July 16, 2003
Arecibo Students Drown
| July 16, 2003
Late last month rescuers recovered the bodies of two American college students, several days after they disappeared in the jungle near Cornell’s Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. Colin Mike Ewers, 21, and Kristopher Reilly, 24, were believed to have drowned in the treacherous Tanama River during a hike with a third student, Coral Wheeler, 23, on Saturday, June 21st.
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July 31, 2003
Cornell students should have no problem sympathizing with Ithaca Police Chief Victor Loo. Loo, sworn into office April 13, recently faced every college student’s worst nightmare — he failed a test. The test in question was the State Civil Service Exam. According to Schelley Michell-Nunn, MILR ’90, director of Human Resources for the City of Ithaca, the exam is required of all applicants for competitive government positions. Loo, along with several other would-be city employees, took the test on March 22. The results were certified on July 17, and showed that Loo was not among the three applicants who passed the test, placing his job in jeopardy. Those applicants were Deputy Police Chief Lauren Signer, Police Lt. John Beau Saul and Gerald Schoenle, director of the Erie County Police Training Academy. In order to pass, entrants must earn a score of 70 or better on the test. Civil Service laws require that the position go to an applicant with one of the top three scores on the test. “It’s not that you can’t hire anyone who doesn’t score in the top three,” Michell-Nun explained, “It’s just that your top three is a moving top three.” If one or more of the top scorers is no longer interested, the title of “top three” moves down the list. “We have to canvas to determine if the people who are eligible wish to be considered,” Michell-Nunn said. To do this, the City sent letters to these three applicants to determine if they were still interested in the job. The applicants had until last Friday to reply. If all three applicants had told the city that they still wished to be considered, Loo would have been forced to vacate his office within 60 days. If this had happened, the city would have most likely appointed Schoenle as Police Chief. Just as the civil service requires a position to be filled from amongst the top three applicants as determined by the exam, the city charter requires a position to be filled from amongst the top three applicants as determined by the search committee. “Currently, there’s only one person who’s on both lists – and that’s Gerald Schoenle,” Michell-Nun said. When contacted by The Sun, Schoenle had already informed the City of his desicion – he is still interested. “If this opened up and [Mayor Cohen ’81] decided he wanted to offer me that position, I would be very happy to have that position,” Schoenle said. However, he stressed that he would also be content remaining at his position in Erie County, if Loo remained in office. When The Sun contacted Lauren Signer, she had also already given her decision to the City. Unfortunately, she wasn’t giving it to the press. “I sent my decision into the Civil Service office today and will not be discussing the details with anyone,” Signer said via email on Friday, indicating that she preferred to let the City announce the results. “However,” she added, “I will say that I took into consideration what I think is best for the IPD and for the city as a whole. I have been impressed with Chief Loo’s performance so far and have seen first hand the positive impact his leadership has had in this department.” Signer also praised Chief Loo for his hard work, saying that he has “[put] in many extra hours…reached out to many community groups and made positive changes within the police department in order to serve the community better.” The city recently announced that Loo will keep his position. Although Schoenle and Paul both asked to be considered, Signer did not. With only two people remaining on the list, it was possible for Loo to fill the third spot. However, he will remain a provisional employee until such time as he successfully completes the test, offered annually. Before coming to Ithaca, Loo was a Lieutenant of the New York Police Department. He has over 20 years of experience on the force, and previously headed a unit of 125 individuals, according to Michell-Nunn. An article in the Ithaca Journal several months ago held that his appointment in Ithaca also made him the first Asian-American Police Chief on the East Coast. Neither Chief Loo nor Lt. Beau Saul could be reached for comment at the time of this article. Archived article by Courtney Potts
July 31, 2003
