The American Health Care Act is a misguided piece of legislation that, if enacted, could result in the loss of health care for tens of millions, increased premiums for the elderly, reduced protections for those with pre-existing conditions (encompassing everything from asthma to pregnancy to cancer to prior sexual assault), and signal the return of lifetime limits and reductions in employer coverage. This is a bad bill for America, and a bad bill for New York’s 23rd Congressional District.
The past two years has seen an unmistakable rise in the level of vitriol in our nation’s political discourse. The election of a deeply unpopular president and the implementation of misguided policies have served only to acidify further the national political conversation. It doesn’t need to be that way on Cornell’s campus. Hopefully, it won’t be. Last week, Natalie Brown ’18 was elected president of the Cornell University College Democrats.
When The Sun published the AFAWG documents, it did so in the interest of transparency. As an independent news organization, it is incumbent on us to report issues and stories important to and affecting the Cornell and broader Ithaca community, such as the proposed changes to Cornell’s admissions policy. It is unfortunate that such discussions were taking place behind closed doors with such limited input from the Cornell student body — had the proceedings been more transparent, leaks would not have been necessary.
On March 27 and 28, Cornell graduate students will vote on the question of their potential unionization, the finale to a series of events prompted by an August 2016 NLRB ruling that graduate students can be considered workers with the right to unionize. This is a reversal of a 2004 ruling which stated that graduate students should have a “primarily educational, not economic, relationship with their university.”
The role of graduate students has become highly contentious; students argue they play an indispensable yet under-appreciated role in Cornell’s research initiatives and course curricula. Cornell Graduate Students United supports unionization as a means of increasing the benefits of all graduate students at Cornell through a collective bargaining unit. The potential union will aim to give graduate students a say over issues ranging from health insurance to stipends and wage increases, ultimately to improve students’ living and working conditions. Critics of the union point out potentially flawed voting procedures and the potential union’s ability to fairly represent grad students.
This coming Sunday evening, undergraduate students will have the opportunity to cast their ballots in the 2017 Student Assembly election. Although there are thirteen total positions, the Sun traditionally endorses only in the races of President and Executive Vice President. The candidates for president of the Student Assembly are Matthew Indimine ’18 and Jung Won Kim ’18. The candidates for executive vice president are Mayra Valadez ’18 and Varun Devatha ’19. In the race for president, we are proud to endorse Matthew Indimine ’18.
Over the past week, the editors of The Sun have conducted in-depth interviews with all five of the candidates for the office of undergraduate student-elected trustee. After much consideration, The Sun has decided to withhold our endorsement. We do not take this decision lightly, and we want to share with you why we have declined to endorse any of the five candidates. The student-elected trustee is a fully-vested member of the Board of Trustees; they must be comfortable working with, and arguing against when necessary, entrenched and powerful interests. A position of this gravity demands the most experience possible from those who would seek to occupy it.
Last Wednesday, two Indian software engineers, Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani, were shot at a bar in Olathe, Kan. Kuchibhotla was killed, while Madasani and Ian Grillot, a bar patron who attempted to confront the shooter, were both injured. According to witnesses, the alleged shooter, 51-year old Navy veteran Adam Purinton, had belligerently asked about the two engineers’ immigration statuses, told them to “get out of my country” and used racial slurs before being asked to leave the bar. He complied, but returned shortly thereafter with a firearm. Both Kuchibhotla and Madasani were here legally on H-1B visas, according to the Washington Post.
“‘The forgotten man and woman will be forgotten no longer.’ I’ll explain tonight, 7:30 pm, Cornell,” tweeted Michael Johns, co-founder of the Tea Party movement and conservative policy analyst. Johns was scheduled to give a public talk, hosted by the Cornell Political Union, at Anabel Taylor Hall at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday evening to discuss the merits of a Trump administration. However, on Monday, CPU turned the event private after speaking Cornell University Police Department about the intent of campus organizations and certain community members to protest the guest speaker. “I was told the Union could either pay $2000 in security fees to ensure the presence of CUPD officers at the event, cancel it altogether or make it private,” said Troy LeCaire ’17, co-founder of CPU. The public was kept in the dark as CPU refused to disclose further details about the event, which is open only to Union members and certain guests.
On Jan. 25, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights opened its sixth Title IX investigation into alleged mishandling of sexual assault investigations by Cornell, making it the university with the most active Title IX investigations. Under Title IX, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” At Cornell, that promise has come into question. The accounts of all parties involved in the recent Doe v. Roe case were unfairly evaluated under Policy 6.4, the University’s problematic policy for handling cases of sexual harassment. Cornell came under fire for instances of evident discrimination in this case.
On Friday, President Donald J. Trump issued an executive order banning Syrian citizens indefinitely and citizens of seven countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — from entering the United States for 90 days. This order includes citizens of those countries who had previously been granted refugee status and currently enjoy permanent legal status in the United States and citizens of allied nations such as Canada and the U.K. who happen to originate from one of the listed countries. As U.S. authorities began detaining an increasing number of people, protesters began to flood airports across the country. Beyond those directly affected, the order has serious ramifications for the entire country: family members separated from each other, such as an Iranian mother separated from her five-year-old son at Washington’s Dulles International Airport; tenured scientists hindered from continuing their work, such as computational biologist Samira Asgari, who was “very shocked that all [her] efforts, that all [she had] done, can be undone – just like that.” American universities have since advised their foreign students against making international travel plans and find the strength of their educational and research efforts at risk. Over 20 percent of Cornellians are international students, and many others participate in programs abroad.