November 8, 2017

Letter to the Editor: Cornell professor in support of Cornell Cinema

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To the Editor: 

As a long-time cinephile and Cornell faculty member, I urge students, faculty and staff to help save Cornell Cinema. Please urge the Student Assembly NOT to  completely defund Cornell Cinema in its Nov. 9 vote on appropriations. As CC director Mary Fessenden pointed out last Thursday, Nov. 2, the cinema can work with a 22 percent reduction in its allocation from $10.90 to $8.50 per student over the next two years as it restructures into a wholly academic entity supported by the university and outside funds.

Mary and her predecessor have developed individual film programs and entire series with me over the 34 years I have taught here. And it is not just the films. Mary helps us bring directors, writers, producers, designers and actors (many of whom are Cornell alums) to transform these screenings into interactive Q&A sessions with my students and others. Cornell Cinema is truly an extension for teaching, scholarship, creative inspiration and career counseling.

Faculty and students at Columbia, Yale, Brown and other public and private Ivies have nothing like CC where each day they can see mainstream, indie, commercial, global, and experimental films in a picture palace cinema with professional sound and projection. CC is comparable to such temples of cinema as the Film Forum and IFC Center in New York City. We may be geographically isolated at Cornell, but we are not cinematically isolated because of CC. It brings faculty, students, staff and the Ithaca community together for less then what it costs to buy a sandwich and coffee at Cornell Dining. Last week a student at Student Assembly said it best: CC is an inclusive, nurturing and safe (alcohol-free) place on campus that we need especially given the strife that roils our campuses and nation now.


Prof. Mary N. Woods, architecture