“Big Red” changes are in store for Cornell’s alcohol policy at fraternity parties starting this fall. Upon returning to Ithaca, students will need not only a valid identification to drink, but will also have to bring their own beverages. Under the new “bring-your-own-beverage” (BYOB) policy, planned by the Interfraternity Council (IFC), 21-year-old partygoers will each be allowed to bring a single six pack of prepackaged alcohol (beer, wine coolers or malt beverages) to registered fraternity parties. At the door, students will exchange their beverages for a “a device that limits consumption to 6 drinks. Examples of such devices are punch cards, raffle tickets that also identify the type of alcohol brought,” according to the BYOB policy. Throughout the party, students will trade their tickets in return for alcohol at the bar. No hard alcohol of any kind will be permitted and “no beverages in glass containers are to be consumed,” the policy states. “The house will get into a lot of trouble if hard liquor is found,” emphasized Michael Taylor ’05, the policy’s writer, member of Sigma Pi fraternity and IFC vice president of communications. “The purpose of BYOB is to allow more flexibilty to the fraternities to hold social events, but to make sure it is a safe environment. Not allowing hard liquor at BYOB events is a great way to increase safety,” said Paul El-Meouchy ’04, IFC president and member of Sigma Pi fraternity. No one without proper identification will be allowed to bring alcoholic beverages to parties, according to Taylor. Although the policy recommends that chapters “hire professional security guards to work the entrances,” brothers hosting the fraternity party will be allowed to act as bouncers and check identification at the door, after going through comprehensive IFC training. In addition, a guest list of all drinking and non-drinking guests will have to be kept at the entrance door. Since chapters will not be paying for alcohol at these events, there will be no cover charge at the door. “Chapters are supposed to provide non-alcoholic alternatives like soda and water to both under and over aged students,” El-Meouchy said “Removing some of the liability from fraternities is almost always a good thing, especially when it allows frats to have parties without charging our guests — a great thing,” said Gabriel Slater, ’04, member of Phi Psi fraternity. Even though the BYOB policy is new to the Cornell campus, it has been “utilized on other campuses, so this is nothing new to Greek systems nationwide,” said Suzy Nelson, associate dean of students for fraternity and sorority affairs. According to Nelson, the policy was modified at Cornell in an “effort to respond to Greek chapter members’ desire to host small, private events legally,” thus prompting the IFC to propose “modifying the existing fraternity and sorority social policy to include bring-your-own-beverage events.” The policy has long been anticipated by Greek alumni. “Previously, if alumni of a particular fraternity came back for homecoming, the fraternity would not be able to serve them alcohol in their house without hiring a third party caterer,” Taylor said. Under current IFC policy, the only lawful way for a Cornell chapter to host an event involving alcohol is by “utilizing a licensed caterer,” Nelson said. “Third party caterers often charge up to 1,000 dollars for their time, keep the eight dollar admission fee that all guests pay, and charge the fraternity for the amount of alcohol purchased for the event,” Taylor said. “With BYOB, the costs of throwing a party are far less, as there is no entrance fee whatsoever, and houses won’t be supplying the alcohol,” he added. The new policy will not completely eradicate catered parties from campus though. According to the policy, there will have to be ten sober monitor brothers per 100 guests at BYOB events. “Hence, Lighthouse Catering company will still be active in the fall, and they will be used by houses for really large parties,” Taylor said. News of the BYOB policy spurred a variety of reactions from students. Some embraced the change, while others were skeptical. “Any change in policy that eliminates the need to have a caterer in order to legitimize an event of a certain size is going to be an improvement over the current system. Over the last couple years, legal social events required a fraternity or sorority to rely on here-today-gone-tomorrow catering companies that have proven to be all but reliable over the course of a semester, let alone school year length contract period,” said Zach Hollander ’04, rush chair of Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity. Ilya Shulman ’04 was skeptical of the policy. “It is hard to imagine how anyone – both with sympathy and scorn for fraternities – would help scoffing if asked to believe that no hard liquor would find its way to a party or that every underage student would settle for quietly sipping Coke while enjoying a social event in question,” Shulman said. “It’s stupid to think we’re going to lug our own beer and that underage drinking won’t occur,” said Margarita Lukin ’04.Archived article by Veronika Belenkaya