Letter to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: On Human Rights

Not a day passes without Israel escalating its assault on the Palestinian people. The 2018 Nation State Law has drawn mass outrage from Palestinians and ethno-religious minorities such as the Druze and Coptic Christians and Israeli Jews. Despite the law’s virtual confirmation of Israel as a racialized apartheid state, the United States has been steadfast in their support for the occupying regime. Since Israel’s origin, the state has dispossessed countless Palestinians through violent means, starting with the 1948 al-Nakba (“The Catastrophe”) in which nearly a million indigenous Palestinians were forcibly expelled from their homes or otherwise murdered by Zionist militias. The U.S. shares a common history with Israel as a fellow settler-colonial project rooted in genocide, making the countries’ current close relationship unsurprising.

Letter to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Re: ‘The Elephant in the Room: A Legacy of Discrimination’

To the editor:

Reading DeMassa and Delgado’s Feb. 18 column, I find myself perplexed, unnerved and disappointed by the authors’ deranged characterization of last week’s trustee debacle as “representative of larger prejudice at Cornell.”

To be sure, Paul Blanchard’s verbiage was tasteless. Perhaps even insensitive. But symptomatic of prejudice? Hardly.

Letter to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: A Response to a Response

To the editor:

Last week, Isaac Schorr ’20 wrote a pretty divisive letter to the editor concerning the Class Council gala fundraiser for Planned Parenthood. In the space below I’m going to discuss both Isaac’s letter and the campus response it received. Saying that Planned Parenthood is a divisive organization isn’t a novel claim. Nor is the claim that the Class Councils, who purport to represent the interests of their corresponding classes, shouldn’t plan events fundraising for divisive organizations. I can only imagine what would’ve happened if the gala were raising money for the NRA …

Letter to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: An Invitation to President Pollack on Qatar

To the Editor:

As student labor organizers involved with Cornell’s United Students Against Sweatshops chapter, we heartily welcomed The Sun’s Feb. 5 editorial on the decades-old discussion surrounding Cornell’s operation of a medical campus outside the capital city of Qatar. We hope to further contextualize the longstanding fight to secure a third-party investigation into working conditions at Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar, with an eye towards future concerted action. To do so, we must first touch on relevant aspects of this campus’s rich history of student-driven labor organizing. At the turn of the millennium, the prolific USAS network mobilized to counter the influence of a Clinton-made organization, the Fair Labor Association, whose corporate ties clearly compromised its ability to independently monitor sweatshop conditions.

Letter to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Re: ‘Class Council to Host Valentine’s Day Gala for Planned Parenthood’

To the editor:

A little over a month ago, Dr. Leana Wen, President of Planned Parenthood, confirmed what the American pro-life movement has recognized for years when she tweeted: “First, our core mission is providing, protecting, and expanding access to abortion and reproductive health care.” In the words of its own leader, Planned Parenthood is an organization that believes its primary purpose is to push for more abortion, full stop. This admission renders the decision made by the Class Councils of 2021 and 2022 to fundraise for Planned Parenthood at their Valentine’s Day Gala completely inappropriate and extraordinarily insensitive. Although the majority of Cornellians may favor abortion rights to one extent or another, there exists a great many of us who believe that the result of the procedure is the ending of a distinct human life deserving of dignity like any other. Despite my own strong feelings on the matter, I understand that in a diverse community such as ours, disagreement on this issue is inevitable. What I fail to understand, and what I object to, is the Class Councils’ reckless decision to spend money collected from each and every undergraduate via the Student Activity Fee on a fundraiser for such a deeply divisive organization — an organization that performed 332,757 abortions in 2018 alone.

Letter to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Undergrads: In support of grad student union’s mental health petition

To the editor:

As undergraduate students, we would like to provide University leadership with an undergraduate perspective on Cornell Graduate Students United’s recently delivered mental health petition. Foremost, we want to reiterate the crucial role that graduate student-workers play in the lives of undergrads. Graduate students are our mentors, our instructors and our friends. They oftentimes fill tasks left by overloaded professors — meeting with us one-on-one to guide us not only through our coursework, but through our larger academic and professional trajectories. Cornell does not work unless its graduate student-workers do, and the undergraduate experience would be a shell of itself without them.

