LETTER TO THE EDITOR: RE: ‘Cornell’s ‘Zero-COVID’ Strategy Was Bound to Fail’

To the Editor:

December 2021 officially marks two years since the initial known outbreak of SARS-CoV-2. Since then we have grown together through the pitfalls of novel viruses and their corresponding epidemiological impacts. But with the rise and fall of new variants, symptoms, illnesses and deaths, one thing is clear: we still have much to learn. 

Just as Cornell was reaching the tail end of the semester, a surge of cases erupted on campus, making national headlines, and led to a shutdown of all in-person activities. Many students responded diligently and in compliance with the mandate. While compliance with the COVID-19 mandates was outlined in the University’s behavioral compact, some students, including Matthew Samilow, expressed their fervent disapproval towards Cornell’s policies.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Cornell Football Program

It’s time to make a change in the Cornell University Football Team’s leadership.   David Archer has had more time than any football coach in the long 100+ year history of Cornell University football to produce, at the very least, a winning record with the team.  He has failed to accomplish this in 8 seasons, despite leading the program for a total of 9 years.  Instead he has only a meager 21 wins over 8 playing seasons, averaging less than 3 wins a year!  A near decade of losing has to end, and Archer must be held accountable for his record,  just as any other coach would in another sport.  Cornell has attained great success in other sports like hockey and lacrosse.  There’s no reason not to demand that same level of success in football.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Cornell Health Needs a Gynecologist

We are 136 current and former Cornell students.  We include members of the Pelvic Pain Association of Cornell, Disability+, Graduate Women in Science, QGrads, Women’s Health Initiative, Planned Parenthood Generation Action at Cornell, [email protected], Women’s Law Coalition, and the Women of Color Collective, among others.  We include students who suffer from pelvic pain and allies of people with pelvic pain.  We are writing this letter to urge Cornell to provide funding for Cornell Health to hire an MD gynecologist. Specifically, we need a gynecologist with experience diagnosing and treating chronic vulvovaginal and pelvic pain conditions such as vulvodynia, endometriosis, PCOS, and pelvic floor dysfunction. 

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: RE: Football Loses Early Lead, Suffers Loss in Season Finale to Columbia and Ties for Last-Place Ivy League Finish

I am astounded by the kid-gloves coverage by the Sun of the Cornell football program.  In Cornell’s nearly 70 years in the Ivy League, the University  has somehow managed to share the title a total of only 3 times, and has never outright won the league.  

Head Coach David Archer’s record is 21-59.  Cornell should not countenance that kind of failure in anything it does, especially in football where it invests considerable resources, including many precious admissions spots.  We have recruited the last six University Presidents from Big-10 and Pac-12 schools, where records of 59-21 get coaches fired, yet they come here and support  a non-competitive football program.  

Week after week, year after year, decade after decade Cornell football is an embarrassment.  There is no accountability in the athletic department at any level.  The Sun’s coverage perpetuates this by failing to ask Coach Archer hard questions about the repeated failures of his teams, to question whether he should continue to retain his job and to ask the same of the athletic director. Andrew Wong ’89

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: RE: ‘Cornell Doubles-Down Commitment to Sustainability Measures Despite Pandemic’

It is encouraging to see Cornell’s ongoing, significant commitments to sustainability, as detailed in “Cornell Doubles-Down Commitment to Sustainability Measures Despite Pandemic.”  While the Cornell Climate Action Plan is admirable, larger scale, statewide initiatives are obviously needed, and change will not be delivered from experts alone. As New York residents, Cornell students must fight for an equitable energy transition. Why is this important? Climate change kills over 150,000 people per year, according to the WHO, while air pollution kills 6.5 million annually, as estimated by IEA. This annual death toll already exceeds the most deadly genocides of the twentieth century.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: RE: “School Spirit Must Be Sacrificed for Public Safety”

To the Editor:

The title of the article, “School Spirit Must Be Sacrificed for Public Safety” makes one major assumption about athletics at Cornell. Athletics do not equate to school spirit, in fact they represent much more than what spectators, fans and otherwise non-participatory parties see on the outside. 

Speaking on behalf of fellow athletes, most of us have worked hard our entire lives for an opportunity to put our abilities to the test at the highest levels of performance. Our personal journeys in athletics should not be reduced to something that is enjoyed primarily as entertainment. With the cancellation of spring competition, the Ivy League has played with the heartstrings of

athletes across the country. We do not need to hear from people, mainly non-athletes and professors, constantly chiming in on the conversation about what athletes should think about having our seasons canceled.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: RE: “Where Do the ‘Florida Morons’ Go for Their Apology”

To the Editor:

As a Floridian who spent last semester at home due to Florida’s placement on a COVID-19 travel advisory, I feel compelled to respond to Matthew Samilow’s column, “Where do the Florida Morons Go For Their Apology?” 

Part of Samilow’s defense of Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-F.L.) asserts that he’s a victim of unfair (liberal) media. Media criticism and scrutiny of DeSantis is dismissed as “hysterical”, while Samilow ignores why DeSantis’s handling of the pandemic is so unpopular in Florida. During the pandemic, DeSantis has argued against science itself by listening to the anti-mask advice of the infamous conspiracy theorist Dr. Scott Atlas more than epidemiologists. He modeled poor leadership by appearing at public events like the Super Bowl without a mask. DeSantis’s crusade against science extended to basic arithmetic, when he argued in July that Florida’s positive case count had stabilized –– it hadn’t.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Cornell, Honor Your Commencement Promise

Cornell University promised it’s Class of 2020 an in-person commencement ceremony when the pandemic comes under control. Now the University is walking back that promise in favor of an in-person “alumni event” when it becomes possible. Matthew Ferraro ’20 argues Cornell should hold true to its promise for a proper commencement.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: RE: ‘In 2017, Pres. Pollack Responded to Racist Incidents on Cornell’s Campus With a Task Force. Did It Change Campus Climate?’

We, as former members of the Presidential Task Force on Campus Climate, write this statement with pained hearts as horrifying events unfold at our alma mater, and not for the first time. In the fall semester of 2017, several hate crimes took place on and off campus, prompting us to improve campus climate. We did not expect to be here three years since those events. President Martha Pollack appointed members of the Task Force to identify goals, strategies and values that would lend the university guideposts for how to respond ethically and effectively the next time racism would rear its ugly head. 

The administration has avoided taking direct actions in response to the “Racist, Misogynistic Harassment Strikes Cornell S.A. Members After Disarmament Resolution,” and this has dashed the last of any lingering hopes we had. We want to remind the Cornell administration that our work was not performative, perfunctory or superficial.