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GUEST ROOM | Should Grad Students Be Banned From Dating Each Other?

The Consensual Relationships Policy Committee has undertaken a long overdue revision of Cornell’s policies on romantic and sexual relations between faculty and students.  These relations are fraught because of differences in power and experience, because they can involve serious conflicts of interest and because they can have disruptive effects on the functioning of and climate within our professional workplaces. However, there is another class of romantic and sexual relations that seems similarly fraught — in kind if not in degree — that has received almost no discussion:  those between graduate students within the same department or workplace. Graduate school provides a transition between young adulthood and full professional stature, and graduate students mature enormously over the course of their studies. Before graduating they may participate in many of the professional functions of faculty, including undergraduate teaching, training and supervising new graduate and undergraduate students, evaluating students and writing recommendation letters, managing collaborations, and writing and reviewing manuscripts and proposals.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Know Your Union

To the Editor:

Unions in workplaces are a much-needed apparatus to ensure equitable work conditions. The power of collective bargaining is indisputably beneficial to workers in establishing fair contracts. Our vote in the impending referendum on the matter of unionizing graduate workers is of grave importance, and we bear the burden of vastly influencing the course of graduate education in Cornell and beyond. Follow not in the footsteps of Brexit, widely recognized as the glorious failure of democracy through uninformed, misinformed voters who leveraged their responsibility to vote through passion and nonchalance, bereft of rationality. This letter aims to understand the effect of unionization particularly through CGSU, as an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and New York State United Teachers.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Justice for Marsha Jean-Charles and for All Grad Workers

To the Editor:

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.