Judicial Administrator Hopes Outsourcing 6.4 Cases Will Expedite Process

Editor’s note: This is the second part of a two-part series examining the Cornell disciplinary system. For the first part of the series, click here. When Interim Judicial Administrator Jody Kunk-Czaplicki gets a referral, she said her office first performs a basic, brightline analysis to determine whether the alleged misconduct falls under the purview of University codes. If the office decides it does, administrators launch an investigation. During this stage, multiple witnesses with competing testimony and unclear pieces of evidence can sometimes make it difficult to resolve the issue.

Day Hall, home to Cornell's central administration and its Title IX compliance office.

Judicial Administrator Office Slammed in Report

Editor’s Note: This is the first part of a two-part series examining the Cornell disciplinary system. For the second part of the series, click here. Over the past decade, the number of temporary suspensions used in Judicial Administrator investigations has increased by 350 percent, the number of suspensions on the merits of a case has increased by 333 percent and the number of expulsions has increased seven-fold. However, the number of referrals sent to the Office of the J.A. in the academic year 2013-14 was very similar to the number sent 10 years prior, rising only slightly from 812 in 2004 to 862 in 2014. While the J.A. attributes these trends to an increase in serious cases, the law students tasked with representing students in J.A. proceedings, known as Judicial Codes Counselors, contend that recent developments in the University’s disciplinary practices merit attention.

President Elizabeth Beth Garrett and Ryan Lombardi, vice president of student and campus life, speak at a Student Assembly meeting in the Willard Straight Memorial Room.

Garrett Gives Final Approval for Anabel’s Grocery

In the midst of a vibrant campus debate on how best to tackle food insecurity, President Elizabeth Garrett gave her approval of the plan to open a student-run grocery store in Anabel Taylor Hall on Nov. 23, clearing the final administrative hurdle blocking the store’s proponents from turning their plan into reality. The resolution to open Anabel’s Grocery was originally approved by the Student Assembly last April as a way to address food insecurity on campus. After President Emeritus David Skorton declined to offer his judgement on the plan in his last months at Cornell, the S.A. debated the issue again this year, and passed a second resolution in favor of the proposal on Nov. 5.


Murder Charges in Tan ’17 Trial Dismissed

One month after declaring a mistrial in the murder trial of Charles Tan ’17, County Court Judge James Piampiano shocked observers Thursday by dismissing all charges against the former Cornell student. Tan was tried last month for allegedly fatally shooting his father in February. However, after eight days of deliberations, the jurors were dismissed without a verdict. The case was expected to be retried early next year. Those expectations were shattered Thursday, when all parties returned to court for what was supposed to be a series of routine pre-trial proceedings.


Cayea Murder Trial Wraps Up With Closing Arguments; Jury Begins Deliberations

The trial of Benjamin Cayea for the murder of Shannon Jones ’15 wrapped up with closing statements Wednesday after three days of testimony covering 15 witnesses. The 12 members of the jury now have to decide whether to convict Cayea of second-degree murder, convict him of second-degree manslaughter or acquit him in Jones’ Thanksgiving 2014 death. The jury can turn to the manslaughter charge if they find that Cayea acted “recklessly” to cause Jones’s death, but did not have the malice required for a murder conviction, according to The Ithaca Journal. In his closing argument, defense attorney Matthew Van Houten told the jury that Cayea loved Jones and that her death was the result of a “passionate” sexual encounter gone awry. Throughout the trial, the defense argued that Jones and Cayea often invoked the use of choking — the method by which Jones was killed — in their sex life.


Local Activist Enters Mayoral Race as Write-In

Local activist Phoebe Brown announced earlier this month that she will launch a write-in campaign for mayor in an attempt to foster a better city dialogue, though she acknowledged the unlikelihood of unseating Mayor Svante Myrick ’09 in his bid for reelection. Brown has been vocal in the past on issues of economic and community development and the need to advance diversity in and around Ithaca. She is currently a community outreach liaison for Cayuga Medical Center’s Center for Healthy Living. Brown told The Ithaca Voice that she is mostly supportive of the work Myrick has done so far as mayor, but feels that some voices have not been represented in this year’s mayoral race. She said she hopes that creating a point of contention will help refocus the election around certain key issues.


Marice Stith, Professor Emeritus of Music, Dies at 89

Prof. Emeritus Marice Stith, music, died on Oct. 7, 26 years after he retired from a distinguished career as a Cornell professor and band director. He was 89. During his time on the Hill, Stith was a professor of performance and the director of the Big Red Marching Band. He taught courses in brass instruments, electronic music and recording technology, according to a University press release.


Garrett Continues Administrative Shake-Up; Arts and Sciences Adds Education Innovation Director

Corrections appended 
After several months ripe with personnel fluctuations, the University has announced that it will restructure the presidential leadership team to include an executive vice president and chief financial officer, pending board of trustee approval of the position, according to a University press release. Garrett has appointed Joanne DeStefano, the current vice president for finance and chief financial officer, to fill the new position. The new position is intended to oversee all of Cornell’s risk-related units in efforts to maximize operational efficiencies, Garrett said in a University statement. In her new position, DeStefano will “continue oversight of Financial Affairs, the Investment Office and the Audit Office, and will share oversight with Provost Michael Kotlikoff of Information Technologies and Budget and Planning,” in keeping with her previous duties, according to the release. She will also take on oversight of Infrastructure, Properties and Planning, Risk Management and Insurance, Emergency Management/Business Continuity, Environmental Health and Safety and the Cornell University Police Department.

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Skorton Center for Health Initiatives Plans Bystander Video

The Skorton Center for Health Initiatives at Gannett Health Services plans to partner with Cornell Interactive Theater Ensemble to create a comprehensive bystander intervention video, hoping to empower Cornellians to intervene in cases of drug abuse, intimate partner violence, sexual assault and other potentially dangerous situations. The center expects to take about a year to produce the video, and hopes to present the final project next August, according to Health Initiatives Coordinator Laura Beth Santacrose ’11. The idea for the project was originally sparked by American University’s “Step Up” video, which shows students how to address a wide breadth of daunting situations, according to Santacrose. “For years, staff in our department have been exploring the idea of such an effort,” she said. “We have even worked with various communications and marketing classes at Cornell to explore ideas for implementation.”
Right now, the center is in the process of reaching out to community members to get input on what content would be most helpful.