I read a Letter to the Editor on The Sun’s website last November. Written by Cornell alumna Megan Tubb ’13, the letter criticized the Cornell student body for its actions following the presidential election. In response to a “cry-in” that was held on Ho Plaza, she writes “The day after the election, you responded by literally sitting on the ground and crying. What is worse is that student funds were used to provide said students with hot chocolate and coloring supplies. This is not what adulthood looks like.”
The above quote touches on a narrative that’s popular these days.
It has been over a year since the Student Assembly passed a resolution to introduce a new Asian American Studies major. You can see the profound progress we’ve made on the Fall 2017 Class Roster, where you will find a whopping two classes listed under the department. If progress doesn’t come in the form of AAS 2100: South Asian Diaspora and AAS 2620: Introduction to Asian American Literature, I don’t know what does. The dearth of courses on the Asian diaspora in America represents a larger issue facing Asian Americans today. We are silenced by the dominant culture, and we refuse to be silenced any longer.
On April 20, 2017, The Cornell Daily Sun published a lengthy letter to the editor from seven graduate students: Kevin Hines, Robert Escriva, Ethan Susca, Mel White, Rose Agger, Kolbeinn Karlsson and Jane Glaubman. The letter impugned the integrity of Cornell world-renowned Prof. David B. Collum, chemistry in the most serious ways, accusing him of being a rape apologist, misogynistic and unfit for the position of department chair. Several of the letter writers were graduate student union supporters active in the union vote drive. Prof. Collum has been widely criticized by union supporters for opposing the union drive. The letter appears to be payback.
This “vicious cycle” is perpetuated at Cornell. The underprivileged lack the economic and social resources necessary to break into some of the most effective extracurriculars. As a result, they have a tougher time taking advantage of what this campus has to offer. Upon graduation, they are often quantitatively and qualitatively behind.
iClicker: solution for everyone. Increase participation. Confirm understanding. Measure performance. This is what an iClicker claims to do, and I know that deep down, at its core, the iClicker is trying. It’s really trying. But Planet Earth is no place for a device with such naively optimistic, lofty goals. In this ecosystem, the cast of the educational system operates on reading lecture slides after class and cramming for exams. The mandate of expression is neither divine nor powerful — there is hardly a need for evaluating progress on a daily, numerical scale. (By the same logic, how do we feel about outlawing exams?) Assembling the mental artillery is a beautifully self-driven, forgiving, noncompetitive and definitely nonlinear process.
According to the admissions website, Cornell admits and retains international students because of its values for diversity and globalism. International students go through the same application process as all other first-year applicants with the exception of a required TOEFL or IELTS score for those whose first language is not English. Still, many wrongly perceive of international admissions as a lenient gateway for “rich international kids” who willingly pay the full tuition to get in.
I am of the opinion that widespread automation in sectors traditionally thought to be “white collar” or non-automatable is coming faster than we’d expect, thanks to the buzziest buzzwords in computing, like machine/deep learning and big data. The robots are coming, rapidly and surely, and we need to be prepared. Automation means quick and concentrated unemployment but also the creation of massive amounts of capital. The talk of the town in Silicon Valley is that public policy needs to catch up to the tech sector by considering universal basic income in order to avoid Great Recession-era levels of unemployment. By “taxing the robots,” we can lift the burden from the working class and instead make long-term investments in education and healthcare that raise quality of life for all. Ultimately, we create more interesting and fulfilling roles for human beings.
One of my favorite columnists, Jonathan Capehart, wrote a piece last Friday on President Trump’s first 100 days in office, titled “An Appreciation.” In it, Capehart says that Trump’s presidency hasn’t been as bad as he expected, and states that “[Trump] is responsible for the greatest surge in civic participation in half a century.” And while I’m not sure I would go so far as to say that exchanging Trump’s leadership for civic participation is a worthy trade, I think Capehart is spot-on in identifying the growth those who didn’t get what they wanted last November. We’re coming together now because we have to. I wish we didn’t have to, but at least we are.
Still, this project has been a highlight of my year and the past four. Although I didn’t find much this time, I learned a lot. And the prospect of discovering new scientific knowledge to help people is tantalizing.
To the Editor:
On March 17, President Rawlings responded to “Promoting Fair and Humane Labor Practices in Qatar,” a Student Assembly resolution calling on Cornell University to increase transparency about its presence in Qatar. Regrettably, he dismissed our calls to publish the dates of university meetings with Qatar Foundation officials and commit Cornell to combatting Qatar’s kafala system. As Martha Pollack assumes her role as Cornell’s president, we urge her to heed these demands and take a stronger stance than her predecessors on this critical issue. Perhaps most regrettably, Rawlings dismissed calls for unionization at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar by noting that unions are illegal in Qatar. In light of President Rawlings’ declaration that WCM-Q cannot recognize unions because of their illegality, we reaffirm workers’ fundamental right to a union as outlined in ILO Convention 87.