Editorial

EDITORIAL: Trump Attacks Transgender Rights, and Cornell Can Fight Back

On Sunday, The New York Times reported that the Trump administration is planning on implementing a narrow definition of gender under Title IX — a move that would effectively erase legal protection and deny government recognition for transgender people. The proposed change, which undoes Obama-era guidances that affect the education, labor, justice, and health and human services departments, is unwarranted, callously cruel, destructive, and possibly illegal. As one of the most prominent institutions of higher education in America, Cornell must loudly object to these proposed changes. If they are implemented, Cornell must reiterate its support for and recognition of transgender members of our community, and New York State should take action to counteract the federal government’s mistake. We were heartened to see that Cornell, two days before the Times’ report, published a guide on “gender transition and affirmation in the workplace” for its employees and HR staff, and reiterated its commitment to “diversity and inclusion … beyond merely adhering to legal and institutional nondiscrimination policies that prohibit discrimination on the basis of … gender identity and expression.” Providing resources on items as fundamental as name and pronoun changes is a primary responsibility of any forward-looking organization, and we applaud Cornell for that.

Editorial

EDITORIAL: Clarifying Monday’s Editorial on Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard

On Monday, The Sun published an editorial titled “Stand with Harvard on Affirmative Action.” It concerned the ongoing lawsuit Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard, which went to trial in Boston this week. The editorial reaffirmed The Sun’s long-standing support for affirmative action and positive race consideration in the college admissions process. It also expressed our worry that the outcome of this case will be the end of affirmative action and positive race consideration in all college admissions processes nationwide. However, the editorial did not pay sufficient attention to the specific claims against Harvard included in the suit. The suit claims that Harvard systematically rated Asian-American applicants lower on “personal scores” — the least-defined of the five categories on which all applicants are scored.

Justice Sotomayor sits with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg '54.

EDITORIAL: Hurrah For A Sensible Sotomayor Setup

Cornell has decided to reverse course and will now record Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s Thursday talk in Bailey Hall, and we at The Sun could not be more pleased. This way, as the first snow of the winter descends upon Ithaca, Justice Sotomayor’s “fireside chat” will warm not just a few hundred undergraduates in Bailey Hall, but also the thousands of Cornellians who couldn’t secure a seat. It never quite made sense why the event would be neither livestreamed nor recorded. After all, the Supremes (including Sotomayor) give recorded speeches at universities all the time, and there is no apparent reason why this event should be different. Talk about a misguided attempt to make Cornell “unique.”

Truth be told, we are still puzzled by how we got into this whole situation.

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EDITORIAL: Stand With Harvard on Affirmative Action

Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard, a case that could decide the future of affirmative action in America, goes to trial today in Boston. The issue at hand is ostensibly Harvard’s alleged discrimination against Asian-Americans in their admissions process to the benefit of other minorities and white students, but the plaintiffs have made clear that their true intention in bringing suit is to eradicate all race-based consideration from college admissions nationwide. Though the case currently sits in front of U.S. District Court Judge Allison D. Burroughs, its outcome will likely be appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where newly installed Justice Brett Kavanaugh and a 5-4 conservative majority await. We strongly oppose this latest effort by conservative gadfly Edward Blum to force universities and colleges to ignore race when making decisions, and we stand with Harvard, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the ACLU, and institutions of higher education across the country, including Cornell. Blum, who has made a career challenging affirmative action rules, most recently sued the University of Texas on behalf of Abigail Fisher, a white student rejected from that school in 2008.

Early morning primary voters at the Brooklyn Museum in New York, Sept. 13, 2018. New York voters are heading to the polls on Thursday as an unusual season of primaries, marked by surprise victories and insurgent candidacies, moves to an end. (Demetrius Freeman/The New York Times)

EDITORIAL: Oct. 12 Is Your Last Chance to Register to Vote in NY, So Get It Done

This November, voters across the nation will head to the polls to choose their representatives in Congress, in governors’ mansions and in state houses. Tragically, dear reader, you probably won’t be one of them; after all, fewer than 20 percent of eligible Americans 18-29 cast a ballot in 2014. That makes our cohort the least likely of any age group to vote — that is, according to the statistics. Here’s what we say to that: fuck the statistics. Voting is the most important way in which you can engage in the political process.

