Wait. You mean you want my opinion now?
I’ve basically spent the last four years suppressing my opinion and now you want me to say what I think for 1,000 words every two weeks?
You’ve got to be kidding.
See, you have to understand that, as the managing editor of The Sun’s 123rd Editorial Board, one of the main parts of my job was making sure that the news section remained impartial. Meaning, obviously, that the opinions had to be left to the opinion section.
And now, they want me to break loose from that mold and tell you what I think.
Easier said than done.
As a result of this predicament, I spent the summer trying to figure out what I want to do with the space I have been allotted.
I know I don’t want to be a political columnist (while I definitely have my beliefs, I don’t have nearly the qualifications to be talking politics), a humor columnist (I’m not that funny) or a sex columnist (who would want to follow Heather Grantham? Not me, that’s for sure).
So here’s what I came up with: I am going to do my best to discuss issues specific to Cornell every two weeks and try to give you a more “internal” perspective on them: the perspective that I had when I was managing editor.
Camping out for hours in a stairwell during the Redbud Eight’s Day Hall takeover in spring 2005, investigating the mysterious resignation of President Lehman, speculating about the identity of a new president, in addition to following the inner workings of the Student Assembly at its most dysfunctional, gives one a very unique viewpoint on campus issues. And that’s what I am going to try to bring to you.
I also might throw in some stories from my experiences as a Sun editor, call attention to some great things occurring on The Hill and rant about some University policies and happenings that particularly disturb me.
Case in point: students are now going to have to pay to see some Cornell athletic events other than men’s hockey, including basketball and football games.
I know that there are a ton of issues at play here, but the fact that the Student Assembly and the athletics department could not find a way to work out their budgetary issues is ludicrous. A university with an endowment the size of Cornell’s really shouldn’t be having an internal squabble over admission prices for athletic events when the teams aren’t exactly drawing large crowds for all but a precious few games a year.
The problem is that the athletic department is really, truly, at the mercy of the Student Assembly when it comes to a large part of its funding. So, basically, one of the largest athletics programs in the NCAA is controlled by a bunch of power-hungry students who campaign on issues irrelevant to their eventual political positions and then spend an entire school year finding new reasons for The Sun’s columnists to advocate the destruction of their entire system.
(Associate Editor Carlos Maycotte just laughed and sarcastically said that my previous comments about the SA were “a great way to start off the year.” Look, I am not trying to attack the SA right off the bat here. Let’s call it “encouragement.” Prove me wrong, guys.)
But I digress…
Despite its faults, I really love Cornell (otherwise I probably wouldn’t be staying here an extra three years for law school), but it’s really true that sometimes it seems that the right hand has no idea what the left is doing, which makes for some pretty absurd situations.
But, I believe we are heading in the right direction.
On Thursday, we begin our first academic year with President David J. Skorton at the helm. And it will be very interesting to see how it goes.
I’ve been a student at Cornell now for four years and have seen two presidents alternate in the position, so I’m used to seeing 300 Day Hall with a revolving door.
But I think we might have just found some stability, one of the best things to happen to the University in years.
It’s not that President Rawlings wasn’t a great leader in a tough time for Cornell last year and during his initial term. He was.
It’s not that President Lehman’s presidency didn’t have its bright spots. It absolutely did.
It’s that, from what I can tell, President Skorton seems to be Cornell personified. And I think that’s what this place really needs right now.
Cornell is eclectic. Those of you who are not reading The Sun for the first time know that firsthand. We have diverse academic programs and we have hundreds of groups, clubs and teams. Above all, we also know how to have fun.
President Skorton is a cardiologist, a computer scientist, a research ethicist, a musician and a Facebook friend. He had a weekly jazz radio show at the University of Iowa and will be a monthly columnist for The Sun. If that’s not Cornell material, I don’t know what is.
The president sets the tone for the university. From President Rawlings, among other things, came the North and West Campus residential initiatives, in addition to the freshman reading project. From President Lehman came Cornell’s transnational focus and the life science initiative.
President Skorton, let’s see what you’ve got.
Eric Finkelstein ’06 is a former Sun managing editor and is currently a first-year student in the Law School. He can be contacted at email@example.com. Saturdays Excepted will appear alternate Mondays this semester