September 20, 2001
C.U. Joins Nationwide Rallies for Peace Efforts
| September 20, 2001
In conjunction with student activists from around the country, Cornellians will again speak out in favor of peace and renounce violent action in response to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center just over a week ago.
Students within and outside of activist communities on campus will participate in a rally for peaceful justice beginning at 10 a.m. on Ho Plaza. Students and faculty members from various University departments will speak at the event, which has been organized in solidarity with 146 similar functions across the country to advocate justice rather than revenge in the wake of the national tragedy.
“We’ve been planning the event for five nights and more people have come each night; the people are not all from activist groups but everyone is just pulling together for this common cause,” said Lindsey Saunders ’03, one of the event organizers.
The Ithaca College community will join the rally, and the Cornell contingent plans to attend an overnight camp-out at Ithaca College tonight. A rally at Ithaca College will take place at 3 p.m. today.
Both the Cornell and Ithaca groups — in addition to other universities from around the country such as Duke, Yale, Berkeley and Wesleyan — are also holding rallies today in a unified peace effort.
“History has proven that violence begets violence. We cannot ignore that this act of terrorism is part of a larger historical and global picture,” according a statement drafted by the student coalition.
Saunders said that petitions for peace will be available at the rally for community members to sign.
“During this time of crisis we call upon Americans everywhere to reaffirm their commitment to the principles that make Americans a great people — our respect for freedom and liberty, our embrace of tolerance and diversity, and our commitment to due process and justice,” said Jerome Chavez, a student at the University of New Mexico, according to a statement released by the organizing coalition.
According to the release, over a thousand students and community members from Boston area schools will join together in an event that will involve a peace march through the city. At Wesleyan, the University of Wisconsin at Madison and the University of California at Berkeley — where over 3,000 people are expected to participate — students will march in a demonstration of peace.
Archived article by Alison Thomas
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September 21, 2001
He was a unanimous All-American selection. He made obsolete Cornell’s passing records. He willed the Red to an Ivy League Championship game. Now, all that’s left in senior Ricky Rahne’s laundry-list of goals is to become the first quarterback to lead Cornell to an outright Ivy League title. A tumultuous campaign last year, punctuated by miraculous comebacks and heroic last-minute stands, ended in utter disappointment as Penn caused the Cardiac Kids’ final heart attack. Despite passing for almost 300 yards per game (many of which came in the fourth quarter) and ranking third in the league in both passing yards and total offense, Rahne’s season-long greatness in 2000 was rendered all but futile as the Quakers hoisted the trophy to the dismay of the Schoellkopf faithful. The year prior, an unfortunate early season collapse at Dartmouth came back to haunt the Red, relegating it to a third place finish behind co-champions Yale and Brown. A win in Hanover would have guaranteed Cornell a share of the league crown. In the midst of the championship drive, however, first-year starter Rahne surpassed all expectations, silencing his skeptics as his name climbed to the top of nearly every list in the Cornell record books. He shattered Steve Joyce ’96’s former season passing mark by 507 yards. He had more completions (225) than any previous signal caller. Twenty-five of those completions made their way to the end zone — another first. He authored nine 200-yard plus games. And he didn’t stop before etching his name in the annals of Ivy League greatness with a 443 yard effort against Brown, ranking him seventh all-time in league history for yards in a game. To say his sophomore season surprised spectators is a gross understatement, but Rahne, already a veteran player in his own right, had inklings of his potential. The story starts almost 15 years ago in the Denver suburb of Morrison, Co. A seven-year old Rahne, full of boundless energy, enlisted in every youth athletic league available. “I just played all the sports when I was little,” Rahne recalled. “Football was the first one. It was a seven- and eight-year old team. It was the first year you could play.” He initially positioned himself as a linebacker and took pleasure in the unadulterated thrill of delivering blows to the opposition. “When you’re little, it’s fun. You can take hits and run into each other and it doesn’t matter.” His ardor for the game swelled, but ultimately, it was fateful league realignment that brought his passion to new heights. At the age of 10, Rahne’s town was divided in two, a rift that carried over to his football team. But a dilemma beset his new team — all the quarterbacks lived in the neighboring town — except for one. “I always played defense, but then our town split in two, and I got on one team where I was the only one who could throw. So out of necessity they put me as the quarterback,” he explained. The new role enthralled him. The 21-year old still gets animated when he talks about his passion for the quarterback position. “I always [got] to touch the ball,” he said. “In baseball I couldn’t be a pitcher because I threw like a quarterback. It didn’t work the same way and if you [did] that the ball kinda [sliced] inside. I played third-base and [you’d] get two hits and it [was] boring. Basketball — I used to be short. I felt it wasn’t [my] thing. “Football was always natural. It was the easiest one,” an excited Rahne reflected. “I still remember going home and studying my playbook with my mom.” It didn’t take long before Rahne’s talent was noticed by the local high school coach. “My coach in high school always had his quarterbacks lined up,” he offered. And come his junior year, Rahne was slotted to start in that coveted role at Bear Creek High School. After a mediocre first year, he dazzled audiences as a senior. His numbers were mind-boggling. 