A couple of years ago, a friend introduced me to a series of four MBTI-style questions meant to analyze personality traits and preferences. They ask about our choices regarding the following: Favorite color, favorite animal, favorite body of water and reaction to being placed in a doorless, windowless room. This last one came up in a recent conversation with renewed meaning in this time of Coronavirus. Identical as our circumstances of self-isolation might seem, everybody’s experience has differed vastly – in ways that location, socioeconomic status or other concrete factors don’t seem to fully capture. As an international student studying abroad, there was a point where I felt like I had more doors, windows of opportunities than I knew how to responsibly choose between.
Users of Cornell’s wi-fi network now have an extra 50 gigabytes per month after Cornell Information Technology Services increased its free monthly data allocation to 150 GB per user this semester. Students who use the network will incur charges only after exceeding this initial 150 GB, and can monitor their monthly usage through Cornell’s Network Usage-Based Billing. The University aims to have 90 to 95 percent of the users of the network covered by the allocation, according to Beth Lyons, associate chief information officer of Cornell I.T. Services. After seeing that the percentage of users covered start to dip below 90 percent, she said Cornell I.T. made the decision to increase the data allocation. “Most of the usage comes from students, so our goal there is to balance what their allocation is against what the network can support,” Lyons said.
Political activist Ward Connerly said he makes “no apology for saying that I am a guy who belongs to the camp of color-blindness.” In a Wednesday lecture hosted by the Cornell Republicans, the former University of California regent spoke on the future of racial preferences in higher education. Connerly gained national attention in the 1990s when he served on the University of California’s governing board and led controversial efforts to dismantle affirmative action policies in University admissions. His initiative led to a statewide ballot measure that prohibited all state governmental institutions from considering race, sex or ethnicity with regards to employment, contracting and education. Connerly later led similar successful efforts in Michigan, Washington, Arizona, Nebraska and Oklahoma. According to Connerly, he felt uncomfortable with the way the University used race in admission policies, giving preferences to underrepresented minorities through affirmative action.
After a lengthy debate at Thursday’s meeting, the Student Assembly voted in favor of developing and funding the proposed student run grocery store in Anabel Taylor Hall. The resolution — which passed by a vote of 14 in favor, nine against, and two abstentions — calls for the S.A. Financial Aid Review Committee to allocate $320,000 from the Students Helping Students Grant Endowment to fund the store. The allocation will cover renovation costs, a subsidy fund to help students purchase groceries and the start-up costs of the grocery. Thursday’s vote marks the latest step in what has become a year-long attempt to open the store. Emma Johnston ’16, S.A. executive vice president, and Matthew Stefanko ’16, S.A. vice president for finance — the co-founders of the store and co-sponsors of the resolution — hope that the store, known as Anabel’s Grocery, will address the issue of food insecurity on campus.
Though Prof. Maria Antonia Garcés, Hispanic studies, was born 400 years after the death of Miguel de Cervantes — the renowned 16th century Spanish novelist — she says that when she met him in a Spanish literature class, it changed the course of her life. “Meeting Cervantes changed my life because then I went for a Ph.D. to work on Cervantes, and since then I have dedicated my life to working on Cervantes,” Garcés said. Garcés has since spent her life, including her 21 years working at Cornell, studying Cervantes. Since encountering him while studying for her Master’s degree at Georgetown University, she has been rewarded for her dedication and recognized for her work, receiving the James Russell Lowell Prize from the Modern Language Association for her book Cervantes in Algiers: A Captive’s Tale — the highest award conferred by the MLA — in 2003. Years prior, while she was living in Colombia, Garcés worked as a journalist and as a director of a fine arts school.
Prof. Peter Wittich, physics, received recognition recently for his contributions to Prof. Arthur McDonald’s project team, which resulted in the discovery of neutrino oscillations and earned a Nobel prize in physics. The prize, awarded to McDonald of Queens University and Takaaki Kajita of University of Tokyo, recognizes the discovery of neutrino oscillation, a process that shows neutrinos have mass. Neutrinos were previously considered to be massless, and consequently this new research helps to explore how the sun works. The findings also verify Cornell physicist Hans Bethe’s explanation of the workings of the sun. Wittich said he worked at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory, the research lab over a mile underground in a nickel mine in Northern Ontario, while he was in graduate school. There, he measured the first one hundred days of data gathered on neutrinos. Wittich said that the sun emits neutrinos, tiny particles, as a result of nuclear fusion that takes place at the sun’s core, according to The Ithaca Journal.
Prof. David Shalloway, molecular biology and genetics, will give a presentation urging the Board of Trustees to divest the University’s endowment from the fossil fuel industry next Friday during the Trustee-Council Annual Meeting. Speaking on behalf of sponsors from all five shared governance assemblies that had passed resolutions calling for divestment, Shalloway said he will make the case that divestment from fossil fuels goes beyond environmental concerns and addresses the nature of shared governance itself. The presentation marks the latest step in an effort toward divestment that began over two years ago when the Student Assembly passed a resolution in February of 2013 calling for divestment. Since the passing of the 2013 resolution, the Faculty Senate, the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, the Employee Assembly and the University Assembly have all passed their own resolutions calling for the University to divest from fossil fuels. The University Assembly most recently passed its resolution in April last year.
Maria Repnikova, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, gave a lecture yesterday in Kaufmann Auditorium called “Critical Journalists and the State in China: The Case of Guarded Improvisation,” which examined the complex relationship between the press and the government in modern China. Co-sponsored by the Cornell Contemporary China Initiative and the Department of Communication, the lecture covered Repnikova’s doctoral and postdoctoral research. Repnikova made the argument that contrary to the popular image, Chinese journalists critique the state within certain boundaries set by the central party. According to Repnikova, the popular imagery of Chinese media tends to casts journalists as “loyal agents of the party state” and claim that the state “gives very little leeway for criticism.”
However, Repnikova said while the press does have severe restrictions under the Chinese state, a particular form of “critical journalism” has emerged where the state allows the press to critique it, but with fluid limitations. “Beneath this imagery of collision between isolated critics and an omni-powerful state, there are some exchanges that take place between various journalists and Chinese officials that often go unnoticed in popular media depictions,” Repnikova said.
Acclaimed photojournalist Gary Braasch told a Cornell audience Wednesday that while people may not know his name, many have seen his photographs documenting the effects of climate change. Braasch’s photographs have been featured in numerous publications, including Time, Life, Discover, Smithsonian, National Geographic and Scientific American, among others. Prof. David Kay, development sociology, introduced Braasch at the lecture, saying Braasch was featured on the cover of The New York Times Magazine earlier this year and has received formal recognition for his photographs. “In 2010, he was named one of the 40 most influential nature photographers by Outdoor Photography Magazine,” Kay said. Braasch, who has been a professional photographer for almost 40 years, said he has found and photographed visible manifestations of climate change throughout the world.