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GUEST ROOM | As Classes Resume, Consider our Mental Health

It’s 9 a.m. I’ve already slept eight hours, but I can’t get out of bed. I hit snooze until 10:30 a.m. By 11 a.m., I’m making myself coffee, listening to my parents on conference calls in different rooms. I pet my dogs and bother my little sister. At 12 p.m., I’m surprised it’s already noon. This upsets me, so I lie on the floor and stare at the ceiling until my thoughts tire me out. I scroll.

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GUEST ROOM | Sorry, We Have to Defy Capitalism to Install the Most Ethical Grading System

We are facing an unprecedented dilemma. For the first time in United States history, we are shutting down all our social institutions, ranging from healthcare facilities to education. Within that, there are groups of people who are facing incomprehensible calamities like the death of parents or crippling hunger. Of course, draconian-style, individualistic management is prevalent in the U.S.’s history of dealing with social issues, and the majority of Cornell’s population favors that style. As a result of capitalistic ideals and a characteristically false sense of meritocracy, many faculty want to maintain harsh grades, students want to profit from panicked change and many people are fighting to marginalize students facing intense hardship.

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SMITH | Caring for Our Minds In the Time of Coronavirus

It’s no easy feat to write about mental health in the midst of a global pandemic. There is fear, frustration, sadness and so many different experiences in society right now, and I cannot hope to capture them all. Every single student at Cornell has been impacted by the decision to move to online classes and evacuate campus. I am one of the few students who is staying in their dorm, and it’s been a bittersweet experience to send goodbye texts and watch friends load cars in this time of social distancing. It all feels too fast, too soon and too unreal.

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GUEST ROOM | Grading Schemes Aside, the Administration will need to make a Compromise

Cornell students have been fighting the wrong battle. Although the current conflicting discourse on opt-in and mandatory S/U grading exists between students, the actual negotiation that must occur should be between students and the University administration. Before we talk about alternative grading policies, we need to ask ourselves: what is a grade and what is its impact? Transcript grades represent a student’s understanding of their subject material with relation to their peers. At the same time, a grade bears the underlying assumption that all students in that class are given standardized learning resources and conditions.