Justice Sotomayor sits with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg '54.

EDITORIAL: Why The Supreme Court Should Let Cornell Live Stream Sotomayor

Cornell is a cold, isolated and unforgiving place. Located a five hour drive away from anywhere that’s anywhere, this university constantly finds ways to remind its students that they really are in the middle of nowhere. It is a shame, then, that when the outside world comes to Cornell, it does so in such an inaccessible manner. We speak, of course, of the upcoming “Fireside Chat with Justice Sonia Sotomayor,” which will be held on Thursday, October 18, in Bailey Hall. Unfortunately, this “must-see” event will likely be a “can’t-see” event for most Cornellians, as it will not be recorded or live-streamed.

Sage Hall is home to the SC Johnson Graduate School of Management, one of the three schools that are now part of the SC Johnson College of Business.

EDITORIAL: Kevin Hallock, The Right Choice for the College of Business

Habemus decanum! Kevin Hallock, the current dean of the ILR school, has been announced as the next dean of the SC Johnson College of Business. While we — along with what often seems like a vast majority of students, and indeed, faculty — are still slightly confused as to what the College of Business actually is, we see reason to be hopeful of Hallock’s appointment. The College of Business is comprised of three rather disparate elements — the Johnson Graduate School of Management, the hotel school and the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management — and much of the controversy surrounding the business college’s creation dealt with each constituent school’s frustration at being subsumed into an amorphous, indistinct body. That frustration is certainly merited; each individual school prides itself on its unique flavor of education and expertise, and it certainly would be a shame if those flavors were overpowered by the bureaucracy of an umbrella college.

McGraw Tower on March.7,2018 ( Michael Wenye Li/ Sun Photography Editor)

EDITORIAL: Cornell Forgot About McGraw Hall

In 2011, when the University indefinitely paused the much-needed reconstruction of the historic McGraw Hall, The Sun warned in a editorial called “Don’t Forget McGraw” that “projects without definitive timetables often linger and can be forgotten.” Seven years later, it is clear to see that is exactly what happened. Cornell forgot about McGraw Hall. What message does the administration send to Cornell’s humanities students, to its anthropologists and its historians, when instead of rebuilding McGraw’s collapsing walls, it simply installs “temporary” metal support frames on its exterior and calls it a day? Students attending class and office hours in McGraw enter literally under a dark cloud — the shadow of the protective scaffolding placed above the building’s main entrance to protective from falling chunks of roof. They ride an elevator with holes in it, and sit with their professors underneath ceilings with growing cracks, and quietly ponder just how much longer this jury-rigged setup can hold out.

Editorial

EDITORIAL: Three Pressing Questions on Prof. Wansink’s Resignation Cornell Needs to Answer

In a stunning reversal of Cornell’s own internal investigation conducted just last year, a faculty committee has found Prof. Brian Wansink guilty of “academic misconduct.” The professor, who has had 13 papers retracted over the past two years (six of them yesterday), will resign at the end of this school year. While we are glad that Cornell has finally taking the appropriate steps to reprimand Wansink and insulate the University and its students from the growing fallout, the brief statement on matter issued by Provost Michael Kotlikoff is entirely insufficient given the gravity of the situation. There are several questions the University must answer if they are to regain the trust of Cornellians and the broader academic community. Firstly, what is the cause of the discrepancy between yesterday’s finding, and the finding of the April 2017 internal investigation that determined Wansink had not committed “scientific misconduct”? If this result is emblematic of a flaw in Cornell’s initial review process, the University owes it to its students and faculty to address and correct such flaws.

Editorial

EDITORIAL: It’s Dumb That New York Is Holding Its Primary on a Thursday in September, But That Doesn’t Mean You Shouldn’t Vote

You know, sometimes it feels like New York’s election laws are written to decrease, rather than increase, the number of people who actually vote. Perhaps it has something to do with the state inexplicably holding two primary days: one in June for federal races, and one in September for state races (it’s not inexplicable, it’s so the good folks in Albany have more time to schmooze in the capital before they have to hit the campaign trail). Or maybe it’s the total lack of mail-in and no-excuse absentee voting and same-day registration. Or how dang difficult it is to change your party once you’ve registered. Oh, yes.