Provost Michael Kotlikoff’s decision to move on from the proposed merger between the School of Industrial and Labor Relations and the College of Human Ecology is the right one, and we are glad to see this exercise in academic Frankensteining put to rest. We hope that without the most unpopular proposal casting a shadow over campus, Cornell can constructively debate the other elements of the Committee on Organizational Structures in the Social Sciences report. The merger idea encountered fierce pushback from faculty and students alike, particularly in the ILR school, and drew comparisons to 2016’s much-maligned creation of the College of Business. Eighty-eight percent of ILR faculty expressed opposition to the proposal in a survey presented to the Faculty Senate, 163 current ILR and Human Ecology students wrote a letter to The Sun objecting to the idea and all four living former deans of the ILR school similarly argued against the change in an open letter to Kotlikoff and President Martha Pollack published in The Sun. Throughout this process, the co-chairs of the committee and other members of the administration reiterated that the proposals laid out in the report were just that — proposals — and that the merger was not even the highest-rated idea.
Michael I. Kotlikoff announced on Tuesday that he is setting aside the proposal to merge the ILR school with the human ecology college along with the proposal to create a new College of Social Sciences due to a lack of support and enthusiasm for the ideas.
The Graduate and Professional Student Assembly tackled the issues of the possible restructuring of the social sciences and the proposed consensual relationships policy, while passing four resolutions at their meeting on Monday.
When the Committee on Organizational Structures in the Social Sciences recommended that the College of Human Ecology and the School of Industrial and Labor Relations combine, I laughed at the thought of HBHS students in Labor Law and ILR students in any science class besides Oceanography. Now that it may become a reality, it’s much less funny. The Student Assembly and former Deans of the ILR School already expressed their opposition to the merger on the grounds of cultural differences and practical difficulties. From the perspective of a sophomore ILR student, I understand the impetus to lump together all the Bachelor of Science majors that have very little to do with science, but I’d like to politely say “no thank you.”
For anyone who has ever asked an ILR student what Industrial and Labor Relations is, and sat through the resultant verbal diarrhea regarding a human perspective to the workforce or regurgitation of quotes from the ILR site, they know that we’re pretty confused here in Ives Hall. We are a collection of high school presidents, debaters, Model U.N. delegates and social justice activists who fell in love with the promise of “one major, endless possibilities” and have absolutely no desire to take pre-med classes.
The following letter was sent to President Martha Pollack and Provost Michael Kotlikoff yesterday. Dear President Pollack and Provost Kotlikoff:
We are the living former deans of the ILR School, and we write to express our strong opposition to the suggestion to merge the ILR School and the College of Human Ecology presented in the Report from the Committee on Organizational Structures in the Social Sciences. We have the greatest respect for our colleagues in Human Ecology, but our experience as deans and faculty members of the ILR School persuades us that a merger would have grave consequences for the ILR School and would not advance the social sciences at Cornell. We are not alone in holding that view: a poll of ILR tenured faculty conducted two weeks ago reveals overwhelming opposition to a merger. Furthermore, ILR alumni also overwhelmingly oppose a merger, something we learned in our continuing interactions with those individuals.
The College of Human Ecology had no inclination as to any future benefits when it was given three days notice that it had to abandon the old north wing of Martha Van Rensselaer Hall eight years ago. In 2001, the college effectively lost 30 percent of its space that it used for academic, research and outreach programs when the north wing of MVR was determined to have structural deficiencies, according to John Lamson, assistant dean of communications for Human Ecology.
As her fellow seniors scramble to secure jobs in an ever-dwindling economy, Fiber Science and Apparel Design major Constanza Ontaneda ’09 is forging her own path. A designer who grew up in places as divergent as Romania and Brazil, she’s already started her own international business, Bernales & Goretti, which imports fair-wage clothing made in Peru to be sold in the United States. The Sun sat down with Ontaneda in Risley Hall to discuss her passion for fashion, how she hopes to change Peru and her plans after school.
The Sun: How did you get started in design?
Many students see course evaluations merely as a tedious end-of-the-semester chore. However, some of Cornell’s colleges are working to turn course evaluations into a tool students can use in considering which classes they should take. Last February, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Faculty Senate voted to make the numerical component of their course evaluations available to the Cornell community.
New York governor David Paterson (D-N.Y.) has imposed a mid-year budget cut that decreased the state funding to Cornell’s four statutory colleges (Human Ecology, Veterinary Medicine, Agriculture and Life Sciences and the Industrial and Labor Relations) from over $159 to $153 million, according to Ron Seeber, vice provost for land grant affairs. This decrease represents a loss of between 6 and 7 percent of their previous state funding for each of the four colleges.
While the $6 million worth of cuts have already been enacted, a further $2.5 million cut is currently being debated for the 09-10 year, and it will not be voted on by the legislature until the budget is approved at the end of March or early April.