3,114 passing yards — the most in all of Colorado — for 33 touchdowns. He steered his team to a 13-1 record, with the sole defeat coming in the state championship. Rahne remembers the successes: “My senior year in high school, we lost the state championship game, but we were ranked about 23rd in the nation.” But more than the statistics, Rahne recollects the camaraderie on the team: “[That year] was great because it was all my buddies. Twenty-three of [the players on the team] were seniors and 21 of them were starters. We just had a lot of fun that year. It was just a really enjoyable thing, and I think it’s one of the things we have this year, that type of same senior bond. These guys have really stuck around and care about each other.” Although Rahne’s numbers didn’t entice many scouts to offer promising scholarships, they did attract interest from some of the finest institutions in the nation. Cornell, Brown and Penn, among others, actively pursued Rahne. After much deliberation, his choice was narrowed down to Cornell and Brown. “I picked Cornell because Brown had an All-Ivy League quarterback who was only going to be a junior. I knew that we had a senior quarterback here and that I might have a chance to play. It basically came down to playing time,” he explained. Remarkably, only two of the 23 seniors on Rahne’s runner-up state champions, including himself, went on to play football in college. While the Cornell football program doesn’t hold the prestige of a Michigan — the school Rahne used to root for — it was no less intimidating for a wide-eyed freshman, even if he was a high school star. In his first practices on East Hill, Rahne questioned his prowess on the gridiron, ogling at the upperclassmen. “You’re not really homesick but for some reason everything is new,” he said. “You go from being one of the best players on your team to being one of the worst and for some reason you can’t throw the football anymore — I remember I could not throw a spiral anymore. I was terrible the first couple of practices. I remember thinking I was going to quit after the first couple of practices. But then I just stuck with it. ” Then starting quarterback Mike Hood ’98 and the coaching staff helped assimilate Rahne to the team, the program and the university. As he rode the proverbial pine, the rookie kept his eye on Hood, preparing himself for the possibility of starting sophomore year. “I just tried to watch what Mike Hood did and just see how he handled himself. He was a really tough guy. He took a lot of punishment that year because our line was young,” he said. Contrary to popular belief, Rahne was not guaranteed the starting job in 1999. He and classmate Jay Posner engaged in a preseason duel for the right to steer the Cornell offense. In the end, Rahne staked his claim as the team’s starting signal-caller. His first test came on September 18th at Princeton, a team the Red had not beaten since 1983. And though Rahne will modestly say that he did not perform up to his potential that day, the numbers speak otherwise. Cornell routed the Tigers, 20-3. Rahne passed for 307 yards, completing 19 of 33 attempts and igniting his record-setting season. To prove the Princeton game was no fluke, his follow-up performance in the Red’s home opener against Fordham tied the school record for most touchdown passes in a game (four). In the
end, even Rahne surpassed his own expectations during his sophomore season: “I didn’t know how good of a year it would be. I just had such great receivers. No one really expected coaches to let me throw that much. I’m glad they did. “I didn’t think I was necessarily going to put up those numbers, but I thought I could go out there and play.” But Rahne’s sophomore year wasn’t all about his statistical accomplishments. After all, the memory that best stands out in his mind was enabling the seniors to win their last game in carnelian and white: “[My] best moment was beating Penn sophomore year because the seniors got to go out winners. I got to see them sing their last song — their last Cornell Victorious,” he described. The team, in turn, awarded him the Pop Warner Most Valuable Player award which he shared with stand-out wide-receiver Joe Splendorio ’01. With the luxuries of stardom going into his junior year, Rahne also had to shoulder the accompanying pressures of heightened expectations. The preseason rankings listed Cornell and Yale as co-favorites to win the Ivy League title. And the squad set its goal accordingly, even if it caused a rush on the local Mylanta supply. With a penchant for digging itself into holes early on in games, the team became increasingly reliant on its savior — Rahne. Down 28-0 at halftime at Harvard, Cornell miraculously bounced back to win 29-28. And Rahne had no small part in the effort, throwing for 391 yards and four touchdowns — one of them being a game-winning 48-yard pass on a fourth down-and-5. Then at Columbia, with the Red losing 27-21, he drove 65 yards in 3:26 en route to beating the Lions, 35-31. “Obviously you have all those fourth quarter comebacks [last year]. Those are highlights,” Rahne recounts, his demeanor suddenly becoming more serious. “But one thing that is definitely going to stick out in my mind is losing to Penn. Everyone remembers how it feels watching them carry the trophy off our field. It was motivation. That’s just something that is going to stay in our minds.” Faced with one chance left, Rahne knows his career at Cornell will be incomplete without that elusive piece of hardware. “Without a doubt the goal is an Ivy League championship. I wouldn’t care if we had to throw the ball five times or five hundred times. That would be great. That would be all I could ask for,” he proclaimed. “I would just like to be part of a team that brings home an Ivy League championship. I think that would be the biggest impact my classmates and I could make.”Archived article by Gary Schueller
