Capital meeting

Cornell students speak with Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.) yesterday on the steps of the Capitol as part of a University-sponsored lobbying trip.

From East Hill to Capitol Hill:C.U. Students Lobby for FinAid

WASHINGTON, D.C. — An enthusiastic contingent of about 15 Cornell students spread out across dozens of Capitol Hill offices yesterday to lobby members of Congress for more federal financial aid as part of a University-sponsored trip.
The students shared with House, Senate and education-related committee staffers from both sides of the aisle their personal stories about how financial aid and the rising cost of attending higher education have impacted their lives.

High Demand Generates Quick Sale of C.U. Bonds

The University successfully sold $500 million in debt last week, as Cornell maintained its credit rating on one index but slipped a notch on another.
Investors fully subscribed to Cornell’s bond offerings in under 30 minutes last Thursday, according to Tommy Bruce, vice president of University Communications.
The bond offering was divided evenly between $250 million of 5-year bonds at a 4.35-percent interest rate and $250 million of 10-year at a 5.45-interest rate.
While the University has lines of credit and regularly sells-tax exempt bonds to finance construction, the sale of these taxable bonds are unusual. The magnitude of the offering is, in fact, unprecedented.

Art Spitzer ’71, ACLU Legal Director, Reflects on Straight Takeover

This is the third in a series of interviews with people involved with the Willard Straight Takeover of 1969, in which black students took over the Straight to demand greater equality for minority students at Cornell. The interviews, along with a newspaper supplement and panel discussion in April, will commemorate the 40th anniversary of the takeover.

Art Spitzer ’71 has the unique perspective of having served on several University committees leading up to and following the Straight Takeover. For the past 29 years, he has worked for the American Civil Liberties Union and currently serves as the legal director of the ACLU’s National Capital Area office.
The Sun: What was your involvement with the Straight takeover?

C.U. Will Pay $2.6M in Fraud Case

Weill Cornell Medical College has agreed to pay over $2.6 million to settle civil charges that Cornell defrauded the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense as it sought more than $14 million in federal research grants, Acting U.S. Attorney Lev Dassin announced earlier this month.
The settlement resolves the charges that the government had brought against Cornell for filing false claims for federal research grant money. Cornell knowingly made false records and false statements in order to get fraudulent claims paid or approved by the federal government in connection with NIH and Department of Defense grants, according to the government’s complaint.

Amid Criticism, C.U. Receives Federal Earmarks

President Barack Obama signed into law yesterday what he called an “imperfect” $410 billion omnibus appropriations bill, amid Republican criticism that the legislation contains billions of dollars of earmarks.
Several of those earmarks contain funding that will benefit Cornell, most significantly $2.2 million headed for the Univer­sity’s Grape Genetics Research Center at Geneva.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has criticized the money earmarked for the project as an example of wasteful spending, ranking it as number four on his Top 10 list of the worst examples of “pork” in the bill.
Cornell, which lobbied specifically for the earmark, defended the project’s merit.

Police Find Body of Missing Ithaca Man in Fall Creek

The Ithaca Police Department on Sunday recovered a body located in the water where Fall Creek empties into Cayuga Lake at Stewart Park.
Police identified the decedent yesterday as Paul K. Rice, 64, of Ithaca.
The IPD, Ithaca Fire department and Bangs ambulance responded at approximately 1:18 p.m. on Sunday to a report of a body in the water. Upon arrival at the scene, officers found Rice’s body floating in the water at the north bank of Fall Creek adjacent to the caretaker house, the police department said in a statement.
Police said last night that no further details were available because the investigation is ongoing.

C.U. Incurs Debt, Cuts Spending

Cornell’s Board of Trustees unanimously agreed Friday to allow the University incur up to $500 million dollars in debt and significantly scale back its spending from the endowment.
The move comes as the University faces a more than $200 million budget shortfall for its Ithaca campus and a $13 million deficit for the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City. Cornell’s endowment has also shrunk by 27 percent over the past several months.

An ‘Unusual Maneuver’
The Trustees authorized the University to sell up to $500 million in taxable bonds to provide working capital and institutional liquidity.

Trustees Vote to Allow University to Take on Debt, Reduce Endowment Spending

The Cornell Board of Trustees unanimously agreed this afternoon to allow the University incur up to a half-billion dollars in debt and scale back its endowment spending.

The Trustees authorized the University to sell up to $500 million in taxable bonds to provide working capital and institutional liquidity.

The University is also set to reduce spending from the endowment by 15 percent starting July 1, with further cuts planned for subsequent years.

“[The University] can’t keep taking the money out as if it were a larger endowment,” President David Skorton said in an interview Friday.

Trustees Discuss Cornell’s Future

In advance of their full meeting Friday, Cornell’s Board of Trustees met in committees yesterday to discuss a range of topics, including federal research funding and a re-examination of the University’s policy on conflicts of interest and standards of ethical conduct.
In accordance with New York State’s Open Meetings Law, several committees held open sessions yesterday before subsequently convening in closed sessions, which were not available to the media.
At the trustees’ Committee on Governmental Relations, Cornell’s office of government and community relations updated members about how the University will be impacted by recent federal legislation.