Letter to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Re: ‘Sheriff, District Attorney Weigh In on Legalizing Recreational Marijuana’

To the editor:

I was pleased to see the topic of marijuana legalization covered at the recent League of Women Voters of Tompkins County panel in your April 29 article. As a local physician who treats people diagnosed with substance use disorder, I strongly support legalization. Every day, I see how marijuana prohibition actively hurts the people I serve. I would like to offer a few clarifications on the panelists’ comments. First, it’s impossible to overdose on marijuana.

Letter to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR : Keeping Activism Close to Home

To the editor:

In Michael Johns ’20’s May 1 column, he suggests that Cornell’s “globalist activist community,” specifically the fossil fuel divestment and BDS-inspired movement, has taken a myopic viewpoint that leads them — or, us, members of Climate Justice Cornell, in this case — to lose sight of true global justice by focusing solely on the issues at hand on campus. There is a common notion that some organizers uphold: “Do the work where you’re at.” While we’re at Cornell, this means that we, the students, can address the issues we see in the way that this institution is run. Here at Cornell, we have the power to petition the University — through literal petitioning, letter writing, rallies and the like — and we may even receive some sort of response. While the chairman of the Board of Trustees or the president of the University may reply to our emails, it’s fair to say that a Cornell student group’s request for Chinese coal plants to be shut down would be swept aside. Furthermore, as people who are not direct stakeholders to China’s energy production, it’s not our place to make suggestions — not to mention the lack of expertise of a Cornell student group in the inner workings of the Chinese energy economy and grid.

Letter to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Trustee Chair Responds to Student Trustee Election

To the Editor:

In light of the controversy surrounding this year’s student trustee election, I feel that it is important for the campus community to understand a bit of history and context. Over 35 years ago, the University’s Board of Trustees, out of respect for the concept of “shared governance,” voted to create a Trustee Nominating Committee as the entity that would oversee the election of both student and employee representatives to the Board of Trustees. The TNC is not a committee of the Board of Trustees. It is comprised of campus community representatives, including the current student, faculty and employee-elected trustees as well as additional student representatives; and its authority was quite consciously delegated to this representative campus group and not retained by the Board or granted to the Cornell administration. The TNC is responsible for its decisions, and it has the ability to change its decisions.

Letter to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Re: ‘Governor Cuomo Kicks off Ithaca Airport Renovations to Send the Region Soaring’

To the editor:

Among Cornellians who have caught wind of the Tompkins County Airport expansion project, support for the initiative seems strong. If followed through with, local air travel will no longer look the same. Yes, Cornell students applying for high-salary jobs in cities ranging from Toronto to London will be able to more easily travel to interviews. Sure, President Pollack’s non-public roster of endless global expeditions will occur with greater ease. But those truly paying attention realize that these perceived benefits to our Ivy League institution will come at a deep expense to the larger community — one that’s already immeasurably burdened by our wealthy school’s shockingly low local tax contributions.

Letter to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Re: ‘Committee Delays Announcement of 2019 Convocation Speaker’

To the Editor:

We, the Class of 2019 Convocation Committee, are saddened to write an article of this nature, but we must address the factual inaccuracy, journalistic harassment and derisive spirit The Sun has exhibited in the past 24 hours. The Sun is acting in opposition to the Class of 2019 Convocation Committee, whose mission is to provide a unifying and celebratory Convocation Ceremony for the entire campus community. The Sun shared potentially confidential information without any regard for the legal or community-wide consequences after bombarding Convocation Committee members with messages and calls. The Sun demonstrated a refusal to respect the work of their peers and University administration despite explicit requests to collaborate on any Convocation-related communication. First and foremost, releasing potentially confidential information could jeopardize our contracting process with the outside speaker and takes away from the celebratory nature of the speaker reveal.

Letter to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Re: ‘A Jewish Case for Divestment’

To the Editor:

In a March 25 guest column, “A Jewish Case for Divestment,” four students argue for divestment from Israel. The authors attempt to revise history with false claims about Israel and the Jewish people. They write, “To pretend as though European Jews, without a state, were helpless in the face of Nazi genocide is to erase the sacrifices of countless Jews who fought and died in the Soviet and Polish armies, in antifascist partisan detachments and in ghetto uprisings.”

This statement is not only false — it is extremely offensive. Valiant as they were, the efforts of the partisans were not enough to save the Jews of Europe. Despite the brave souls who fought until the end, six million Jews were still murdered by the Nazi killing machine.

Letter to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Re: ‘A Jewish Case for Divestment’

To the Editor:

I read the March 25 guest column in The Sun, “A Jewish Case for Divestment.” I graduated from Cornell in 1971, and I remember a course I took in the Arts School on public opinion. It is probably relevant to this discussion because all of us have beliefs based on what we read, see and hear. I remember my dad reading about the 1956 Arab-Israeli war and crying, “They’re killing more Jews again.” Being seven at the time, I had no idea what he was talking about, but it seemed frightening to me since I knew I was Jewish and had no idea if I was in danger. Later in life, I learned he was stabbed by a Nazi who was trying to kill him, and that the Nazis murdered his uncle, aunt and their 18-year-old daughter. I have read a lot about Israel, pre-Israel Palestine and the various attempts to attack the Jews.

Letter to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Re: ‘What’s in Your DNA?’

To the Editor:

While the prospect of a “free” 23andMe DNA test might help to draw students to the biology department’s “Personal Genomics and Medicine” course, The Sun’s coverage of this attraction raises far more questions than answers. The March 25 article states that the course aims to “demystify genetics and genetic science.” I’d argue that currently available genetic tests like 23andMe actually do the opposite. Instead of simply revealing a genetic blueprint to the user, direct-to-consumer genetic tests are riddled with social, political and ethical questions, turning the results into more than objective “data.”

The article briefly raises the question of privacy, but this is not enough. How are these technologies regulated? Who owns the data, and what can they do with it?

Letter to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Re: ‘One Nation Under God’

To the Editor:

When I read Michael Johns, Jr.’s column, I was both hurt and disappointed. Hurt by the implication that I — as an atheist — lack a proper moral framework, and disappointed that in the 21st century there are still those who cling to the belief that organized religion is a necessity for people to have morals. I do not feel a need, as an atheist, to attack the moral foundations of others, and I am quite confident in my morals and what I choose to believe. I do not feel a need to become religious, and yet some will continue to insist that I am, somehow, lost. In the words of Kurt Vonnegut ’44, “I am a humanist, which means, in part, that I have tried to behave decently without any expectation of rewards or punishments after I’m dead.” I may not hold the fear of God in my heart, but I am perfectly capable as a human of formulating and understanding my own morals.

Letter to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Cornell Must Divest From Fossil Fuels

To the editor:

Fossil fuel divestment should be of interest to those of us in the Cornell community who would like to see our endowment improve its performance and wonder if a fossil-free portfolio could help the University accomplish this. Comparative analyses by Morgan Stanley Capital Investment since 2014 (retroactively to 2010) shows fossil-free funds yield 0.65 percent higher returns per year than funds including fossil fuel equities. The fossil-free funds returned 12.56 percent per year from 2014 to 2018. Compare this to Cornell’s endowment return of 7.8 percent. A 4.76 percent increase in yield over the past five years would have resulted in over $1 billion of increased assets for Cornell.