EDITORIAL: Towards a Healthier Community

Svante Myrick’s ’09 Ithaca Plan recognizes that the current system has not been effective in addressing heroin use. His attempt at finding a better approach — by forming a municipal drug strategy committee and engaging over 200 Ithacans for the past two years — is bold and community-oriented.

EDITORIAL: Svante Myrick ’09: The Heroin Hero?

To curb heroin overdoses in Tompkins County, Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick ’09 announced Monday that he hopes the City of Ithaca will host the first supervised heroin injection facility in the United States. According to his proposal, at such a facility, heroin users would be allowed to inject themselves under the supervision of a nurse and be connected with recovery services. While Myrick worked to model his plan after similar facilities in Canada, Europe and Australia, the plan’s feasibility — given the significant legal and political hurdles to come — remains questionable. While we find Myrick’s emphasis on prevention addiction through mental health professionals admirable, we question whether this is the correct solution in regards to heroin usage given the emphasis on creating an injection facility. Myrick has not yet identified how the facility will be funded — through tax dollars or otherwise.

EDITORIAL: Considering the Effectiveness of Need-Blind Policy

Amid another tuition hike, Provost Michael Kotlikoff announced Thursday that Cornell would no longer be need-blind when considering the admission of international applicants due to insufficient funding for financial aid. Many students immediately expressed concern that this policy change would decrease the economic diversity of the international student population, with some thinking the new policy favors high-income and wealthier students. Judgement on whether this admissions policy change will affect the diversity of the school needs to be withheld until the administration concretely lays out how they anticipate reappropriating the presumed monetary gain or decrease in debt from the switch to a need-aware policy. Whether this change will negatively affect Cornell, which has a significantly smaller endowment compared to the peer institutions in which we hope to remain competitive with, depends greatly on whether non-monetary intentions exist and what exactly they are with this sort of change in admissions policy. Need-blindness is a great principle in theory because it says a school solely considers the quality of a student during admissions.

EDITORIAL: A Short-Sighted Rush for Approval

The Board of Trustees’ decision to approve the controversial College of Business, despite fervid backlash from both alumni benefactors and students, feels rushed given the lack of alumni and student input into the final decision. Following the Board’s approval of the college Saturday, President Elizabeth Garrett and Provost Michael Kotlikoff wrote that the approval of the plans for the College of Business “marks the beginning of an inclusive and crucial process.” The mindset behind this sentiment highlights the precise problem that the University did not start widespread discussion on a major change to the fundamental structure of Cornell until after the decision was approved. The lead up to the approval of the College of Business stirred a great deal of criticism among many Cornellians due to the surprising nature of the decision to consolidate resources. Following the announcement of the plans for the College of Business during exams period, many expressed legitimate concerns, which were exemplified by a letter penned by megadonor Charles Feeney ’56, which read, “I don’t believe a decision on the merger is appropriate at this time unless and until additional study of the potential outcomes have been carefully reviewed.” In addition, the administration decided to approve a move for a school — that prides itself on the ideals of shared governance — that the University Assembly, the Student Assembly and the Faculty Senate wanted to table. The decision to hold a forum after approving the college reads like a reactionary move made to roll over the tide of negative press facing the University’s post-announcement, rather than a genuine attempt to listen to the concerns of the community at large.

EDITORIAL: Holding the Student Assembly Accountable

On Nov. 22, 2015, the S.A. held what some of its members claim was an “executive session” to discuss how to allocate its $39,000 surplus, raising many red flags about its conduct. Because it was closed to the public, no minutes or notes from the meeting are available. Calling an “executive session” preempted public deliberation on how the S.A.’s surplus should be spent — a hypocritical move for an assembly that demands budget accountability from the student organizations that it funds. The S.A. may convene executive sessions “only to discuss confidential matters.” The bylaws state that confidential information includes information that, if publicly exposed, would endanger any member of the Cornell community or breach an individual’s rights.