September 5, 2011

Letter to the Editor: What were they thinking?

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To the Editor:

Re: “Cornell Ends Instruction in Emergency Services,” News, Sept. 1

I read with consternation that the Cornell Department of Physical Education has decided to discontinue the Emergency Services Instruction program which teaches students proper techniques to assist people in emergency situations, and that often leads to students pursuing EMT certification. It seems to me that it is advantageous to have as many people trained in these skills as possible, and that the investment in this training is extremely minimal compared to the derived benefits.

To make this decision on the apparent sole basis of finances is particularly short sighted. Cornell is willing to spend an estimated six to eight million dollars to put means restriction barrier nets on seven bridges over the gorges in order to potentially deter an extremely small number of people from contemplating or committing suicide, but does not wish to spend a comparative pittance amount to offer a course that definitely produces substantially more benefit to the community in cases of emergencies, some of which may be life threatening.

It is particularly surprising that this decision is being made by a University that is lead by a physician, a cardiologist no less. I ask the powers that be at Cornell to re-evaluate this decision and reinstate this course immediately.

— Joel Zumoff, M.S. ’70

Alderperson, 3rd Ward, Ithaca Common Council