Cornell Alumni Writers Inspire Students

Three well-respected alumni authors drove students to delay the start of their weekend on Friday afternoon and gather for a panel discussion in Kauffman Auditorium.
Junot Díaz MFA ’95, Julie Schumacher MFA ’86 and Melissa Bank MFA ’88, three published writers and three graduates of Cornell’s MFA program, offered curious listeners and hopeful writers a look into the world of 21st century fiction writing. At the afternoon panel, they fielded questions from the audience, lending advice to eager minds. Later that evening, they held a reading in Rockefeller Hall, sharing their works before a standing-room-only audience.

Engineering School Eliminates Career Fair

On Monday, rather than teeming with the buzz of networking engineers trying to make contacts and good impressions for recruiters and potential employers, Barton Hall was void of any unusual activity.
This year’s Engineering Career Fair that was scheduled to take place on Monday was cancelled in December.
“Planning hadn’t proceeded to a point where we all felt comfortable that we could put on an event that would represent the quality and excellence of our students and the college,” Assistant Dean for Student Services Betsy East said, explaining the College of Engineering’s decision to cancel the event.

ILR Joins Project to Help Disabled People Find Employment

The School of Industrial and Labor Relations’ Employment and Disability Institute is collaborating on the project “New York Makes Work Pay,” which plans to make finding employment easier for disabled people. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services is sponsoring the initiative. Collaborators with the EDI include New York State Most Integrated Settings Coordinating Council’s Employment Committee, the New York State Office of Mental Health and Syracuse University’s Burton Blatt Institute, according to the Cornell Chronicle.

S.A. Halts Creation Of Student Groups

The Student Assembly passed Resolution 21 yesterday by a 12 to 6 margin, calling for a temporary moratorium on the formation of new student groups. It will take effect next Wednesday and terminate on June 1, 2009.
In addition to the moratorium, Resolution 21 also created the Registered Student Organization Auditing Task Force. The task force will examine and create solutions to a number of issues currently associated with the vast number of student groups on campus, as well as issues with the registration and funding processes.
The resolution was sponsored by S.A. President Ryan Lavin ’09, Vice President for Finance Gregory Mezey ’09 and Vice President for Internal Operations Anthony Miller ’10.

Jay Walker ’77 Named Entrepreneur of the Year

Jay Walker ’77 has been given another title to go along with the many others he has earned throughout his career since graduating from the College of Industrial and Labor Relations. Walker was named the 2009 Cornell Entrepreneur of the Year. He will give an address on campus on April 16 during the [email protected] Celebration, according to the University.
In addition to recognizing entrepreneurial success, the title of Cornell Entrepreneur of the Year goes to the individual who best illustrates a dedication to community service and high ethical standards.

Fuchs Assembles Committee To Find New Dean of Engineering

On Jan. 1, Kent Fuchs replaced Biddy Martin as Cornell’s provost after serving as dean of the College of Engineering. Chris Ober, who was the associate dean of research and graduate studies, took over as interim dean for the engineering college when Fuchs vacated the position.
Fuchs has assembled the Engineering Dean Search Committee, which is comprised mostly of engineering faculty. Vice Provost John Siliciano is acting as committee chair. Other faculty serving on the committee include Director of Institutional Research and Planning Michael Matier, who is serving as search manager, and Director of Human Resources for the College of Engineering Julie Delay, who is helping staff the search.

Restaurants Violate Labor Laws

Taste of Thai and Tamarind, two Ithaca restaurants owned by Ariya Pancharoen, were found to have violated numerous labor laws following an investigation conducted by the New York State Labor Department, according to a press release issued by the Department of Labor yesterday.
The DOL, working in conjunction with the Tompkins’ County Workers’ Center, discovered that 36 workers were affected by these violations and were cumulatively underpaid $28, 388.
In addition to being fined for these violations, Pancharoen has agreed to pay each of the workers in three monthly payments. The Taste of Thai workers received their first payments on Nov. 15, 2008, and the Tamarind workers collected theirs on Jan. 15, 2009.

C.U. Sees Endowment Decline by 27 Percent

While Cornell was able to largely avoid the Bernard Madoff ponzi scheme that cost other universities millions of dollars in losses, Cornell’s finances were not invulnerable to the economic meltdown that has gripped the country. According to The Cornell Alumni Magazine, Cornell’s endowment, which was valued at $6.1 billion on June 30, 2008, fell 27 percent during the second half of 2008.
Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Stephen Golding in an interview on CNBC, considered the current economic status “the perfect financial storm.” He explained the complexities and the uniqueness of the current situation by adding, “This is a much broader problem with many more components at one time than what many of us have historically seen.”

State Cuts Force Colleges to Adapt

New York governor David Paterson (D-N.Y.) has imposed a mid-year budget cut that decreased the state funding to Cornell’s four statutory colleges (Human Ecology, Veterinary Medicine, Agriculture and Life Sciences and the Industrial and Labor Relations) from over $159 to $153 million, according to Ron Seeber, vice provost for land grant affairs. This decrease represents a loss of between 6 and 7 percent of their previous state funding for each of the four colleges.
While the $6 million worth of cuts have already been enacted, a further $2.5 million cut is currently being debated for the 09-10 year, and it will not be voted on by the legislature until the budget is approved at the end of March or early April.