Letter to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Re: ‘SONG | A Relationship Isn’t the Answer to Happiness’

While the article focuses on shattering ideals of a relationship effectively, it appalls me that there is a specific mentioning of the author’s suicidal ideations with no further comment from either the editor or the author herself. At a time when mental health issues are so rife with complications on campus, the blasé mention of a serious suicidal thought is not one of transparency and a call for solidarity. Rather, it is an indication of just how far our campus narrative needs to shift towards not only communication and openness, but also of acknowledging that this culture of mental health issues must move in a supportive and serious context. Suicidal ideation is a serious concern, and when someone admits to such experiences to a wide audience with no acknowledgement that this sort of behavior is not healthy and that some form of action is being taken to ensure her safety, it is also a cause of concern for the author’s personal experiences as well. While I in no way am condemning the act of sharing one’s personal experiences with mental health, one must talk about and publish stories on this crucial issue with more context so as to not breed normalcy — “The impact of the media on suicidal behavior seems to be most likely when a method of suicide is specified — especially when presented in detail — when the story is reported or portrayed dramatically and prominently”, according to the Centre for Suicide Research at Oxford.

Pg-1-Fire-Feature

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Cornell must do more to remember Res Club Fire

Members of our classes should remember the “Res Club Fire” that occurred in the early morning hours of April 5, 1967 in the Cornell Heights Residential Club (now Ecology House) and took the lives of nine Cornellians, including five senior and graduate women living on the second floor, nine students who were members of the first class of the experimental six-year Ph.D. program (“Phuds”) and John Finch, a professor of English who lived there as an advisor. Mr. Finch had indeed escaped the building, only to return to assist others and be overcome by the toxic smoke that was responsible for all the deaths. The fire, which included two subsequent fires at locations where Phud survivors were living (Watermargin Cooperative and an apartment in Collegetown), and an investigation that never identified the perpetrator of what was apparently arson were reviewed in a long New York Times article by N. R. Kleinfield on April 13, 2018. Partially motivated by this article, 13 survivors of the fire from the classes of 1967, 1969 and 1970, along with three relatives of one of the deceased students, met with Cornell President Martha Pollack and several members of her staff on Aug. 6, 2018 in Ithaca.

Letter to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Re: ‘Tompkins County Workers’ Center Diverts Roughly $20,000 to Support Office of Human Rights Caseload’

To the editor: 
As a Cornellian who holds a leadership position within the Tompkins County Workers’ Center, I was heartened to see The Sun publish a detailed report on evolving challenges facing local human rights enforcement. The situation in question is a deeply serious one that has profound implications for the larger Ithaca community, and Cornellians ought to respond accordingly. As reported by the Sun, changes made to the Tompkins County Office of Human Rights have left a massive hole in Ithaca-area rights enforcement — one ultimately filled by Workers’ Center staff and volunteers. According to our Office Manager Rob Brown, extra caseloads stemming from OHR’s dilution has cost us an unanticipated sum of roughly $20,000 since April 2018. While the Workers’ Center has proudly intervened to take on displaced OHR caseloads, we must be public and transparent about our organization’s limitations.

Letter to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: ICUCME Re: ‘Dangers of Cornell Students Leading Islamophobic Panels’

To the editor:

On Dec. 3, the Sun published a column by Nima Homami grad attacking our organization, the Ithaca Coalition for Unity and Cooperation in the Middle East. We are a grass-roots anti-racist community organization working to preserve the plurality and diversity of discussions about the Middle East and other related topics, advocating for peace and security for all. Our group is non-partisan and embraces fact-based, respectful dialogue, mutual recognition and cooperation to promote justice. We have held numerous events on tolerance, including an event on Islamophobia in collaboration with Ithaca’s Islamic Community Outreach Services, as well as discussions on the diversity of communities in the Middle East and “Cleaning the Hate” events where volunteers join together to clean up litter from public spaces.