New York State United Teachers, according to James Ingoldsby grad, CGSU communications and outreach chair. The decision to affiliate with the AFT had been in process for nine months and was determined by an internal CGSU vote, Ingoldsby said. “We were convinced the AFT was best placed to provide us with the support necessary to achieve justice for the thousands of graduate employees who take on steep teaching and research loads each semester,” Ingoldsby said in a statement. “Cornell works because we do, and we look forward to harnessing the power of our membership to escalate our campaign.”

CGSU, which has been an independent union since its inception, will have the support and resources of the NYUST, which currently represents 600,000 members, and the AFT, according to the release. “Today, graduate employees at Cornell stood up to say, ‘We deserve to have our voices heard,’ just like the tens of thousands of graduate students already affiliated with the AFT,” said Randi Weingarten ’80, president of the AFT, in yesterday’s release.

Students Challenge Garrett On Police Tactics, Labor Issues

Activists from different student groups publicly challenged President Elizabeth Garrett to respond to instances of intimidation from University police toward protesters as well as alleged labor rights abuses at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar during the inauguration events on Friday. Beginning at 9:10 a.m., before Garrett’s inauguration ceremony, student activists gathered on Ho Plaza and on the Arts Quad to distribute an open letter airing grievances regarding campus police actions against student protesters. The letter, addressed to Garrett and signed by the Cornell Independent Students’ Union, Cornell Graduate Students United, the Cornell Progressive and Students for Justice in Palestine, was distributed to visiting alumni, students and faculty members as they entered the seating area in the Arts Quad. “Last semester the Cornell Police used threats of jail time and fabricated charges to intimidate students who voiced dissenting speech,” the letter reads. “Police, wearing armor and carrying guns, are a common sight at peaceful political demonstrations on the Cornell campus.”

According to Alec Desbordes ’17, a member of CISU, the letter was written in response to a campus police investigation of student protester Daniel Marshall ’15 in April, in which the police investigator threatened criminal charges against Marshall if he did not cooperate by answering the investigator’s questions.

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INAUGURATION | Garrett Sets Forward Vision for Higher Education

Since stepping on campus, President Elizabeth Garrett has been busy. Among many things, she has challenged Day Hall leadership to cut inefficiencies, headed the search for a new provost, vowed to address graduate student diversity and workers’ compensation and even begun Instagramming as @CornellPresident. All this comes at a time when Cornell faces many uncertainties in its future. Colleges are still adjusting to a new University budget model implemented in 2014, the University continues its expansion in New York City with Cornell Tech and students have returned to campus after a semester filled with protests centered on rising costs of tuition and lack of administrative transparency. As the University moves forward in its next 150 years, many administrators, faculty and students are turning to Garrett to see how her vision will alter and change the course of Cornell.

President Garret sings the alma mater with President Emeritus David J. Skorton and Chairman of the Cornell University Board of Trustess Robert Harrison on Charter Day.

Charter Weekend Culminates With Barton Ceremony

The University’s Charter Day weekend celebration — an expansive three days centered around the Festival of Ideas and Imagination — came to a conclusion with the official Charter Day Ceremony in Barton Hall Monday. The ceremony brought together major University figures, from faculty to the Board of Trustees to the University Archivist, who marched in academic dress gowns along a plush red carpet to their seats in the opening procession. University Marshall and Prof. Emeritus Charles Walcott, neurobiology and behavior, stately led the procession while Vice Provost Judith Appleton — holding the silver-ribbed University Mace with white gloves — and President David Skorton was last in the procession. Descendant of founder Ezra Cornell, Ezra Cornell IV ’70 carried the framed University Charter, proudly raising it above his head as he walked to his seat. He placed it on a stand in the middle of the Barton Hall stage, where it stood in the background of the speakers throughout the rest of the ceremony.