President David Skorton’s launch of a website on Wednesday that tracks the slew of approved building projects appears to have quelled the storm of discontent from some faculty members, who have been pushing for greater University-transparency.
The website comes at a time when budget expenditures are being tracked more than ever, and allows any member of the Cornell community to view approved building projects.
Skorton’s commitment to greater transparency is a response to a faculty senate resolution passed March 11, which asked for complete disclosure of all building projects in advance of the construction starting, as well as for all current building projects to be assessed for financial feasibility and environmental sustainability.
Although the announcement for the closing of Edna McConnell Clark Physical Sciences Library came over a month ago, the administration is still feeling reverberations of ill sentiment from affected students and academics. The full brunt of this bitterness came directly to a head in yesterday’s forum in Clark Hall, where Janet McCue, associate University librarian, headed a small cadre of librarians to field questions and address confusions regarding the closing.
“We don’t want to have your research suffer, and we really don’t want there to be obstacles to your work,” McCue said to the audience of about 25, mostly graduate students. “We also don’t want to diminish the collection support we’re giving you.”
The University’s appreciation and deep-seat in hip-hop culture has been steadily gaining tread this past year. And it “don’t stop,” as Black Students United and several other clubs sponsored The Hottest Hip Hop Ivy Weekend. In the same spirit of Afrika Bambaata and Pete Rock, who made their marks on campus last semester, the weekend centered around a panel featuring the University’s most illustrious alumni involved in the hip-hop industry.
Cornell may not always seem like the hottest place for up-and-coming rappers, but it has plenty of hip-hop history to boast of — not the least of which is True2Life, the trio composed of k. Words ’05, Concise ’05 and Slangston Hughes ’05. The Sun sat down with the crew — who make their own beats — and talked about hawking LPs at RPU, plans for the future and The Pussycat Dolls.
The Sun: How did hip-hop and music play a role in your lives as undergraduates here at Cornell?
Dave Sepulveda is not one to see the glass half empty. His gregarious manner and golden jheri curl have earned him the affectionate nickname “Happy Dave” amongst patrons of Okenshield’s, where he is a card- swiper.
But at the end of this semester, contract negotiations for employees across the University could put a little less pep in Dave’s infamous dance steps.
As employee contracts expire June 30, workers will begin contract re-negotiation processes June 1, backed by the United Auto Workers’ Local 2300 union. With the economy grinding against rock bottom, the substandard compensation of University workers have only been exacerbated, causing even Sepulveda to question how much the University can provide for employees, he said.
The changing face of the University will continue with the realigning of the Alumni Affairs and Development Office, which is implementing a strategic plan to tighten up resources and increase efficiency. Although the nation’s dismal economic climate was an impetus for the reorganization, the plan has been in the making for a year and a half.
“We’ve been doing strategic planning for about 18 months,” said Charles Phlegar, vice president of AAD. “Over the summer, we took reports from six committees that had looked at our organization. The financial catastrophe … heightened the need to perform more quickly.”
As global warming becomes an increasingly acknowledged stark reality in Washington, policy-makers and politicians are scrambling to up the ante on “green” efforts. Last week, they sought the advice of Prof. Arthur DeGaetano, climatology and Prof. David Wolfe, horticulture.
The pair of Cornell professors briefed lawmakers on how farmers are able to respond to global climate change, an issue that forms the basis of their professional studies.
“We’re sort of a team,” DeGaetano said of his relationship with Wolfe. “We’ve been doing a lot in the past 10 years [by] now.”
Private universities are not the only educational institutions facing dire financial circumstances. In Ithaca, the public school system faces cuts ranging from $5 to $7 million, causing administrators to scramble to figure out where exactly the system needs to be cut down.
“We offer a very high level of education here in Ithaca,” Beth Kunz, a member of the Ithaca school board and events planner for the College of Architecture, Art and Planning said. “We will still be educating our children, but it’ll be different. We’re going to have to change the way we do business.”