Mary Beth Grant: New Role a ‘Work in Progress’

Nearly three months ago, Mary Beth Grant J.D. ’88 — Cornell’s former Judicial Administrator — assumed a new position as senior dean of students for inclusion, engagement and community support, following criticism from student leaders last spring about the creation of the administrative position itself. In March, the Student Assembly passed a resolution that opposed the creation of the new position, heeding to the concerns of students about the way it was being funded. “Time and time again we were told that the University has no money to give more support for the resource centers, and here they are creating a high paid position that would simply add to the bureaucracy,” said Karen Li ’15, former director of advocacy for the Cornell Asian Pacific Islander Student Union, in March. Grant — who now oversees student organizations, resource centers and community engagement initiatives — said she understood the concerns about the position when its creation was first announced. “I wanted to better understand the concerns about the position even before I was interviewed.” Grant said.

Student Assembly Appropriations Committee Rejects Cinema Funding Increase

Correction appended 
Student leaders from Cornell Cinema are speaking out against a recent Student Assembly Appropriations Committee recommendation to not grant a funding increase in the organization’s allocation from the student activity fee. Cornell Cinema currently seeks a $1.40 per student funding increase, raising the allocations from $10.60 per student to $12 per student. However, the S.A. Appropriations Committee, which recommended against a funding increase wrote in a statement that although Cornell Cinema provides “some value to students,” the committee did not find a funding increase justifiable based on recent attendance numbers and its insufficient operational model. Elijah Weber-Han ’16, president of Cornell Cinema, said the S.A.’s remarks on attendance are “unfounded.”
“Undergraduate attendance has increased by 1,300 in the last year and we have the largest student advisory board in the history of the organization,” Weber-Han said. “As Cornell Cinema is a popular student activity it would seem logical that the activity fee would be beneficially allocated to ensure a sustainable cinema program.”
Additionally, the committee wrote that it does not have an obligation to “continually and consistently cover the rising cost of doing business within the cinema industry” and encouraged Cornell Cinema to explore new ways to lower their costs.

AAU Releases Sexual Assault Survey Results

The Association of American Universities released on Monday the results of a comprehensive campus sexual assault climate survey in which Cornell and 26 other universities participated in the spring of 2015. The survey results — titled the “Report on the AAU Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct” — offer over 280 pages of findings following nearly one year of research. Its conclusions are mainly based upon a survey which was offered to students at the 27 participating universities. Of the 20,547 Cornell students invited to participate, a total of 3,906 completed the survey for an overall response rate of 19 percent, according to the report. In April, Susan Murphy ’73 Ph.D. ’94, former vice president for student and academic services, said that in order to get an accurate picture of the campus climate, she would need about 40 to 50 percent of the student body to respond.

Cornell Alumni Magazine Issues Apology for Controversial Cover

Editors at the Cornell Alumni Magazine have issued an apology following a controversial editorial decision to publish a graphic — which some have suggested is latently racist — on the cover of its most recent issue. The magazine cover — which features on one side an old, black-and-white photograph of four Caucasian students and on the other side a colored photograph of four Asian students — is captioned “Collegetown is changing fast. Is that a good thing?” The cover story, however, in no way suggests anything about the topic of race or diversity at Cornell. Jenny Barnett, editor and publisher of the Cornell Alumni Magazine, said the magazine regrets “inadvertently [leaving] the image open to interpretations that we never intended.”
“The cover story for our Septem­ber / October issue looked at the changes in Collegetown buildings and student haunts over the years — those that have survived and those that have closed down — and the construction boom that is currently transforming the neighborhood,” Barnett said. She continued by describing the cover, which showed images of the 400 block of College Avenue, where Collegetown Bagels and Rulloff’s is currently located.