April 14, 2006
Last week the Ithaca City School District banned the public display of the Confederate flag on items such as clothing, jackets, book bags, artwork and binders.
“The Confederate flag has historical significance and is something that causes disruption in class,” said Superintendent Judith Pastel. “We want students and faculty to focus on learning.”
Pastel said that the number of students wearing the flag was not significant, but it does not take a significant number of students to cause disruption in school.
Some students wore the flag maliciously, intending to offend others. Other students wore it because of the movie the Dukes of Hazzard.
“People in the adult and student community who are not direct targets of the Confederate flag, who are not African-American, felt uncomfortable because the flag is a general signal of ill will,” said Ithaca High School Principal Joseph Wilson.
Mitch Fagen ’07, president of the Cornell Democrats, said in an e-mail that he “wouldn’t want to see Confederate flags in a school any more than [he would] want to see a Nazi flag,” and that those flags are “properly considered symbols of racial injustice and hatred.”
Numerous disruptive instances in Ithaca High School and other Ithaca city schools over the past few years necessitated the ban.
The decision was a collective one among Ithaca School District employees. “It was not a one-person decision, and it is a misrepresentation to say it was,” Wilson said.
“Consultation on what to do about the Confederate flag went on among staff members, administration, the Ithaca High School leadership team [academic department leaders], the superintendent and the assistant superintendent,” Wilson said.
After these consultations, the issue went to the district’s lawyers, who concluded that the district could go ahead in its decision to ban the flag.
The formal process to ban the displaying of the Confederate flag began as early as mid-to-late September and continued until Ithaca High School administration distributed a letter to parents and students announcing the decision.
The ban does not infringe on students’ First Amendment rights due to the Education Law.
This law intersects with the First Amendment when something causes a disruption in class.
The power to decide the disruption’s allowance comes down on the side of the administration, Pastel said.
Wilson said that there has been little reaction among the parent community. The few who have spoken to him say the ban is a good idea. Staff members who have spoken to him on the subject have responded positively as well.
This issue parallels issues with gangs and gang attire in Ithaca High School, according to Pastel.
Archived article by Jessica DiNapoli Sun Staff Writer
April 14, 2006
This weekend, the men’s and women’s tennis teams face Brown and Yale in Ivy League conference play. The women will host Brown this afternoon and Yale on Saturday, while the men’s team looks to build on its recent momentum on the road. The men play at Brown at 2 p.m. today, then travel to New Haven, Conn. to face Yale on Saturday.
The men (11-6, 2-1 Ivy) come into this weekend on a roll, as they have gone undefeated since falling to Columbia on April 1. Last week, Cornell defeated defending Ivy League champion Harvard for the first time in 45 years, and then followed with an impressive 7-0 sweep against Dartmouth.
“We did what we should have,” head coach Barry Schoonmaker said. “We didn’t want a let down [against Dartmouth] after Harvard, and we went out and got it done. Brown and Yale are tough teams though – they were both ranked ahead of us last week – so it’ll be competitive.” With its recent wins, the Red is currently No. 71 in the ITA rankings, while Brown and Yale have since dropped out of the top-75.
When asked to explain his team’s recent success, coach Schoonmaker pointed to play of his top four singles players – senior Brett McKeon, sophomore Josh Raff, and juniors Nick Brunner and Dan Brous.
“We really revolve around the play of those four guys,” said coach Schoonmaker.
None of the top-4 players have lost in singles play since the match against Columbia. Schoonmaker also singled out freshman Kyle Doppelt, who plays in the fifth singles spot, for praise.
“Kyle’s been great for us,” said Schoonmaker. “He’s a freshman, so he’s had to work to get himself where he is right now, you know, he earned it. Since getting into the lineup, he’s only lost twice and he’s undefeated in Ivy League play right now, which is remarkable.”
The Cornell women head into their weekend matches with a 7-5 overall record (1-2 Ivy), having recently beaten Dartmouth by a score of 5-2.
“We’re really confident right now. We just had a really good weekend. To beat Brown and Yale, we’ll just have to play the way we did against Dartmouth,” head coach Laura Glitz said.
Senior Mollie Edinson echoed her coach’s sentiments and expressed optimism about the season to date.
“We started off the year undefeated for a while, but we weren’t playing the caliber of opponents we are now,” said Edinson. “It was great for confidence, but then we lost to some good teams – Syracuse, Harvard and those California teams we played over break. But all those teams have given us some good experience. We went 1-6 [in the conference] last year, but with us just last week beating Dartmouth for the first time since I’ve been here, I think we’re a team that can definitely fight for second in the Ivy League.”
Archived article by Stephen DavisSun Staff Writer