February 14, 2003
Gymnasts Host Local Rivals
| February 14, 2003
The gymnastics team is preparing to face local rivals Cortland, Ithaca, and Syracuse at 1 p.m. tomorrow in Teagle Gymnasium. The team is confident that this will prove to be its best performance so far this season.
“We are ready to go,” commented head coach Paul Beckwith. The Red’s excitement is by no means unfounded. Many factors point to the prospect of a breakout meet tomorrow.
For one, the Red will be competing on its home turf for the first time this year. The team is expecting a packed crowd to welcome it back to Teagle.
“The girls had a great practice today and are psyched to perform on familiar ground,” Beckwith said.
The Red is hoping for solid scores from its veteran gymnasts.
Sophomore Meghan Miller has spent recent weeks perfecting a new and improved vault.
Also, classmate Larissa Calka has the potential to break the school record this weekend. She would have succeeded last weekend at the Rutgers meet had it not been for a fall on the beam.
Star sophomore Shellen Goltz is still nursing a sprained ankle but will be performing on bars and vault.
Beckwith stated, “We have not put together a solid score yet this year, but this should be our breakout meet. 190 is a very doable goal for our girls.”
The Red believes that it will be able to iron out mistakes that have hurt it in previous meets.
Consistency is what Beckwith has been impressing on his team of late.
Tomorrow’s performance precedes the first conference meet against Penn. The team hopes to gain confidence this weekend and begin conference play with an enthusiastic attitude.
Archived article by Mark Travers
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February 17, 2003
“Egg Donor Needed … Compensation $10,000 plus expenses,” said an ad in The Sun last week. Maybe you’ve seen ads similar to this one. If you check the classifieds and peruse the 1/8 and 1/16th page ads in your local college newspaper you might see ads just like these. “Stanford student wanted for sperm donor. $15k offered. Intelligent, good looking, over 6 ft. tall. No history of self or family addictions,” said an ad in the Palo Alto Daily News. These ads have become if not standard at least prominent in campus newspapers. The most famous was a series of ads run in Ivy League newspapers in 1999 offering $50,000 for a suitable egg donor. The ad was specific and sought certain criteria such as 5 feet 10, at least an SAT score of 1400, and other particulars. Over 200 hundred women responded to the ad. It was later revealed that the wife of the couple seeking donors had graduated from an Ivy League school and was merely seeking a close proximity of herself. Do a search on the internet and you’ll find that there is a significant market for Ivy League egg and sperm donors. One company, Tiny Treasures, located in Massachusetts, offers “Extraordinary Ivy League [Egg] Donors”. These are recent women Ivy League graduates who are offering their eggs for $8000 to $15000. “I think it’s unbelievable, and kind of strange, although hard to compare,” said Jessica Lucent spokesperson for the New England Cyrobank Center, located in Cambridge, Mass., when asked to comment on the recent trend of high priced offers for donations. East Coast Assisted Parenting, of Pennsylvania has a very similar “Exceptional Egg/Sperm Donors” database. They state that they “Encourage college students to apply”. Criteria for their elite donor program listed on their website are, “Tested exceptionally high for IQ test (over 125), Candidates who completed PhD in either Science, Mathematics, Computer Science, Literature, Psychology, Art or Music, Medical and Law students (graduates), Ivy League Students (graduates).” The ad and the general trend beg a number of ethical questions. Many people question the morality of selling one’s biological assets. Professor Michael Goldberg who teaches a human genetics course here at Cornell, said, “The only argument against this [trend] is that it is commodifying life, but that is a rather abstract idea. These are adult people making decisions.” The trend is not limited to women as the Stanford ad indicates; elite male students are vigorously recruited to donate their sperm. Women are however, often paid much higher then men due to the difficulties in obtaining their eggs. Women must take a series of medications meant to induce hyperactivity in the ovaries so that more than one egg can be extracted at a time. Women donors are highly medicated and must be monitored very carefully. Many of the country’s sperm banks, or cryobanks are located near college campuses. This is no coincidence. Cryobanks actively recruit students and more often than not, these are students at the most selective universities. California Cyrobank, headquartered in Los Angeles, has a branch office in Cambridge, Mass, where they recruit Harvard and MIT students for sperm donations. Marla Eby, a company spokesperson, said that the majority of clients have exhausted all other resources before resorting to artificial insemination via donor. “Most clients have spent 1000’s of dollars on hi-tech procedures and are totally infertile,” she said. The process of donating is not a simple one of just walking in the door and handing over a sample. Applicants are screened for various STDs, they have a full medical examination and a three generation medical history is closely examined for genetic defects. Only 3 to 5 percent of applicants are finally approved; a similar percentage of women donors meet final qualification standards. Depending on the sperm bank, donors are required to consent to from anywhere between six months to up to a 2 year obligation. During that period, they will be asked to donate 2 to 3 times a week, and for quality purposes, they are asked to remain abstinent. Women usually donate for a period of six months in which each period of ovulation 10-15 eggs will be extracted. Pay scales for sperm differ among banks. Fairfax Cryobank gives up $200 depending on the quality of the specimen and the size of the aliquot. Other banks such as California Cryobank give $75 per sample with a policy of no differentiation in pay. Because of the time commitment and the steady pay, most students and banks consider donating sperm a part time job, one that can pull in about 400 to 900 dollars a month. Fairfax will also however give slightly more for well educated donors. “Doctorate candidates are paid more. It is definitely a scale of how much we want the donor,” said Suzanne Seitz, Fairfax Cryobank spokesperson. “The