March 20, 2014

Cornell Will Offer American Studies Class in Spring 2015

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In light of strong student reactions, American Studies 2001: The First American University will be offered in spring 2015, according to Prof. Sabine Haenni, director of the American Studies Program.

American Studies 2001 — a one-credit course taught for the last four years by Corey Earle ’07, associate director of student programs in the Office of Alumni Affairs — was going to be replaced by a four-credit course in honor of the sesquicentennial, which will still be offered in fall 2014, The Sun previously reported.

However, students, alumni and faculty petitioned for the return of the course through social media, where the campaign has its own Twitter hashtag — #SaveAMST2001.

According to Simon Boehme ’14, one of the organizers of the campaign and a teaching assistant for American Studies 2001, the online petition in support of the course received approximately 900 signatures within 48 hours.

“If you look at the list of people who signed the petition, it includes alumni all the way from the Class of 2004 to current freshmen,” Boehme said. “It covers the Cornell Democrats, the Cornell Republicans, researchers, athletes, Greek members, staff [and] graduate students.”

Jon Weinberg ’13, another campaign organizer, said the overwhelming amount of support for the course reflected the strong impact Earle has had on the University.

“Corey has had so much of an impact on students that stretches beyond the [one hour and fifteen minutes] on Monday evenings,” Weinberg said. “There are very few things that people from all over the campus map will unite together behind. This is one of those very few things.”

The four-credit sesquicentennial course that will be offered in the fall of 2014 will still be taught by Prof. Isaac Kramnick, government, and Glen Altschuler Ph.D. ’76, dean of the School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions.

The four-credit course and American Studies 2001 serve different purposes for different students, according to the petition. The petition says American Studies 2001 serves to deepen students’ connection to the University and is not as heavily academically focused as the four-credit course.

Boehme said the success of the #SaveAMST2001 campaign should give students “inspiration.”

“This campaign truly speaks to the power of the student voice and of collective action,” he said. “When we work together, we can create outcomes that benefit the Cornell community.”