A campus Christian group that receives funding from the student activity fee is coming under scrutiny after a student was asked by advisors to step down from its leadership team when he told them that he had openly accepted his homosexuality. This incident is also raising questions about the effectiveness of campus mechanisms for addressing instances of discrimination.
Activism at Cornell has taken many forms since the Straight Takeover — from the Shantytown erected on campus during the Apartheid Divestment protests in the 1980s, to the Day Hall Takeover in 1993 that established the Latino Living Center and the Latino Studies Program, to students chaining themselves to trees to protest the destruction of Redbud Woods in 2005. The University’s relationship with campus activism has evolved as much at the activism itself.
In the aftermath of the Straight Takeover, negotiations between students and the University produced a pledge that Cornell would not discipline the students, but this has not always been the case for campus activism on the hill.
An uncharacteristic silence swept over Ho Plaza at 12:20 p.m. yesterday as approximately 15 students dressed in all black marched to a podium in front of Willard Straight Hall carrying a casket and a sign that said “RIP Safe Spaces at Cornell.” As a “coalition of concerned students,” these students marched through the Arts Quad to Ho Plaza in a mock funeral procession for Ujamaa, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Resource Center, the Asian and Asian American Center, Akwe:kon and the Latino Living Center. The procession stopped in Ho Plaza for students to read eulogies for the program houses and resource centers, where it was joined by more students, faculty, staff and onlookers, before processing to Day Hall.
On Friday afternoon, there was standing room only in the Goldwin Smith English Lounge as Prof. Masha Raskolnikov, English and feminist, gender, & sexuality studies introduced TransRhetorics, a conference exploring interdisciplinary approaches within the field of Transgender Studies and the rhetorics that represent transgender lives.
A little over one year ago, students on the Asian/Asian-American Center (A3C) committee held a forum to demand the creation of a community center for Asian/Asian-American students. Last night, after a year of planning, discussion and activism, students held another forum, with Dean of Students Kent Hubbell ’67, President David Skorton and Vice President for Student and Academic Services Susan Murphy ’73, to update students, staff and faculty on the center’s progress.
Willard Straight Hall was proposed as the center’s permanent location last fall; however, there will be an interim center at 14 South Ave, a University-owned facility formerly used by a fraternity and a sorority and currently used to house students, according to Murphy.
The Vagina Monologues has been performed at Cornell for the past 11 years as part of V-Day, a global movement to stop violence against women and girls. While V-Day promotes creative events to raise awareness about these issues, a new debate over the performance space has taken center stage.
The economic downturn has hurt all facets of the University, especially those parts of the community that were often overlooked before any economic crisis.
Cornell’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer/Questioning community has gone without a permanent director or an office manager of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning Resource Center (LGBTQ RC) since the summer, and without an assistant dean of Students/Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer/Questioning Outreach (LGBTQ) for a year and a half.
Last month, Harry Katz, dean of the School of Industrial and Labor Relations, said there will be 17 layoffs in the ILR Extension Division by June 2009 due to state funding cuts. The ILR Extension is an outreach division with offices in Buffalo, Ithaca, New York City, Albany, Long Island and Rochester that conducts research and teaches labor-related courses and seminars to adults.
The decision to lay off Extension employees is based on a strategic decision to maintain the quality of Extension programs by letting go of excess administrative staff and areas of Extension programs that were not financially sustainable, according to Katz.
Just two days after taking office, President Barack Obama signed executive orders on Jan. 22 to shut down the Guantanamo Bay detention center within a year, immediately stopping coercive interrogations.
Although the orders signal a break from the policies of the Bush Administration, the groundwork for the orders was laid far in advance of the Obama Administration in a report called “Closing Guantanamo: From Bumper Sticker to Blueprint.”