The socio-political climate recently has been emotionally taxing, taking a toll on our graduate student body. Locally, this has been exacerbated by the vitriolic nature of discussions on the union, with accusations flying on both sides. Some have charged CGSU with harassing tactics. Others are painting neutrality or alternate views about the union as self-interest and apathy towards the welfare of their peers across fields. We are writing as the two graduate student representatives on the General Committee, the administrative, legislative and judicial board of the Graduate School.
ByJackson Weber, Krystin Chiellini, Marshall Peters, Miles Norris, Grace Tucker, Kaitlin Doering, Jeff Kubiak, Ellie Crowell |
To the Editor:
Over the past few weeks, several of our fellow Ivy League athletics teams made headlines for engaging in some appalling actions. The Harvard Men’s Soccer and Men’s Cross Country teams both created spreadsheets to assess the physical attractiveness and sexual appeal of their female student-athlete counterparts and freshmen recruits. These “scouting reports” contained degrading, sexually explicit language about these women, many of whom were their friends. At Columbia, the Men’s Wrestling team is currently under investigation for racially and sexually explicit group messages. As captains and leaders of varsity athletics teams at Cornell, we are deeply disappointed by these acts.
Re: “Cornell Republicans to Host Rick Santorum as Fall Speaker,” News, Nov. 14
To the Editor:
Appreciating the challenge of producing the immediate post-election issue of The Cornell Daily Sun I wanted to congratulate your staff on a fine job of grappling with both the emotional and strategic issues facing the Cornell and broader Ithaca communities at this time. One article reported on the front page deserves critical comment, however. The invitation of Rick Santorum to visit and speak on behalf of the Cornell Republicans is presented as an uncontroversial, even thoughtful choice of a group who claims to want to return its attention to conservative philosophy after being distracted by the Trump campaign, which Santorum, unlike the Cornell Republicans, supported and endorsed. Santorum is an extreme Islamaphobe, climate change denier, homophobe and sexist, who is opposed to the use of contraceptives even in marriage.
On September 21, at 4 p.m., Marsha Jean-Charles walked out of Caldwell Hall into the afternoon sun, surrounded by friends and greeted by supporters. She’d just finished presenting her case clearly and calmly to her appointed Graduate Grievance Review Board, after nearly four months of navigating Cornell’s grievance process. A hearing with a GGRB, composed of a board chair plus two anonymous faculty members and two anonymous grads, is the fourth and final step of this process. One way or another, Marsha felt ready for a decision — for closure. Six weeks later, Marsha was still in limbo. Incomprehensibly (and as the policy listed on the Graduate School website fails to make clear), a grievant is not entitled to access the recommendation of the GGRB.
There is a dreadful atmosphere here. One of my professors said he hasn’t seen the student body this disheartened since 9/11. Though I am sure that when Obama got elected in 2008, the same ambiance prevailed on university campuses in Texas. This is democracy and we need to accept it, live with it. We reap what we sow, after all.
At the height of the Cold War, when the U.S. and U.S.S.R. were competing in the development and testing of nuclear bombs, an Australian doctor named Helen Caldicott came to the United States. An expert in children’s cancers, she had taken leave of her profession to give three years of her life to raising awareness and urging people to stand up and speak out in opposition to further production and testing, which were both sending strontium 90 into the food chain and increasing the chance of a nuclear war. As she explained to audiences:
When I first grasped what a nuclear war would mean, I felt overwhelming grief. Then that grief turned to anger — anger at the “them” who were doing this to our planet. And then I turned my anger into energy; I determined that I would do all in my power to end the danger of nuclear war.
Amidst all the criticism of elite university students being fragile liberals, a letter to the editor was submitted to The Sun, which claims that students who were hurt to the point of tears ought not to be taken seriously. Frankly, after reading that letter I was painfully frustrated with the notion that students who cried were simply stubborn, disappointed toddlers. While I cannot speak for the students who organized the Ho Plaza “Cry-In,” I can speak for myself. I was utterly devastated by Donald Trump’s victory. So I, too, have a confession: I’m an undocumented student with DACA and I cannot vote.
You can discern a lot about a person’s character by the way she handles disappointment. I’m concerned that Cornell’s current culture of safe spaces is hindering students from developing the character required to handle disappointment graciously and courageously. If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say most of you are disappointed by the results of the recent presidential election which should give you the opportunity to reflect on the values you hold that have made you dissatisfied with the direction you see our country moving in. I encourage all of you to take this time to reflect on your commitment to diversity. Just a few months ago, The Cornell Daily Sun published an editorial arguing for the College Republicans to renounce Donald Trump.
My politics, like those of many academics, are liberal. On Wednesday, though, unlike some professors, I held my classes. I did so without thinking much. I was too shaky to think much, too shaky to stay at home alone. I started crying as I walked to my first class.
As I left Trump Tower late this morning, I was overwhelmed by how much spirits had been bolstered among a group that had never expected to come out the winners in a brutal election cycle that seemed like an uphill battle from the beginning. With the fresh taste of victory on their tongues, they had but a single question remaining: now what? The election of Donald J. Trump was the final cry for help from an increasingly desperate working class that could no longer be ignored. The President-elect’s coalition is built up of people who are overqualified and underemployed, voters whose swelling dissatisfaction with their downward economic spiral exploded into a populist movement that few pundits anticipated. A message of returned greatness did not echo for them thoughts of the 1950s or the pre-civil rights era; instead, it was a promise of once again being able to feed your family without working so long that you never got to see them.
In his “statement on graduate assistant labor union representation” (October 27), Interim President Hunter Rawlings cites the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR School) as being “the leader in the field of labor education.” We write here as faculty of the ILR School, drawing on our expertise and experience in the field of labor law, labor relations and labor rights. We agree with President Rawlings that it is essential that the University respect the graduate assistants’ choice of whether they wish to be represented by a union. We also agree that it is important that graduate assistants have access to information relevant to making their choice. Unfortunately, however, President Rawlings’ statement presents a negative view of unionization based on speculation and unsubstantiated assertions. In responding to these speculative claims, our letter seeks to provide useful information about the reality of unionization in universities.