Brendan Smialowski / The New York Times

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor will speak at Cornell on Thursday, and tickets to the event ran out minutes after they became available.

October 16, 2018

Sotomayor Event at Cornell Will be Recorded; Limited Tickets May Be Available at Door

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Cornell will record Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s sold-out discussion at Bailey Hall on Thursday and post a video of the event online later in the day, University officials said Monday, reversing a previous statement that the event would not be recorded.

A Bailey Hall official also said Monday that attendees would have their tickets voided and given away if they did not arrive by 11:45 for the noon event. Voided tickets will be given away at the door.

People who want to get on the waitlist for voided tickets must sign up at Bailey Hall beginning at 11 on Thursday morning, said Bailey Hall’s audience services manager, George Holets. Between 11:45 and noon, waitlist names will be called in order until the voided tickets are given away.

Holets said there is no guarantee that anyone on the waitlist will be able to get in and that there is no way to predict how many seats will be filled through the waitlist.

Tickets to Sotomayor’s “fireside chat” with Cornell Law School Dean Eduardo Peñalver ’94 ran out minutes after they became available earlier this month, leaving many students empty-handed.

Cornell gave 425 tickets to students and other Cornellians who waited in line at Willard Straight Hall earlier this month. Another 600 tickets were given to people affiliated with the law school, and 175 were reserved for alumni and invited guests.

When Cornell announced the event, it said Sotomayor’s discussion would not be recorded, and a Cornell spokesperson said that it would not be live-streamed at the request of the Supreme Court. But a spokesperson for the court, Kathleen L. Arberg, said on Monday that Cornell would be permitted to record the event and post the recording to its website. She did not say whether the court has a policy banning live-streaming of justices’ speeches.

Bailey Hall has the necessary equipment and infrastructure in place to “accommodate a live stream with little advance notice, and a recording with virtually no advance notice, all at no additional cost,” Bailey Hall technical director David Kingsley told The Sun.

John Carberry, a Cornell spokesperson, confirmed that Cornell will not live-stream the event, but will post a video recording of Sotomayor’s discussion later on Thursday on CornellCast, the University’s video website.

Carberry also said The Cornell Daily Sun will be the only independent media outlet allowed to attend the event. He said the Cornell Chronicle, which is run by the University, will also attend and write about the event.

Retired judge Richard C. Wesley J.D. ’74, who was once colleagues with Sotomayor on the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, will also join the discussion.

Sotomayor last visited Cornell Law School a decade ago, when she had not yet been nominated by Barack Obama to the Supreme Court and was still a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

The decision to not livestream or record Thursday’s discussion was met with frustration by some students.

“I think if they’re not going to make the event inclusive to all Cornell students, then they should livestream it so that Cornell students have the option to be a part of it,” Samantha Zemser ’19 told The Sun when she was unable to snag a ticket. She said it was especially important to let students see Sotomayor speak “because it’s such an important event and such an important speaker at this time.”

Bailey Hall seats 1,300 people, and the University reported in 2017 that it was comprised of about 33,000 total faculty, staff and students. That means about 4 percent of Cornellians were able to get a ticket to the event.

Cornell’s acceptance rate for its Class of 2022, on the other hand, was 10.3 percent.