March 17, 2020

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: RE: ‘Forget the Public Policy School, Give Us a Design School’

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To the Editor:

This past week Ms. Bettez authored an opinion that vowed for the replacement of Cornell’s School of Public Policy with a school of design. Although Bettez argues some reasonable points, there is a grand irony and underlying message that runs contradictory to Cornell as an institution. “Any person, any study” should imply that all schools have merit. As an MPA student in Cornell’s Institute for Public Affairs, my win is not another student’s loss. In other words, the creation of a new school is not a zero-sum game. Yes, there are a finite amount of resources, but there is no reason to vouch for the dismantling of a school that could help others achieve their goals. In fact, it is our advocacy, legislation and persistence that allows such efforts.

Additionally, using clubs as a metric of measuring interest is a somewhat novice and inaccurate gauge of overall university need. Extracurricular club interest does not necessarily equate to academic interest or need. A better metric would be polling the Student Assembly, Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, Employee Assembly, the Faculty Senate and the University Assembly — or even the students themselves. Although I enjoyed reading the connections from mechanical engineering to DEA, virtually the exact same argument can be applied to public policy. Every person, company and institution in the United States (and several other countries) are related to policy in that they are mandated to abide by or write it. Additionally, policy intersects virtually every discipline on campus — design codes in architecture, consumer products in business and movie ratings in theatre, just to name a few. Lastly, there is significant value in translating research from all disciplines into policy and practice, like working with experts to make decisions during a pandemic. It’s one of many things we can do.

Victoria J. Kasonde, grad

Vice President of Operations of the GPSA 

While Ms. Kasonde is the VPO of the GPSA, she is not speaking on behalf of them or the CIPA program.