Courtesy of Sofia Da Silva '18

Rigo Perez '17 participated in a photo shoot during First-Gen Week in 2016.

April 15, 2018

Petition to Publicize Admissions Policies for Legacy Students to be Handed to Pollack Next Week

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A petition with nearly 400 signatories demanding Cornell and other universities to make public “all internally written admissions policies and data about legacy treatment” will be “hand-delivered” to President Martha E. Pollack next week, according to Mayra Valadez ’18, president of the First Generation Student Union.

The original petition letter, signed by the FGSU in February, asks universities to reconsider the role and weight of legacy status in the admission process.

“The practice of providing preferential treatment to applicants based on familial relationships is, from its very inception, rooted in discrimination,” the letter said.

The #FullDisclosure campaign was coordinated by EdMobilizer, a coalition of university groups that aims to support first-generation students, The Sun previously reported.

In addition to Cornell, the letter’s signatories also include first-generation groups from Brown, the University of Pennsylvania, Amherst and Duke, as well as other student and alumni groups from Harvard, Yale and the University of Chicago.

Valadez asked Cornell President Martha E. Pollack “ what her personal opinions are about legacy admissions” at Thursday’s Student Assembly meeting, to which Pollack responded by saying she would comment upon receiving the petition.

Many organizations plan to decide whether to sign onto the petition during general body meetings this coming week, Valadez told The Sun. CS+Social Good and Black Students United have already expressed their support.

The campaign has already received around 400 signatures and will be extended another week due to the recent predominance of other campus issues, such as the Student Assembly election turmoil, according to Valadez.

Legacy students composed 22.1 percent of this year’s early admits, The Sun previously reported. 700 first-generation students were admitted in March to the incoming Class of 2022, according to data provided by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

“The mission of this campaign is to shed light on the inequality of this policy,” Valadez said. “We also believe that Cornell should be transparent about what legacy treatment looks like for us, and what benefits it gives to certain people over others.”