Editorial

EDITORIAL | Inform the Public, Release the Report

The Elections Committee’s refusal to comply with the ruling of the judicial codes counselor in the Varun Devatha ’19 disqualification case is direly unfortunate and demonstrates an embarrassing lack of regard for reason on the part of our student government. Furthermore, it represents an impractical and dangerous seizure of power by a small, unelected council, and the public statement from the members of the committee does little to inspire any confidence in that body’s decision to uphold Devatha’s disqualification for violating election rules regulating promotional materials. We iterate once more how patently absurd it is to believe that a “steal his look” meme so profoundly affected the fairness of the election as to merit a disqualification.Should those on Elections Committee wish to regain the trust which they have so thoroughly dispensed themselves of, they must immediately release all documentation relating to the Devatha case, beginning with the initial challenge to the campaign, all the way through their assessment of the Judicial Codes Counselor opinion and their final report — including their assessment of why they believe they, rather than the JCC, have final authority on the matter. If the committee is so confident in its decision, let it argue it in front of the students which it serves. The committee’s statement references the responsibilities of “the overall community as an informed body politic” — and yet such an invocation rings hollow when the committee refuses to inform the body politic! If the committee is going to risk overturning the democratically expressed will of the people, they should do so openly.

Editorial

EDITORIAL | Really, Elections Committee?

A meme? Really? When The Sun first commented on the disqualification of Varun Devatha ’19, it did so with the belief that the Student Assembly elections committee would not have made that decision and upheld it on appeal, on such a triviality. Clearly, our faith was misplaced. Regardless of whether the offending image, posted in the Facebook group Cornell: Any Meme, Any Study by a supporter of the Devatha campaign, qualifies as “promotional materials” as defined in the elections rules, the suggestion that the meme in any way “comprised the fairness of the election and constituted a material advantage” for Devatha boggles the mind.

Editorial

EDITORIAL | It’s Time to Reform Student Assembly Elections

Forty-eight hours after polls closed in this year’s Student Assembly elections, the student body is no closer to knowing just who will represent them for the next twelve months. And now, The Sun has learned that results may not be public until as late as after Spring Break. The reason for this extended protraction is a challenge to the campaign of presidential candidate Varun Devatha ’19. Devatha was disqualified from the election late Wednesday for using a Cornell University logo in campaign materials, a violation of Article I, Section B, Rule 5 of the Student Assembly Election Rules, but has since appealed his disqualification. The letter of the rules is clear: the use of the logo is prohibited.

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EDITORIAL | Dale Barbaria ’19 for S.A. President

Beginning Monday at noon, undergraduates will have the opportunity to vote for their Student Assembly representatives for the 2018-2019 school year. Those elected will be responsible not just for representing student voices to the administration, but for overseeing the various organizations that receive byline funding. They will also face the daunting task of restoring trust in a body that has over the past year made a habit of controversial decisions and ill-timed statements that often overshadow the good work they do. In the race for president, The Sun is proud to endorse Dale Barbaria ’19, who currently serves on the assembly as a College of Engineering representative. We believe he has the greatest appreciation for the responsibilities and limits of the Student Assembly, and his experience as a college representative, parliamentarian, vice president for internal operations, and member of the University Assembly Codes and Judicial Committee leave him best prepared to face the challenges of the coming year.

Editorial

EDITORIAL | It’s Time for Stricter Gun Control

Last week, Cornell narrowly escaped becoming the latest entry in a list on which no school wants to appear. After a timely tip from Walmart, Ithaca police and the FBI were able to seize weapons, ammunition, and explosive materials from a former student’s Collegetown apartment, according to court documents unsealed Friday. Cornell is lucky, but that a very flawed system worked this one time is not a consolation, nor should it be used as evidence that America’s gun problem is anything less than incredibly dire. It is not right for a 20-year-old to be able to obtain an assault rifle, significant amounts of ammunition, tactical gear and bomb-making materials — all of which amount to what IPD called a “specific recipe for large scale destruction.” It is not right that the only thing illegal about Reynolds’ possession of that rifle was that he obtained it through a so-called “straw purchase,” wherein he paid another man to buy it for him. We must consider whether anyone, regardless of method of purchase, should be able to hoard such weapons.

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EDITORIAL | Cornell Can and Should Do More to Support Protesting Students

Our generation has never known a world without the threat of school shootings. We were practicing active shooter situations before we knew how to do long division — our teachers may have used phrases like “Code Red” or “shelter-in-place,” but we know what they really meant. In middle school, we joked about trench coats and heavy metal and “Bodies” by Drowning Pool because when we’re afraid of things, we try to cope by finding some humor in them. In high school, we watched Congress vote down even the most incremental increases in gun regulation as parents from Newtown, Connecticut, stood silently in the gallery and our president cried tears of anger and frustration. For two decades our leaders have failed us.

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EDITORIAL | Cornell Owes Answers on Wansink’s Research Blunders

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.

Editorial

EDITORIAL | One Week Later: Still No Answers on Business Dean Dutta’s Departure

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 Zeta Beta Tau fraternity house on North Campus. Katie Sims/ Sun Staff Photographer

EDITORIAL | Sexist ZBT ‘Contest’ Shows Need For Action

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.