What I’m trying to say is, Trillium late-night hours will be in effect for the remainder of the spring semester (and hopefully beyond), and if you are even contemplating whether or not to join me in lovingly devouring a cream pasta bowl at 8 p.m., then the answer is yesssss.
I am a proud Cornellian. As a second-semester senior, I can easily say that I have experienced the roller coaster of ups and downs that virtually every Cornellian before me has felt. Regardless of what highs and lows this school has brought me to, I truly believe that this school, and the students in it, are a testament to what an elite education can do for both the individual and society as a whole. Cornell is, quite simply, a remarkable institution, with brilliant professors and students. Unfortunately, the university’s administration is a great stain on an otherwise incredible and noble history. In past columns, I have described the problems with the administration’s compulsive spending and inattention to the needs of lower-income students.
From Picasso to Piranesi, Cassatt to Cunningham, the Johnson Museum’s Highlights from the Collection: 45 Years at the Johnson showcases a wide variety of art. The scope is immense in both historical and geographical breadth. Upon entering the exhibition, I found myself face-to-face with a cow with its head turned to the side, eyeing some distant pastoral horizon as though musing over the kinds of deep insights only cows are sensible of. Its front legs are posed as though aware of an audience — Constant Troyon’s 19th century bovine scene is at once striking and peaceful, unique and unobtrusive. Past the cow is a row of medieval Asian art where a bronze 12th century Ganesha is adjacent to a 15th century Burmese tile depicting two elephant-headed warriors.
On Saturday evening, Cornell students, alumni, faculty and local Ithaca residents were treated to a screening of the documentary Agents of Change at Kennedy Hall. The event was hosted by Associate Dean of Students Dr. Renée T. Alexander ’74 and co-sponsored by Black Students United, OADI, Omega Psi Phi, Ujamaa Residential College and the Office of the Dean of Students. The winner of both Jury and Audience awards at the 2016 Pan African Film & Arts Festival, Agents of Change takes us back in time to the 1968 strike at San Francisco State University and the 1969 Willard Straight Hall takeover at Cornell. Both SFSU and Cornell protests were based on similar demands for an increase in black faculty and students and the development of a black studies program. The directors Abby Ginzberg ’71 and Frank Dawson ’72 cleverly juxtapose the two events.
For two years, all Cornell could talk about was the College of Business. So why is the administration so tight-lipped following the sudden departure of Soumitra Dutta, the college’s dean, on Tuesday? Dutta, who had served as the dean and public face of the controversial SC Johnson College of Business since its launch in 2016, resigned yesterday without explanation. A University spokesman declined to comment because Cornell “does not comment on private personnel matters,” and in an email to colleagues, Joe Lyons ’98, executive director of leadership gifts, communications and donor engagement, said that “no further comment will be coming.”
The college Dutta led is integral to the University’s plan for the 21st century, and Cornell’s lack of transparency is unacceptable. Endowed by the single largest donation to Cornell’s Ithaca campus, housed in the $25-million state-of-the-art Breazzano Family Center, built to catapult the Johnson name into the ranks of Wharton, Sloan, Kellogg and Haas — and yet, not a whisper about why its founding dean has made such an unceremonious exit.
In the midst of the most intense flu season since 2009, it remains vitally important that all members of the Cornell community remember to get vaccinated. The failure of both Cornell Health and the Tompkins County Health Department to prepare adequately for this season’s demand is disappointing, but Cornellians and Ithacans alike should not let this inconvenience prevent them seeking out the vaccine where it is still in supply. Universities like Cornell are prime breeding grounds for communicable diseases like flu. The close quarters of dormitories, lectures, dining halls and dance floors bring us into contact with hundreds of people every day, each of them potential flu-carriers. Vaccination is the healthy and the smart choice.
We are writing in regard to the recent guest column, “Being a Graduate Student in a Harvey Weinstein World at Cornell University,” to emphasize that sexual harassment or coercion of any kind has no place at Cornell. The author is absolutely correct that graduate students and, indeed, all members of the Cornell community should be protected from sexual coercion and that academic success should never be linked to such pressures. For that reason, it is important to be aware that Cornell Policy 6.4 clearly prohibits such misconduct. That policy defines “Sexual Coercion” as follows:
“To obtain compliance with sexual acts by using physically or emotionally manipulative actions or statements or expressly or implicitly threatening the person or another person with negative actions. Examples of sexual coercion include statements such as “I will ruin your reputation,” or “I will tell everyone,” or “your career (or education) at Cornell will be over.”
The policy also defines Sexual Harassment as follows:
A form of protected-status harassment that constitutes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other oral, written, visual, verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that unreasonably interferes with the individual’s work or academic performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or learning environment under any of the following conditions:
Submission to, or rejection of, such conduct either explicitly or implicitly is (1) made a term or condition of an individual’s employment or academic status, or (2) used as a basis for an employment or academic decision affecting that person; or
The conduct is sufficiently (1) persistent, severe or pervasive, and (2) has the purpose or effect of altering the conditions of an individual’s employment or academic pursuits in a way that a reasonable person would find abusive, hostile, or offensive.
The new attorney for the Cornell student charged with a hate crime said his client never touched the victim, that he took a lie detector test proving so and that he is on leave but plans to return to Cornell.
I’ll preface this column by stating my intentions. I’m here to attempt to calm down these masculine macho men we see too often in many of the fraternities here at Cornell, and to approach this subject through my experience with it in the Marine Corps. That’s right, I’m a jarhead. During boot camp, we were legally and illegally hazed. The specificities of my treatment are best left unsaid because quite frankly, they were disgusting and atrocious, and absolutely insane, but there was some purpose to this hazing.
Cornell is not a university specifically reserved for the STEM disciplines. We were founded under a proud cosmopolitan banner of “Any Person, Any Study,” and we differ from MIT or CalTech in that we claim to offer the highest possible level of instruction in any field a person might choose. As a former PMA/English major I can say I was never belittled on campus, but I noticed an unquestionable lack of interest in funding arts departments and activities, compared to the hard sciences. This comes with the territory — the arts students tend to be far fewer in number than the STEM ones — but there is a very real danger that eventually, History, Philosophy, Comp Lit and Comm majors will have a far less rigorous education than the name of Cornell promises. The Schwartz Center has seen this with its extensive budget cuts passed seven years ago, and with its folding of three majors into one.