October 5, 2006

Letters to the Sun Regarding Hasbrouck

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Re: “Clearing Up Transfer Center Future” (10/03/06)

We, the Transfer Center Advisory Board, are writing this letter to correct the misinformation provided to the Cornell community in the recent letter to the editor. While we appreciate Residential Programs, Campus Life’s level of concern and interest, we feel compelled to illuminate the inaccurate and inconsistent information Mr. Joseph Burke presented.

We are pleased that a recommendation regarding the existence of the Transfer Center program in the 2007-2008 academic year has been submitted to Mr. LeNorman Strong. However, we find it unfortunate that Mr. Burke did not confer with any representative of the Transfer Center during the development of the proposal. Only after Mr. Burke’s letter was published in the Sun did any Transfer Center residents become aware of the proposal’s existence. The Transfer Center Advisory Board would be very eager to engage in any further discussions regarding said proposal as to truly maximize and include the viewpoint of Cornell transfer students.

Mr. Burke minimized the significance of the Transfer Center as a residence hall. We would like to remind the Cornell community that in fact, the Transfer Center houses the majority of transfer students that live on campus, not the minority.

(The Transfer Center has 204 beds, 198 of which are assigned to new transfer students. Mr. Burke stated that the building houses 185 transfer students. Both calculations assume that Mr. Burke’s estimation of the total number of residential transfers, 380, is accurate. We are confident that Mr. Burke provided the false information inadvertently.)

We would like to commend the speed with which Mr. Burke and Campus Life operate. The second paragraph of Mr. Burke’s letter states that a proposal “to relocate the Transfer Center and its program to another residential facility in the 2007-2008 academic year… is currently being evaluated.” We were pleasantly surprised to learn in paragraph four that “next year… the transfer student program will be temporarily shifted to another residential facility.”

We would like to thank Mr. Burke and Campus Life for committing a residence hall for use as the Transfer Center program house for the 2007-2008 academic year. We hope that transfer students will be given the opportunity to actively participate in the long-term Transfer Center planning process. Surely, members of the Transfer Center Advisory Board and the Transfer Center Revival Committee will provide a necessary and valuable perspective; in the words of Mr. Burke, “we are very well aware of the special needs of transfer students.”

The Transfer Center Advisory Board

To the Editor:

I’m writing to correct the misinformation provided to the Cornell
community in a recent letter to the editor from Joseph Burke, Director of
Residential Programs. While we, transfer students, appreciate the level of
concern and interest in the Campus Life department over supposedly
inaccurate information regarding the Transfer Center Program, we also
appreciate honesty from top-level Cornell administrators.

Despite Mr. Burke’s specious argument to the contrary, a close
examination of his letter makes something crystal clear: there are no
long-term plans to continue the Transfer Center Program. To explain the
meaning of the word “Center” to Mr. Burke, I borrow from Webster’s:
“Center” implies centralization to some degree, a “place where a
particular activity or service is concentrated.” The long-term plan Mr.
Burke outlines involves “clustering” transfer students throughout the
West Campus House System. Thus, the Transfer Center Program as it
currently exists will be abolished according to the plan he describes,
and never again will 185 transfer students live under the same roof at
this university.

Mr. Burke’s use of numbers also tries to downplay the importance of
the Transfer Center. Specifically, he notes that the Transfer Center
“only” houses approximately half of all transfer students living on
campus. As an RA in the Transfer Center, I can assure the readership of
the Sun that our little building is at capacity, and, furthermore, has
an extensive waiting list should a vacancy arise. Doubtless, if the
Transfer Center were larger, we could accommodate a greater percentage
of those 380 students.

I would also like to broach on the supposed 2007-2008 “plan” for the
Transfer Center that Mr. Burke refers to. Unfortunately, for
confidentiality’s sake, I cannot elaborate on the specifics of it;
however, I can say that it involves placing transfer students in a
residential community on North Campus where undergraduates are less than
welcome. In my opinion, it is a foolish plan, and I am almost certain it
will upset more people than it placates once the Cornell community knows
the details of it.

Nicholas K Peone ‘07