September 19, 2008

Students Want “Cornell” Name Out of Review Title

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The Cornell Review controversy over printing an article about campus “ghettos,” “bitter minorities” and affirmative action became even more pronounced yesterday when students proposed a resolution to the Student Assembly to ban the use of the Cornell name by the biweekly journal’s title.
The article, “What to Expect: The Angry Minority,” said students in program houses — only at Cornell because of affirmative action and scholarships — complain about brutal oppression from “whitey.”
Students Nikhil Kumar ’11, minority representative-at-large, and Nicole Rivera ’09, president of the Minority Business Student Association, brought the resolution to the table.
“As a student here at Cornell, I find this article extremely offensive, ignorant and completely inconsistent to Cornell’s values … I can’t believe a Cornell publication has the audacity to write articles full of hate. It’s an embarrassment for our community,” said Rivera. “This is not an issue of freedom of speech; this is an issue of respect for Cornell’s brand and for students at Cornell.”
Cornell’s statement of diversity, “Open Doors, Open Hearts, Open Minds,” adopted by the S.A. in 1999, provided the basis of the argument brought forth by Kumar and Rivera. The statement was passed to support “a more diverse and inclusive campus.”
[img_assist|nid=31908|title=Getting Political|desc=Ithaca City Clerk Julie Holcomb discusses gorge safety at the S.A. meeting in Day Hall yesterday, where students also protested the Cornell Review.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]“As elected student leaders, we have a responsibility — because we represent all undergraduates — to use our voices to change Cornell and our image in order to reflect our values,“ Kumar said.
Eddy Herron, editor-in-chief of The Review, was present at the meeting with copies of the latest issue that featured a response to the orientation-issue article, claiming that those were reprinted comments from previous years and that The Review is entirely independent, receiving no funding from the S.A.
Members of the S.A. questioned the resolution to remove the Cornell name from the publication, stating that many independent organizations use the logo.
Neither Kumar nor Rivera had a copy of the original story. It also no longer appears on The Cornell Review’s web site.
The resolution will be discussed further at next weeks’ meeting.
Gorge Safety
In addition to that proposal, Fire Chief Brian Wilbur and City Clerk Julie Holcomb attended the meeting yesterday to follow up on the previously discussed issue of gorge safety.
Both Wilbur and Holcomb promoted increased communications between Cornell Administration and Ithaca and Cornell police, and plan to create a new type of map that outlines every access point to the gorge, noting especially dangerous areas.
Holcomb also called on the Ithaca Journal and Ithaca Times to “practice responsible journalism and not put pictures in the paper showing people splashing around in the gorges … and sitting on rock walls in areas they’re not supposed to be on.”
Wilbur added that there are on average five gorge rescues a year, putting many public officials at risk and costing the city large amounts of money.
“We have lost public safety people in the past and a gorge rescue operation can cost up to $8,000 to perform,” Wilbur said, “It’s a cost to the community and to the school and it’s becoming a bigger and bigger issue for the community — and [Cornell students[ may have the best opportunity to help this situation.”
The penalty for swimming in a public gorge is a fine of $100-$250, and 25 hours of community service to 15 days in jail depending on the other activities going on, according to the city code.
But Wilbur and Holcomb feel that is not enough.
Academic penalties may be enforced if agreements between the administration and the city are made.
“Cornell PD is pursuing the name of the judicial code; you could face academic penalties as well,” Wilbur said. “We are excited about that because sometimes money is not an issue for some people, but when it impacts student record — it has a little more push.”