At the end of the spring semester, The Sun had the opportunity to interview President Martha Pollack, touching on topics ranging from the expansion of mental health services, sensitivity responses to tragedies, Cornell Tech, food insecurity and Prof. Brian Wansink’s termination.
Cornell controversies come as fast as they go, usually earning barely a peep from the administration. So consider us astonished to hear the University has, at last, opted to effectively ditch the burdensome event security fee. The move is a win for free expression on campus and a remarkable bout of responsiveness from leadership that too often shrugs off community input. After first hinting at the changes in February, Cornell will now begin covering security costs for most events up to $8,000. In a campus-wide email, Vice President for Student and Campus Life Ryan Lombardi announced the changes, which also include transitioning away from OrgSync, Cornell’s clunky student organization management system.
On April 19, 1969, more than 50 black students left Willard Straight Hall armed after occupying the building –– forever changing the university and student activism. Visit this interactive site that commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Takeover.
What a terrible mess. This year’s student-elected trustee race saw Jaewon Sim ’21 take the prize, but only after the ugly disqualification of JT Baker ’21, who ran a campaign focused on student-athletes. The latest news is that Baker would’ve won were he not booted out for breaking an election rule. In light of that, the Committee on Board Composition and Governance opted to split the difference. The CBCG recommended Sim take the traditional student-elected trustee seat and Baker fill a vacant trustee seat.
In her latest email, President Martha Pollack sent a brief statement expressing she is “shocked and horrified” about the bombings in Sri Lanka. It is important that Pollack is sending out these emails and addressing the Cornell community as tragedy strikes. It shows her cognizance of different student experiences and expresses her sincere sentiments. But a mere 68 words is probably not enough. Pollack’s 68-word Sri Lanka statement has less than one word for every three people that died in those bombings.
The moral case for Cornell divesting from fossil fuels has long been clear. Simply put, the University should not hold equity in resource extraction firms that have sent the planet hurtling toward climate ruin. An overwhelming body of science tells us the fallout of human-caused climate change will come in the form of severe developing-world food insecurity, more frequent extreme weather events and worse economic growth. Projections indicate death, disease, dislocation and malnutrition will sharply rise, especially for the global poor. The cost in human misery will be enormous.
Just a few weeks ago, 10 candidates took to the campus quads, Willard Straight Hall and social media feeds to campaign for the undergraduate position of Student-Elected Trustee. We saw 39.9 percent of undergraduates — a 13 percentage point increase from last year — fill out the Qualtrics survey that also included slots for positions such as Student Assembly President and Executive Vice President. Elections closed on Wednesday, March 27 at 2 p.m.
The results rolled out: Joe Anderson ’20 as Student Assembly President, Cat Huang ’20 as Student Assembly Executive Vice President — and 13 days of radio silence from the Trustee Nominating Committee. For 13 days, the Nominating Committee has failed to report any results from the 2019 Trustee election. They have numbers and they have results, given that results for President and EVP were promptly released.
Thursday’s news that Cornell quietly took millions in research contracts from Chinese telecom firm Huawei is alarming enough. But the University’s refusal to provide details about said contracts makes for an utter transparency failure. Cornell must acknowledge the perils of working with a firm wedded to China’s autocracy — and reveal the nature of its Huawei ties. Public data from the Department of Education shows that Cornell took $5.3 million from Huawei in 2017 via two research contracts. That’s troubling.
The following editorial reflects the opinions of The Cornell Daily Sun. Editorials are penned collaboratively between the Editor-in-Chief, Associate Editor and Opinion Editor, in consultation with additional Sun editors and staffers. The Sun’s editorials are independent of its news coverage and op-eds. Over the past week, The Sun has collected information about each of the trustee candidates and analyzed their platforms. Following the Trustee Candidate Debate on March 20, we sat down and interviewed our top choices. There are many good candidates for the role of student-elected trustee, but there is only one right candidate: Jaewon Sim ’21.