Jacob Rubashkin is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences studying government and history. He is the Editor in Chief of The Sun. Originally from Chevy Chase, MD, Jacob wrote an opinion column for The Sun from 2015 to 2017, and as Associate Editor from 2017 to 2018.
Cornellians have a thing for pretentious names. We call our midterms “prelims,” our hills “slopes,” and our everything bagels “Long Island.” When it comes to stupid names, we at The Cornell Daily Sun are no better — and I’m not just talking about those times when design editor Emma Williams ’19 would sarcastically call me “Supreme Leader” in her emails. No, the pretentious name to which we are most attached is “compet.”
What is compet? The exact etymology is, like too much at Cornell, shrouded in mystery, but if you look closely, you’ll notice it bears a striking resemblance to the word “compete” with the second “e” lopped off. Coincidentally, compet is the time during which staffers at The Sun compete against each other for editorships.
Today is the final day of print publication this semester for The Cornell Daily Sun. Though we will continue to publish occasional stories online over the next month and half, the good folks at 139 W State Street have begun to shift their focus away from hard-hitting journalism and toward — God willing — passing their finals. But fear not, reader. On January 21, The Sun will rise once more from its winter slumber, replenished by latkes, Christmas hams, and various other winter foods of choice, and ready to shine its light on Ithaca again. This semester, The Sun proved again the need for quality, independent journalism on college campuses.
Something crazy happened this past summer. Thousands and thousands of Cornellians — one-quarter of all undergraduates — got up and left Ithaca, likely for good. And yet, last Friday, thousands and thousands of new students rushed to fill those vacant spots, ensuring that, at least for one more year, Cornell will remain at full force. Here at The Sun, we too said goodbye to a sterling senior class, of editors, writers, photographers, designers, business associates and more. But unlike our friends at the admissions office, however, we don’t have the benefit of being on the Common App.
Today, The Cornell Daily Sun puts its regular print copy to rest until the start of fall semester. It has been a busy few months for us at 139 W State Street, and I am immensely proud of the hard work that the 136th Editorial Board has put into providing our community with valuable journalism on the issues that matter most. Whether it was the tumult of Student Assembly elections, the John Greenwood saga, the protracted demise of Brian Wansink or a banner year for Cornell sports (LGR!), The Sun has been the place for coverage and commentary. As we close out almost a century and a half of publication, we continue to look for innovative ways to reach new audiences and cover new issues. This summer, The Sun will once again expand our digital presence with a student-developed iOS application.
Last Saturday, the staff of The Cornell Daily Sun met to elect its 136th Editorial Board. As it was with the thousands of editors whose names graced this page before us, our mission is to provide the most comprehensive coverage, detailed analysis, and thoughtful commentary on the events and issues that matter most to Cornell and her community. It is an honor to play a small role in continuing this tradition of journalistic excellence, and I am elated to do so with the amazing group that is the 136th board. In 1981, at the dawn of The Sun’s second century, Editor in Chief Steven Billmyer ’83 wrote that the yearly changing of the boards was “The Sun’s most powerful asset allowing the editors a flexibility — one commercial papers cannot match — to produce a paper that better reflects this dynamic community.”
As The Sun continues to confront the challenges of 21st century journalism, Billmyer’s words ring more true than ever. Each successive generation of editors reinvigorates The Sun, ensuring that we always remain intimately connected to our audience and our environment.
Someone is trying to kill Vladimir Kara-Murza. Someone is failing. The Russian journalist and democratic activist, a fierce critic of President Vladimir Putin, is soft-spoken but full of life as we sit chatting about politics in the atrium of Gates Hall. Kara-Murza is in town for a screening of his documentary Nemtsov, which tells the story of slain Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, and in an interview with The Sun he explained the story behind the film, and what he hopes to impart on his audience. “Boris was the best of us… so they killed the strongest,” Kara-Murza says when asked about the brazen 2015 assassination of Nemtsov that occured just steps away from the Kremlin.
In the turmoil following Donald Trump’s inauguration and his subsequent Muslim ban, I turned to my grandfather’s story for solace and for guidance. Grandpa Ben had survived Soviet Russia, two years in a German refugee camp, the Great Depression and the Korean War, and built a prosperous life for himself and his family here in New York. He had made it to America, and then he had made it in America. During that dark January, when uncertainty hung heavy over all of us, when nobody was sure just how things would turn out, I looked to my grandpa. I looked at his life, and I knew that everything would be okay, so long as we did the right thing.
Run. Not away from the issues but towards them. Do not think that just because you are young or inexperienced that you cannot make a difference if you try. And there is no more important time to make a difference than now, when the new status quo is totally unacceptable. Keep marching, keep raising your voice on the issues you care about, and then take that energy and run with it.
Despite the recent standout successes of films like Spotlight, La La Land and Moonlight, the past several years have been dark times for cinema. Last summer, droves of Americans willingly spent a collective $176 million to see a movie titled Ant-Man, not because of any particular affection for either ants or the second-tier superhero who obtains their powers, but because we were compelled to do so as a part of Walt Disney Studios’ master plan. See, a standalone film about a man who can shrink himself to the size of an ant probably wouldn’t do so well, regardless of how unassuming and charming the actor playing him was (and Paul Rudd is about as unassuming and charming as they come). But a film about a man who can shrink himself to the size of an ant that happens to be part of a larger so-called “cinematic universe”? Instant blockbuster.