Ithacans Petition for Uber’s Entry to Upstate N.Y.

Although ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft have been restricted from New York State due to the New York State Insurance Law, nearly 2,000 people have signed an online petition pushing to pass a bill that would allow ridesharing services to operate in upstate New York. Although similar action has failed previously, upstate New Yorkers and Uber are both pushing hard to pass New York State Legislative Bill A6090, which would establish, regulate and provide proper insurance for transportation network companies and drivers, according to the New York State Assembly. Currently, ride-sharing services in New York state are only allowed to operate in New York City and the surrounding area. Ithaca officials are not against Uber coming to the area as long as state or local regulations ensure inspections and insurance on drivers and vehicles, according to city clerk Julie Holcomb. “We believe that people should have a choice of transportation providers,” Holcomb said.

Myrick ’09: Refugees Welcome in Ithaca

Mayor Svante Myrick ’09 announced that he will do “everything in [his] power to welcome Syrian refugees to Ithaca” in a Nov. 17 post on his Facebook page, echoing sentiments many New York State officials have also shown. Referencing a Washington Post article about Americans’ negative attitude towards accepting Jewish refugees at the brink of World War II, Myrick wrote, “If we turn away all Syrian refugees, we are committing the same sin.”
There is a strong historical precedent for accepting refugees in New York State and in the Ithaca area — nearly one-third of refugees from the former Soviet Union sent to the United States were resettled in New York, according to the Migration Policy Institute. In 2014, New York had the third highest resettlement rate of refugees across the U.S. states, admitting a total of 4,082 refugees. Ninety-five percent of all New York State refugees were resettled to upstate New York that year.

Student Organizations Protest Change in Willard Straight Hall Use Policy

At Thursday’s Student Assembly meeting, representatives heard complaints on the recent change of policy governing the use of the Willard Straight Hall by student organizations and debated whether purchasing iPads for S.A. meetings are the optimal use of the Assembly’s surplus. Student Organizations in the Straight
Several of the student groups who recently lost permission to hold meetings in the Willard Straight Hall Memorial Room took to the floor to air their grievances, citing the one-week notice they said they received before being forced to find new meeting places as too short. Earlier this month, the Student Union Board changed the rules governing the use of the Memorial Room, ousting Class Councils, among other organizations. The board initially justified their decision to Class Councils by saying the group’s meetings did not reach capacity. They subsequently retracted this statement after Class Councils contested it, and are now saying that  Class Councils did not abide by programming guidelines.

Students March to Day Hall, Call for United Front Against Inequality

Cries of “the students united will not be defeated!” filled Ho Plaza Thursday afternoon when nearly a hundred students banded together for the Million Student March and demanded tuition-free public college, cancellation of all student debt, a $15 minimum wage for campus workers and immediate divestment from fossil fuel corporations. Despite a student’s post on social media calling for its cancellation, students gathered on the steps of Willard Straight Hall at 3 p.m. for the march, which was organized by the Cornell Independent Students’ Union for a national event with more than 100 participating colleges. An hour before the march, a student posted on the Facebook event page a screenshot of a CISU statement of the union’s demands, underlining a portion of the sentence, “Alongside students, faculty must demand that low-income and colored people traditionally excluded by the status quo, are invited into the university system.”
Pointing to the phrase “colored people,” the student said in her post that she found it insensitive. “This is NOT okay. CISU needs to be held accountable.

University’s Policy 6.4 Revisions See Progress After New State Mandates

The University’s sexual assault policy is facing many possible changes,  administrators said in a presentation to the University Assembly Tuesday. Many of these changes, some completed and some being deliberated, include a new proposed hearing board model and new definitions of certain offenses.These changes follow the Office of Civil Right’s launch of a May   Title IX investigation against Cornell and 115 other schools. Completed Policy Changes
Changes made to Policy 6.4, last revised in 2012, reflect new state mandates, according to Alan Mittman, director of the Office of Workforce Policy and Labor Relations. Mittman says recent legislative changes to 6.4 incorporate guidance from the Office of Civil Rights and a new state law called, ‘Enough is Enough,’ which mandates that all New York State collegues create certain previsions including affirmative consent. Cornell has modified Policy 6.4 to comply with the new state law.

Editor in Chief of Al Jazeera America Addresses Journalistic Freedom

Amjad Atallah, editor in chief of Al Jazeera America, presented “Journalism Under Fire,” a lecture focusing on the importance of journalists and freedom of the press. The lecture was this year’s installment of The Daniel W. Kops Freedom of the Press series, which has been offered for over a decade. Prof. Michael Jones-Correa, government, introduced Atallah, his high school classmate. “Amjad, in his career both at Al Jazeera and before, has given a particularly sharp perspective on free speech and freedom of the press issues, which is the purpose of the Kops lecture,” Jones-Correa said. Before becoming editor in chief, Atallah served as a regional director of the Americas for Al Jazeera Media Network and as Bureau Chief of the Americas for Al Jazeera.”
Atallah began by describing his journey through journalism as “eclectic,” saying that he has gotten to his current point based on his encounters with journalists at the beginning of his career.

Dozens Gather to Celebrate Eid at Annual Banquet

One hundred and thirty people packed into the Biotechnology Building on Saturday for Cornell’s annual Eid al-Adha Banquet, which boasted an upbeat atmosphere and diverse crowd. People who attended the banquet represented a variety of cultures and backgrounds, according to Hasna Zainul ’17, treasurer of the Muslim Educational and Cultural Association, which hosted the banquet. Approximately 20 percent of attendees were not MECA members, Zainul said. MECA members decorated the banquet room in a scheme of blue and yellow, with the back wall draped in an ornate paper tapestry covered with gold camels. The backdrop was used for group pictures as guests walked in.