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.
The past several days have not been easy for many Cornellians, but Wednesday’s peaceful march to and sit-in at Willard Straight Hall show that our community is more than up to the challenge of defeating racism and hate. Both the administration and Black Students United have acted with grace and with gravity in the wake of last week’s Collegetown assault, and as Cornell begins to lumber toward substantive and meaningful change, we hope that the spirit of open dialogue and mutual respect persists. The signs are positive. President Martha E. Pollack’s Sept. 17 message to the Cornell Community made clear that the University takes the situation seriously, and the presidential task force, if properly constituted, could be an incredibly important mechanism in the months to come.
The events reported earlier tonight by The Sun are incredibly disturbing and merit immediate and comprehensive action by the University and the Interfraternity Council. Early Friday morning, a black Cornell student told The Sun he was verbally and then physically assaulted outside of his residence after attempting to break up a fight around 1 a.m. The student, who was struck repeatedly in the face, was hospitalized.
This Wednesday marks the official opening of Cornell Tech on Roosevelt Island, the culmination of a series of events that began with the school’s founding at the Google office in Chelsea, New York. The vibrant, modern architecture sweeping through the campus is a nod to its goals of sustainability and innovation, and its curriculum is designed to explore intersections between many types of disciplines. We hope Cornell Tech becomes the best of its kind — an institution unparalleled in its ability to promote interdisciplinary learning and understanding between all corners of this contemporary world. Over the past several months, Cornell Tech has established partnerships with a diverse range of corporations and external organizations in hopes of allowing students to apply their skills in a variety of ways. This will allow Cornell Tech to realize its goal of bridging academia and industry.
Editors Note: Reed Steberger ’13 ended their candidacy for Tompkins County Legislature Thursday night.
In less than one week, Democrats will head to the polls to elect their nominees for the Tompkins County legislature. In District 4, incumbent Rich John ’81, who won a write-in campaign four years ago, is being challenged by Reed Steberger ’13. No candidate in the race has been endorsed by this paper. However, following a disturbing report in The Sun about Steberger’s conduct while at Cornell University, we are calling on Steberger to drop out of contention for this seat.
On Tuesday, the Trump administration decided to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — otherwise known as DACA — in an unfortunate manifestation of a familiar pattern for this White House. This sequence of events would have embarrassed any previous administration but is now quite normal: a controversial proposal is floated, the president appears to vacillate on the issue seemingly up until the date of the announcement, and then he makes the wrong decision, despite Jared and Ivanka’s extensively leaked efforts to convince him to do otherwise. DACA, enacted in 2012 under President Obama, extended protection from deportation to hundreds of thousands of residents who were brought to America as minors by their parents. After today’s decision, the fates of up to 800,000 DREAMers across the country hang in the balance. The administration’s callous disregard for both the livelihoods of those affected and the economic impacts of such a shift in policy is cruel and deserves to be denounced in the strongest terms.
The announcement comes on the heels of the president’s direction to Congress, issued on Twitter, to “get ready to do your job-DACA!” On this particular issue, we agree with the president: Congress should do its job by immediately passing legislative protections for DACA recipients when they return from recess this September.
Cornell’s 14th president, Martha E. Pollack, takes the helm of the University at a time of great opportunity and great uncertainty for the institution and the students it serves. In the coming months, Cornell will realize two projects both years in the making: the Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island, and the S.C. Johnson College of Business in Ithaca, twin endeavors that have the potential to dramatically augment and enhance the scope and impact of the University. In addition, the Pollack administration must reckon with a federal government increasingly hostile toward science, the humanities, higher education writ large, and a U.S. president who agitates against minority groups that are an integral part of the Cornell community. Our guiding principle of “Any Person, Any Study” lies in opposition to the priorities of the White House, and President Pollack must stand resolute against any attempts by Washington, D.C. to endanger either Cornell’s mission or its students. We applaud her for her strong condemnation of President Trump’s milquetoast and dithering statement on white supremacy and Neo-Nazism following the tragedy in Charlottesville, Va., and trust that she will continue to advocate publicly for equality and justice whenever necessary.
Last Wednesday, agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 32-year old Mexican national and Ithaca resident Jose L. Guzman. The event was confirmed and only widely spread once reporters investigated the swift and shocking arrest, a bleak reminder that federal agencies are operating faster than ever under the auspices of the current administration. ICE has become more active over the past few months, increasing their arrests by a staggering 32.6 percent only a few weeks after Trump assumed the presidency. Under the Obama administration, federal agents were directed to focus on serious criminals — now, empowered by the new administration, ICE is increasingly merciless in its efforts to deport undocumented immigrants, even those with no criminal record. “Before, we used to be told, ‘You can’t arrest those people,’ and we’d be disciplined for being insubordinate if we did…Now those people are priorities again,” a 10-year veteran of the ICE agency admitted to The New York Times.