September 21, 2001
“To our military: be ready. The hour will come for you to act and you will make us proud.” These are the words President George W. Bush told the Congress last night. He called the U.S. and other nations to service, he cited NATO’s charter to emphasis that “an attack on one is an attack on all,” and he urged Americans to avoid “singling out on the basis of religious background.” But yesterday, Cornell joined over 140 colleges and universities across the country that had organized in solidarity for a “peaceful justice” removed from military action. The pro-peace events, which included various combinations of rallies, vigils, marches and teach-ins, all took place around noon and received national media attention. Students at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn. began organizing the peace effort just after the attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center last week. They enlisted the cooperation of other campuses nationwide to get the attention of the President to express opposition to “retaliatory violence.” “We should work on a peaceful solution as opposed to continuing the global cycle of violence … we shouldn’t answer the deaths of thousands of innocent people with more deaths of innocent people,” Harvard University student Jessica Gould told ABC News. Gould, a sophomore, participated in Harvard’s rally, which involved a peace march in Boston, Mass. Ho Plaza was the site of Cornell’s rally, which also involved a peace march of approximately 125 students throughout campus, according to Dana Brown ’02, one of the event organizers. Community members spoke to an estimated one hundred people who participated in the activities — some on their way to class, some skipping class to be part of the rally despite the rain. “A substantial amount of students were present and it seemed like each person stayed for the entire time. We had a variety of powerful speakers and each one presented crucial insights and an emotive reaction to the present circumstances,” said Lindsay Kaplan ’02, who had addressed the crowd earlier. Students also tabled on Ho Plaza to post contact information for their local political leaders. Brown also noted that the group provided stamped postcards for students to write messages to their representatives. During the course of the day, about 125 postcards were handwritten and the group plans to provide additional cards today in the lobby of Willard Straight Hall, according to Brown. “People have responded so positively. I just hope Bush is listening,” Brown said of Cornell’s efforts. Brown also noted that members of both the activist and non-activist communities were present, sitting in Ho Plaza, as another group sold flowers to benefit the relief effort. “It was good because there were people that you don’t typically see — not everyone was necessarily part of the activist community. It was nice to see people coming out of the woodwork,” Brown said. “I think it’s good to see a lot of people out here. It’s good to see all the different faces … it seems to be a pretty diverse crowd. I like the different creative approaches people are taking [with displays of peace],” said Kimberly Webster ’03, who attended the demonstration. Members of the faculty as well as students presented their opinions at the rally. “Most of the faculty has been really supportive of a peaceful solution,” said Lindsey Saunders ’03, one of the event planners. Saunders said she felt that faculty members at the University teach-in, which occurred at the beginning of the week, seemed to be “advocating justice rather than anger and revenge.” “Non-violence must be the answer,” said Prof. Shawkat M. Toorawa, Near Eastern studies. “We have to resist the urge for military violence.” Toorawa also presented a speech at the teach-in on Monday. “As a nation we are more hurt and confused than we have ever been in our history. It is not a time for blind retaliation, this is far too dangerous a situation. It is a time for thought and evaluation, a time to contemplate what justice is … we simply cannot achieve justice while angry … if you want justice, work for peace,” Kaplan said in her speech yesterday. Brown said she felt that the rally was a “fantastic success” and that response was positive. “I didn’t really see anyone outwardly opposed to us … it was really inspiring to see people flood out,” she said. “I understand that there is a time and a place for non-violence but I also understand that in certain instances you need to defend yourself and if you don’t make those who are responsible pay in some way, you are encouraging further violence because you are going to be seen as weak. If you commit something wrong you better be willing to accept responsibility for it,” said Amber Massa ’02. However most students said they felt that the dialogue on campus was imperative in the wake of the national tragedy. “I think that to have this rally is necessary because the [media] is really for war. A lot of people don’t understand the foreign policy behind this, a lot of speakers have touched on that, and it’s really important that people understand why this happened. Overall, I think it’s great,” Tomer Malchi ’03 said. Carlos Perkins contributed to this article.Archived article by Alison Thomas