Task Force Outlines New Program for C.U. Bio Majors

The Task Force on the Undergraduate Biology Curriculum held an open forum yesterday to discuss proposed changes to the undergraduate biology program. If approved, the changes would completely overhaul the current system.
The changes will not affect current students, but rather incoming freshmen in the fall of 2009 at the earliest.
Task Force Chair Prof. Ronald Harris-Warrick, neurology and behavior, stressed that the report was a “working report” and encouraged students to give feedback, ask questions and make suggestions.

Course Evaluations Remain Inaccessible

At the end of each semester, course evaluations ask students to reflect on their courses, professors and workload. Fairly comprehensive, evaluations are a valuable resource to instructors — but who else should have access to them?
The debate is a divisive one, raising concerns about both faculty privacy and the availability of evaluations to Cornell students.
Currently, course instructors and department heads can access evaluations, as can students in the Hotel School and the College of Engineering. The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is in the process of reassessing its policy on the matter.

City Council Reps Balance Academic, Public Obligations

With Thanksgiving break just around the corner, it’s Big Red crunch time. Research papers, prelims and presentations loom, all the desks in Olin are taken, and students long for the sweet taste of homemade cranberry sauce.
Now imagine trying to do all that work in between classes, Common Council meetings and other Council-related engagements and correspondence.
Serving on the Council is a significant commitment, and hours can range anywhere from five to 50 hours depending on the week according to Gayraud Townsend ’05 (D-4th Ward).

Junior Shifts Focus in Bid for Common Council

Looking to improve the quality of life of students and permanent residents and to ease tensions between the two groups, a number of students have served on the Ithaca Common Council since Josh Glasstetter ’02 was elected in 2000.
Svante Myrick ’09 is currently running for a seat on the Council. Although elections are not until Tuesday, Myrick is running unopposed and will fill the seat of Rep. Gayraud Townsend ’05 (D-4th Ward), whose four-year term is up at the end of the year.
The Council is the governing body of Ithaca and works under the mayor, according to Myrick. It is a 10-person council that passes laws and resolutions, creates and manages the budget and oversees departments in the city.

Israeli Advisor Analyzes Conflict in Middle East

Arnon Perlman, chief spokesman and senior advisor to former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, addressed the conflicts facing the Middle East at an event sponsored by the Cornell Israel Public Affairs Committee yesterday. Specifically, Perlman discussed the pressing threats in the region, the state of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and what is needed to bring stability.
“We live in a rough neighborhood, and people around us want our destruction,” he said. “We have to be stronger than all our enemies put together.”
He identified four “real” threats to Israel — Syria, Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran.
According to Perlman, Iran poses the greatest threat.
He accused President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of attempting to secure nuclear weapons.

C.U. to Invest $20 Million in Ithaca

On Oct. 6, President David J. Skorton announced at a meeting with community leaders that Cornell will invest $20 million in the Ithaca and Tompkins County communities over the next ten years.
The money, which doubles the amount Cornell currently contributes locally, will be used to help create more affordable housing and alternative modes of transportation.

C.U. Accelerates West Campus Construction

If like many not-so-early-birds you’ve been snoozing through that 8:40 class, you probably should have dropped your class. Or lived on West Campus.
“It’s like a second alarm,” said Rachel Holloway ’10. “The construction starts at 8 a.m. every morning which is fine because it helps me get up. It’s really no inconvenience at all.”
Since construction on the West Campus Residential Initiative began in 2003, the “Class of” halls have all been demolished and three of the five new residential dorms — Cook, Becker and Bethe — now house students.
Construction on the remaining two houses was originally set to be completed in 2010, but is now scheduled for August 2008.

Gannett Focuses On Mental Health

Are you feeling down, depressed or hopeless? Feeling bad about yourself — or that you are a failure or have let yourself or your family down? Having thoughts that you would be better off dead, or hurting yourself in some way?
Probably not what your mom would have asked you when you fell off your bike. In an effort to identify people who may need help, any student who makes an appointment at Gannett is now screened for depression.
The tragic shooting at Virginia Tech, which left 32 students and faculty members and the shooter Seung Hui Cho dead, has brought counseling services to the forefront of health concerns at universities around the country, including Cornell.

Man Awakens After Six-Year Coma

After being severely beaten during a mugging in 1999, a man spent six years in a minimally conscious state, virtually unable to communicate with others and eating through a feeding tube. Now 38, that man is not only able respond to commands and feed himself, but has also regained some characteristics of his personal identity after having his brain stimulated by electric currents.
“His speech has improved, he is regaining aspects his personhood and he is beginning to regain aspects of his personality,” said Prof. Joseph Fins, medicine, who collaborated with several doctors on the study. “He can eat three meals a day by mouth, say short sentences and recite the first 16 words of the pledge of allegiance.”

Cornell to Replace CoursEnroll Next Term

“Any person… any study.”

The plethora of classes Cornell offers may hold true to Ezra Cornell’s founding vision, but enrolling in those classes is sometimes easier said than done. Even if students are able to pre-register for a class during CoursEnroll, they are not guaranteed enrollment.

According to David Yeh, vice president of student and academic services, “CoursEnroll as it is now is not one’s schedule. It is one’s preferences and requests.”

This may come as a surprise to students.