THIS IS CORNELL, and this is Ithaca. We curse it for its multitude of inclines and frequent snowfall. We praise it for its vibrant, quirky surroundings and natural beauty. Yet we often fall so deeply into the routine of papers, projects and prelims that we tend to forget about it altogether. The Best of Cornell, a collaboration between the Dining, Arts and Entertainment, and Photo departments of The Sun, aims to spotlight a few of the noteworthy attractions of Cornell and the city of Ithaca.
The Sun was founded in 1880. Since then, we’ve built up an impressive record of hard-hitting journalism and community service, and we have given generations of Cornellians something better to pay attention to in their 10:10 a.m. classes.
Last Wednesday, agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 32-year old Mexican national and Ithaca resident Jose L. Guzman. The event was confirmed and only widely spread once reporters investigated the swift and shocking arrest, a bleak reminder that federal agencies are operating faster than ever under the auspices of the current administration. ICE has become more active over the past few months, increasing their arrests by a staggering 32.6 percent only a few weeks after Trump assumed the presidency. Under the Obama administration, federal agents were directed to focus on serious criminals — now, empowered by the new administration, ICE is increasingly merciless in its efforts to deport undocumented immigrants, even those with no criminal record. “Before, we used to be told, ‘You can’t arrest those people,’ and we’d be disciplined for being insubordinate if we did…Now those people are priorities again,” a 10-year veteran of the ICE agency admitted to The New York Times.
On March 27 and 28, Cornell graduate students will vote on the question of their potential unionization, the finale to a series of events prompted by an August 2016 NLRB ruling that graduate students can be considered workers with the right to unionize. This is a reversal of a 2004 ruling which stated that graduate students should have a “primarily educational, not economic, relationship with their university.”
The role of graduate students has become highly contentious; students argue they play an indispensable yet under-appreciated role in Cornell’s research initiatives and course curricula. Cornell Graduate Students United supports unionization as a means of increasing the benefits of all graduate students at Cornell through a collective bargaining unit. The potential union will aim to give graduate students a say over issues ranging from health insurance to stipends and wage increases, ultimately to improve students’ living and working conditions. Critics of the union point out potentially flawed voting procedures and the potential union’s ability to fairly represent grad students.
“‘The forgotten man and woman will be forgotten no longer.’ I’ll explain tonight, 7:30 pm, Cornell,” tweeted Michael Johns, co-founder of the Tea Party movement and conservative policy analyst. Johns was scheduled to give a public talk, hosted by the Cornell Political Union, at Anabel Taylor Hall at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday evening to discuss the merits of a Trump administration. However, on Monday, CPU turned the event private after speaking Cornell University Police Department about the intent of campus organizations and certain community members to protest the guest speaker. “I was told the Union could either pay $2000 in security fees to ensure the presence of CUPD officers at the event, cancel it altogether or make it private,” said Troy LeCaire ’17, co-founder of CPU. The public was kept in the dark as CPU refused to disclose further details about the event, which is open only to Union members and certain guests.
On Jan. 25, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights opened its sixth Title IX investigation into alleged mishandling of sexual assault investigations by Cornell, making it the university with the most active Title IX investigations. Under Title IX, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” At Cornell, that promise has come into question. The accounts of all parties involved in the recent Doe v. Roe case were unfairly evaluated under Policy 6.4, the University’s problematic policy for handling cases of sexual harassment. Cornell came under fire for instances of evident discrimination in this case.