EDITORIAL: Put the ‘Break’ Back in Breaks

A four-day mid-semester pause from classes would seem to offer ample time for students to recharge and focus on well-being and sleep. Nor is this an accident, as The Faculty Handbook Project makes clear: “Short breaks from academic requirements are intentionally included in the academic calendar to provide rest, respite and a break from schoolwork.” Cornell Health further emphasizes the need for rest, especially sleep, with an entire page dedicated to sleep-related health. It recommends students take 7-9 hours every night to get sleep — which, in its words, “is a necessity, not a luxury.”

But is that consistent with the messages our instructors are sending us? Take, for example, the all-too-common practice of professors assigning work during breaktime. When students get work over break, the obvious implication is that the assigned work should trump any need for a proper break.

EDITORIAL: How to Fix Cornell’s Least-Liked Organization

If you want to make a club treasurer flinch, you need only whisper the letters S-A-F-C. The Student Activities Funding Commission is the student-run organization that acts as a gatekeeper for over 500 Cornell clubs’ funding. And it is among the most bemoaned bureaucratic hoops on campus. Complaints range from nitpicky rule enforcement to perverse incentives. Some gripe that applying for SAFC funding involves far too many fine details — which, if done improperly, can give the SAFC a reason to pull funds.

EDITORIAL: Cornell Is Under Federal Investigation. It’s Been Here Before.

While summer pursuits were occupying many a Cornellian, a jarring story dropped back here on the Hill. In a July 3 letter to President Martha Pollack, the Department of Education suggested Cornell may have violated the Higher Education Act of 1965. The University’s alleged misdeed? A failure to duly disclose financial relationships with China and Qatar. Last March, after The Sun uncovered lucrative research arrangements between Cornell and the Chinese telecom firm Huawei, the University assured us there was nothing to worry about.

EDITORIAL: Good Riddance to the Event Security Fee

Cornell controversies come as fast as they go, usually earning barely a peep from the administration. So consider us astonished to hear the University has, at last, opted to effectively ditch the burdensome event security fee. The move is a win for free expression on campus and a remarkable bout of responsiveness from leadership that too often shrugs off community input. After first hinting at the changes in February, Cornell will now begin covering security costs for most events up to $8,000. In a campus-wide email, Vice President for Student and Campus Life Ryan Lombardi announced the changes, which also include transitioning away from OrgSync, Cornell’s clunky student organization management system.

EDITORIAL: A Messy but Acceptable End to the JT Baker Saga

What a terrible mess. This year’s student-elected trustee race saw Jaewon Sim ’21 take the prize, but only after the ugly disqualification of JT Baker ’21, who ran a campaign focused on student-athletes. The latest news is that Baker would’ve won were he not booted out for breaking an election rule. In light of that, the Committee on Board Composition and Governance opted to split the difference. The CBCG recommended Sim take the traditional student-elected trustee seat and Baker fill a vacant trustee seat.

EDITORIAL: When Tragedy Strikes, Pollack’s Statements Should Say More

In her latest email, President Martha Pollack sent a brief statement expressing she is “shocked and horrified” about the bombings in Sri Lanka. It is important that Pollack is sending out these emails and addressing the Cornell community as tragedy strikes. It shows her cognizance of different student experiences and expresses her sincere sentiments. But a mere 68 words is probably not enough. Pollack’s 68-word Sri Lanka statement has less than one word for every three people that died in those bombings.

EDITORIAL: Time to Divest From Fossil Fuels

The moral case for Cornell divesting from fossil fuels has long been clear. Simply put, the University should not hold equity in resource extraction firms that have sent the planet hurtling toward climate ruin. An overwhelming body of science tells us the fallout of human-caused climate change will come in the form of severe developing-world food insecurity, more frequent extreme weather events and worse economic growth. Projections indicate death, disease, dislocation and malnutrition will sharply rise, especially for the global poor. The cost in human misery will be enormous.

EDITORIAL: Putting the Trust Back in Trustee Elections

Just a few weeks ago, 10 candidates took to the campus quads, Willard Straight Hall and social media feeds to campaign for the undergraduate position of Student-Elected Trustee. We saw 39.9 percent of undergraduates — a 13 percentage point increase from last year — fill out the Qualtrics survey that also included slots for positions such as Student Assembly President and Executive Vice President. Elections closed on Wednesday, March 27 at 2 p.m.

The results rolled out: Joe Anderson ’20 as Student Assembly President, Cat Huang ’20 as Student Assembly Executive Vice President — and 13 days of radio silence from the Trustee Nominating Committee. For 13 days, the Nominating Committee has failed to report any results from the 2019 Trustee election. They have numbers and they have results, given that results for President and EVP were promptly released.