When I arrived at class on the first day of this semester, the person sitting next to me ended up being a familiar face. A face I recognized from long nights rolling around in my sheets and early morning wake ups. Among our 25 person class was a former fuck buddy. The kind of relationship where texts were limited to “what time tonight?” Or, “u up?” And the typical after sex cuddling was replaced with high fives. Things between us ended due to diverging wants.
On Sunday Nov. 7 I ate a whole bag of Sour Patch Kids and as I did, I began to digest a reality that is sour and then sweet. I sat at my desk as my phone buzzed with CornellALERTS. Luckily, I was able to avoid the evacuations that occurred on the parts of central campus which received bomb threats. I can’t imagine the fear that my peers in those circumstances experienced.
There’s a sentiment on our campus that seems more pervasive now than ever — the idea that we are aboard the academic titanic.
I have a thing for older guys. I don’t mean old guys — sleeping with somebody’s fifty-something-year-old father isn’t my inclination at all. I’m talking about boys five to 10 years my senior, men in their late 20s and early 30s who have, by now, exchanged their fraternity era alcoholism for a studio apartment, stable employment, some sexual competence and maybe a cat. My preference for men of some maturity is driven by a simple rationale. It’s not that I lust for receding hairlines or deflated pecs years past their prime.
We, a collective of students from various parts and communities on campus, issue these demands to hold Cornell University accountable for its atrocious lack of action and leadership in the aftermath of events on Nov 7, 2021 and Nov 9, 2021. These events, including a bomb threat and an active shooter threat, lasted for hours and left students in panic with vague, inconsistent communication from the University. While students feared for their safety, trying to figure out what to do and where to go, many continued to receive emails from professors about assignments, exams, and classes scheduled for the next day. Empathy was nowhere to be found—especially as the Nov 7 situation failed to even receive the usual empty messages of understanding from top-ranking University officials, including President Pollack and Vice President for Student and Campus Life Lombardi.
A little over a month ago, my colleague in the Opinion section, Javed Jokhai ’24, published a column with the thesis that pro-Palestinian voices are being suppressed on Cornell’s campus. In his view, the Cornell administration’s purported neutrality on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its unwillingness to condemn Israel and sever all ties with Israeli academic institutions prejudices the free speech rights of pro-Palestinian students and faculty on campus. In reaching this conclusion, Jokhai offers contradictory reasoning and mischaracterizes the nature of academic freedom. Last spring, amid the latest round of Israeli-Palestinian conflict, President Martha Pollack released a statement expressing concern about the rise in anti-Semitic hate crimes, including several incidents at Cornell and around Ithaca. This was, of course, completely reasonable given that during those weeks we saw Jews beaten in the streets of New York and Canada and pro-Palestinian protesters in London and Brussels chant “death to Jews.” Even at Cornell, where close to 20 percent of students are Jewish, a member of the Student Assembly shared a video of notorious anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan accusing Israel of “practicing dirty religion” on her instagram story.
Jokhai, however, was troubled by Pollack’s statement.
Cornell is full of opportunities, and we all know we cannot take advantage of it all. But don’t miss the opportunities the Student Assembly has for the issues you care about. I am new to the SA — and honestly, still relatively new to Cornell — but it didn’t take long to see how easy it is to act.
My name is Duncan Cady. I’m an ILR Junior from San Francisco California who transferred to Cornell in the fall of 2020. In the Student Assembly, I am the Students with Disabilities Representative and one of three current Undergraduate Student Representatives serving alongside the SA President to the University Assembly.
My 22nd birthday was an excuse to be just-a-little-bit like Taylor for the day. It was my girl-group bracing the 35 degree Ithaca cold to sit outside for my birthday brunch, my law frat brothers threatening to make everyone in Libe Cafe sing happy birthday to me if I spent the day in the library, my parents nailing my birthday present and a shout out at the Nigerian Students’ Association’s Date Auction.
In short, in the last three days it’s started to seem like Cornell andIthaca have been doing a speed-run of apocalypse bingo or something to that effect. In fact, one of my roommates made the quip, “What’s next, an earthquake on Thursday?” and we all had a good laugh. Jokes aside though, there’s been a lot of abnormality in the last three days and it’s brought out many different reactions among the members of our community.
I woke up with a sore throat this morning — faced with the decision of either weathering through my two lectures or letting $400 worth of tuition go to waste.
Prior to the pandemic, this was an accepted notion — and justifiably so. There wasn’t the online infrastructure that was built in the past year and a half, so no reliable alternative existed. Now, it is outrageous that classes are not guaranteed to have an online alternative, especially for students who may be quarantining after a COVID infection or exposure. After all, we are still very much in a public health crisis — on Nov. 5, there were 91,782 new COVID cases and 2,315 deaths recorded due to coronavirus in the United States.
Yet, beside the mask mandate and surveillance testing, campus happenings have ostensibly returned to normal.