BENITEZ | Accepting Extinction

Buried amidst last year’s dumpster fire of headlines are harrowing threats to our species’ long-term existence. In 2017, we learned that the “slow down” in climate change between 1998 to 2012 was actually because we lacked Arctic data revealing otherwise. In “resistance” to this, the environmental goals of the world’s governments have grown increasingly pessimistic: what was once described as the point of no return has already been breached. While there are billionaires making earnest attempts to reduce our technologies’ footprint and send lifeboats to Mars, the ambitiousness of their proposals is enough to provoke skepticism in even the most fervent optimist. Empirical evidence of our planet’s increasing degradation might prompt a sense of nihilism even greater than that felt by the early postmodernists.


MORADI | In the Diaspora, You Come of Age Twice

My visit to Iran over winter break was like catching up with your best friend from elementary school years later, as an adult: awkward, albeit familiar. My journal entries from the last time I visited — five years ago, when I was 15 pounds lighter and had recently rapped all of “Thrift Shop” in a live acoustic performance in front of my peers and World History teacher — were mostly about how weird the dubbed Turkish soap operas on satellite TV were and how everyone suddenly got really into volleyball. I spent most of that visit sleeping until 3 p.m. and then playing Super Mario flash games with my cousins until it was cool enough outside to go stroll through historic Shiraz and all its stunning mosques and mausoleums.

This time around, though, the entries have scribbled-in sentences like “Everyone keeps asking if I have a boyfriend,” “so many people got divorced” and “apparently depression runs in my family.” Trips to Iran used to be a welcomed hiatus from East Coast cynicism and a rare chance to have fun with some of my favorite people in the world who I missed so, so dearly; instead, this visit got really real, really fast. My best friend from back home just landed in India last week. She makes similar observations: “It feels harder to hang out now that everyone’s grown up, because we don’t talk about kid stuff.” Questions like “How’s school?” or “What movies do you watch?” no longer suffice.



Last Saturday, the staff of The Cornell Daily Sun met to elect its 136th Editorial Board. As it was with the thousands of editors whose names graced this page before us, our mission is to provide the most comprehensive coverage, detailed analysis, and thoughtful commentary on the events and issues that matter most to Cornell and her community. It is an honor to play a small role in continuing this tradition of journalistic excellence, and I am elated to do so with the amazing group that is the 136th board. In 1981, at the dawn of The Sun’s second century, Editor in Chief Steven Billmyer ’83 wrote that the yearly changing of the boards was “The Sun’s most powerful asset allowing the editors a flexibility — one commercial papers cannot match — to produce a paper that better reflects this dynamic community.”

As The Sun continues to confront the challenges of 21st century journalism, Billmyer’s words ring more true than ever. Each successive generation of editors reinvigorates The Sun, ensuring that we always remain intimately connected to our audience and our environment.


PARK | On Happiness and Success

As intelligent, young Ivy League students, we seem to know it all. We know how to tackle complicated economic models, apply thermodynamic analysis and develop successful medical practices. And where our classes lack, our countless pre-professional organizations fill in the gaps to teach us how to capitalize on our assets, develop our career goals, and move up in this world. But when it comes to filling our lives with meaning, finding fulfillment and happiness in the real world, we don’t have a clue. We view happiness as a byproduct of success, rather than the means through which we get there.


DANBERG BIGGS | This Week I’m Just Writing About Rent

There’s a column out there, if someone can find it in them to write it, that rails against Cornell for increasing tuition by another 3.75%. It calls out the total absence of moral leadership in American universities that allows skyrocketing costs to be an immutable reality, and implores the student body to take a stand. Hopefully it points out that the $10 million increase in financial aid promised for next year is accompanied by about a $13 million increase in sum tuition for the nearly 50% of students who rely on financial aid. And if we’re lucky, it will mock Provost Kotlikoff’s absurd posturing that claimed to have “augment[ed] Cornell’s commitment to increasing the socio-economic diversity of its student body.” The generations who paid for debt-free school with loose change and a summer lifeguard job will quickly comment that the author is ungrateful and foolish, and the cycle will repeat.  That column should be written, but I don’t have it in me this week.


LETTER FROM THE EDITOR: Keep Shining, Cornell

What a year. We saw milestones like the much-anticipated opening of Cornell Tech, the ascension of our men’s hockey team to No. 1 in the nation, and the inauguration of Cornell’s 14th president. We witnessed an assault in Collegetown, the dismissal of Cornell’s oldest a cappella group for hazing, and the sudden resignation of the dean of the business college. These events, good and bad, make up the Cornell narrative, and it is our duty to make sure you, our readers, stay informed.


LIEBERMAN | Teenagers Taking Charge

In my high school debate class, there was a sign that hung on the wall, reading, “Hire a teenager while they still know everything.” And it was funny, I guess, in the condescending brand of humor that adults like. This piece of decoration was so trivial in the scheme of my life and education but, for some reason, I can’t get it out of my head right now. In the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, I have found myself asking, “Can teenagers save us?”

It would be an unfair burden to put on the back of these survivors of immense trauma, but they seem to be already picking up the pieces, assuming the responsibility. And what they have accomplished in mere days following the tragedy is absolutely awe-inspiring. So, maybe the answer to the gun-control debate has been to recruit some teenagers all along.


PINERO | Dear Boomers, Love Gen Z

Boomers, this is your reckoning. I hold you all personally responsible for the handbasket that’s currently dragging us into the bowels of hell.  If I hear someone over 35 whine about “kids these days” one more time, I swear to God, I’ll go ballistic. Those born after ’95 are the first native-born inhabitants of a bona fide brave new world. Authors of dystopian fiction have rolled over in their graves as they watched their warnings go unheeded.


AHMAD | Is It A Bad Time to be Muslim?

When I decided to put on the hijab, I was 18 years old. It was the summer of 2015, right before I left for college. It also just happened to be before Donald Trump announced that he was running for president, before Ahmed Mohamed’s arrest, before the hashtag “Stop Islam” trended, before the Muslim Ban made headlines, before countless anti-Islam protests and hate crimes, and certainly before I overheard a professor saying, “it’s a bad time to be a Muslim.”

And even before all of that, I had prepared myself for the worst. Needless to say, it wasn’t long before wearing a hijab began to feel like I was voluntarily putting a target on my forehead. Walking around campus my first few weeks at Cornell was intimidating to say the least.


GUEST ROOM | Living With a Disability at Cornell

I am a student at an Ivy League university, where I plan to major in mathematics with a possible double major in government. I earned an A+ for my first college math class, Theoretical Calculus II, and have advocated in front of three New York State senators, the lieutenant governor and the state comptroller. I have actively participated in the sport of fencing for more than five years, and hope  to one day become a certified referee. I have a rare congenital disorder called Larsen’s Syndrome which affects my muscular-skeletal system and has left me unable to walk. I require 24/7 nursing care, and assistance with many activities such as showering, preparing meals and transferring onto the toilet.