Re: “Santorum Calls Protests Disrupting Lecture Sign of ‘Liberal Intolerance’ at Cornell,” News, Nov. 23
To the Editor:
I hope Cornell can become an institution where different points of view are celebrated, not silenced. Any university, particularly an Ivy League school, should encourage respectful debate with opposing viewpoints. Unfortunately at Wednesday’s Rick Santorum event a small, but vocal group of students inappropriately interrupted his speech claiming that his views are “offensive” to some. The Cornell Republicans did not invite Senator Santorum to campus because we expected a majority of the student body to agree with him; rather we hoped that his perspectives would be educational to students at a university which typically only provides one point of view.
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.
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.
Re: “‘Disenchanted’ Students Seek Alternative to Clinton and Trump,” News, Nov. 6
To the editor:
Yesterday, The Cornell Daily Sun published an article titled, “‘Disenchanted’ Students Seek Alternative to Clinton and Trump.” Cornell Political Union member, Nate Baker ’17, states that, “Growing up in the era of gridlock has disenchanted many young voters from tradition party affiliation, We don’t feel loyal to a party, but rather to values, to candidates and to ideology.”
While Mr. Baker offers an interesting perspective, he fails to acknowledge another reason why many young voters are disenchanted with the current state of politics:
For many of us, this election is not a matter of values, appealing candidates or ideologies in abstraction, but rather, a matter of survival. Though values and ideologies are highly important, we also must fully consider the perspective of those who are not just disenchanted by the political system, but also disenfranchised by the system as a whole. As an undocumented student my life changed drastically in 2012, when President Obama issued an executive action that created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, under which I was able to get a work permit and driver’s license. DACA has given me the ability to attend Cornell and have bright job prospects upon graduation; however, since the primary days, Donald Trump has vowed to end DACA, something he could easily do given that it is under executive power.