doctorate list is growing and sells better than anything else”, she said. Fairfax also deals with egg donors. Seitz, speaking of the ads for egg donors, said, “Couples are very interested in finding woman who are intelligent and that really is not too surprising. If [the parents] have a choice they will try to give their child an advantage.” This is where the moral ambiguity becomes very complex. A Commonweal Magazine editorial in 1999 said of this trend, “when it comes to the commercialization of human reproduction and the marketing of human eggs, we are fast returning to a world where persons carry a price tag, and where the cash values of some persons(or at least of their genetic “endowment”) is far greater than that of others.” Many critics point out that a Ivy League genes do not guarantee smart offspring. As Jay Dixit recently said, in a Salon editorial, “It all involves a roll of the genetic dice. The human genome is far too complex for a ‘what you see is what you get’ principle.'” Lucent said that education is one of many criteria that they look for in donors. All of the sperm banks said that clients often seek close facsimiles of themselves, and thus aesthetics are equally important if not more than intelligence or from what school the donor graduated. She says that there are 3 types of women who will decide on artificial insemination: infertile couples, single mothers by choice, or women couples. In reference to the active recruitment of elite students Lucent said, “We are in a great geographical location in the sense of quality of young intelligent people.” For all the debating many remain ambivalent. An anonymous Cornell student, responding to the trend, said, “It’s a great way to make money.” Prof. Goldberg said, “I don’t understand the motivation for egg and sperm donation, but beyond that I don’t see why it’s any one’s business as long as there is a strong contractual relationship between donor and recipient.”Archived article by Michael Margolis
February 17, 2003
Cornell joined the dozens of universities and corporations filing briefs with the Supreme Court in support of affirmative action last week. President Hunter R. Rawlings III announced Friday that the University filed a joint brief of amici curiae together with Columbia, Georgetown, Rice and Vanderbilt supporting the University of Michigan and the University of Michigan Law School’s race-conscious admissions policies. The friend-of-the-court brief is one of many being filed by various institutions, organizations and Fortune 500 corporations. Some observers have predicted that the number of briefs could reach 100 by Tuesday’s deadline, one of the largest in support of one side in a Supreme Court case ever. By last week, about 12 briefs were filed against the University of Michigan Law School. The Court will hear the Grutter v. Bollinger case in April, filed by white applicants against the law school’s point-based affirmative action practices. President-elect Jeffrey S. Lehman ’77, current dean of the University of Michigan Law School, is a named defendant in the case. Cornell’s brief was filed jointly, while other schools such as Northeastern University will file separate briefs. Harvard is expected to file a brief before Tuesday together with other Ivy League schools. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University, along with the National Academy of Sciences, IBM and Du Pont, will also file jointly. Princeton and Dartmouth are still undecided on whether they will move to support Michigan’s policies. According to Friday’s press release, the Cornell joint brief takes a different approach to supporting the defendants of the case, seeking to “set forth the First Amendment side of the equation.” “In the course of the wrenching legal and public policy debate about university admission policies that take account of race to some degree or other, little has been said about the First Amendment rights of the universities themselves,” the brief states, noting that the law should give “a high level of deference to the good faith admissions decisions of public and private universities around the nation and the unconstitutional impact on academic freedom of any ruling failing to do so.” In the press release, Rawlings emphasized that Ezra Cornell, founder of the University, wrote in 1868 that “I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study,” a motto which stands today on Cornell’s emblem. “That vision of a diverse student body is no less important today, and it informs our strong support of affirmative action not only at Cornell but at other institutions of higher education across the nation,” Rawlings said. Henrik N. Dullea ’61, vice president for University relations, said that Lehman’s appointment as Cornell’s next president was not a factor in Cornell’s motivation for filing the brief. “This is an issue of great importance to institutions of higher education across the country,” he said. “Cornell is very proud of its affirmative action practices and policies, and we hope they will be affirmed by the Court.” The joint brief uses an argument not advanced by the other amici, according to James J. Mingle, University counsel. “Our purpose was to focus exclusively on this issue [of the First Amendment and academic freedom] that will complement the other arguments,” Mingle said. “The First Amendment and academic freedom we thought needed to be the focus.” Cornell first approached Columbia regarding the brief, he said. The other three schools then showed interest and joined as amici curiae. “I thought it would be good to align ourselves with other distinctive universities who share interest in the theory we have advanced,” Mingle said. Dullea added that it was “desirable to have a small group of highly respected universities geographically dispersed across the country, with different characteristics.” He noted that Georgetown has a religious affiliation, and that Cornell is the only land-grant institution in the group. Mingle and Dullea said that most friend-of-the-court briefs for this case were filed jointly. The current legal justification for affirmative action is the 1978 California Regents v. Bakke case, which has been taken to mean that race can be used as a “plus factor” in admissions. In that Supreme Court case, a brief filed by Harvard was influential in the decision. Lead counsel for the brief was Floyd Abrams of Cahill, Gordon and Reindel in New York City. He was not available for comment. Abrams worked with Mingle and the other schools to develop the brief.Archived article by Andy Guess