The Cornell Coalition for Inclusive Democracy condemns in the strongest terms the leaked Department of Health and Human Services memo that seeks to redefine sex in federal law as “a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth.” This definition would deny transgender people protection under federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. The proposal would limit equal access to healthcare, housing, education and fair treatment under the law. It would functionally deny many trans people documentation of their identity, citizenship and immigration status, and the ability to travel freely. For others, it would force them to choose between the life-threatening dangers of the closet and living in a state of constant exposure and vulnerability. The proposal sends a chilling message that the government refuses to recognize the existence and identity of transgender people.
Your lack of coverage of the women’s ice hockey team is disgraceful. This is a nationally-ranked team packed with talent that continues a long tradition at Cornell. That talent, past and current, has found itself on the rosters of Canadian and U.S. National teams, and the coach currently doubles as a coach for Team Canada. At the very least, this group of women deserves the full support of the Cornell community. Michael A. Smith ’69
On Tuesday, November 6, I will be casting my vote for Tracy Mitrano to represent the people of New York State’s 23rd district. I support Tracy for her position on many of the bread and butter issues that we face — a basic level of healthcare for all families, strengthening our public schools, protecting our precious environment and ensuring a living wage for all working people. These are all areas currently under attack by a Congress dominated by Republican lawmakers like Tracy’s opponent, Tom Reed. His voting record speaks for itself. Another important reason for my strong support of Tracy Mitrano is her emphasis on the importance of protecting our nation from cyber threats.
I am a fervent supporter of Amanda Kirchgessner’s campaign for NYS Senate. My biggest reason, until recently, was her strong support for the NY Health Act, which would provide a Medicare-For-All type system for all New Yorkers. Her opponent Tom O’Mara opposes the bill. Electing Amanda would be a big step toward getting the bill passed. As her campaign has progressed, something else has also become clear.
For protection of the environment, vote for Mitrano in the New York 23rd District. As the next generation, nothing will be more important to you all than a clean, livable environment. President Trump has withdrawn the USA from the Paris climate change agreement and promotes fossil fuels, exacerbating atmospheric CO2 levels, essentially saying, contrary to the overwhelming majority of scientists and our recent hurricane experiences, that global warming doesn’t exist. Trump has repealed regulations on powerplant emissions, and regulations protecting streams, river and lakes, and thus our water supply. Local congressional representative Tom Reed has voted with Trump 97 percent of the time.
I read with great interest Matthew Lam’s Oct. 10 column, which called for more practical environmental science courses at Cornell. I wholeheartedly agree: in order to address the many looming sustainability challenges around the globe, we need to support a new generation of thought leaders who can tackle these problems head on. That’s why, this fall, the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future is launching a leadership training and development program for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers that we hope will eventually expand to include undergraduates. This training program will help Cornell students and postdocs leverage the knowledge they gain on campus so they can develop real-world solutions to environmental issues like climate change, food security, energy transitions and achieving planetary health.
I am writing to whole-heartedly encourage you and your readers to vote for Tracy Mitrano, who is running to represent New York’s 23rd District in the United States House of Representatives. I have known Tracy for 25 years, and I can strongly attest that she is a morally upstanding, intelligent, and caring person who will bring opportunity to the Southern Tier. Tracy is from the working class in Upstate New York — her parents, who never went to college, ran an Italian restaurant in Rochester — and she has bettered herself through hard work and education. Tracy is Irish and Italian and you can bet she is a tough fighter. As a mother of two sons and a guardian of her adult brother, who has special needs, she knows how to advocate for others to make their lives better.
In last Monday’s editorial “Stand with Harvard on Affirmative Action,” The Sun’s editorial board stands firmly with Harvard University on the case SFFA v. Harvard. The Sun admits that the issue at hand is “ostensibly” about “Harvard’s alleged discrimination against Asian-Americans in their admissions process to the benefit of other minorities and white students.”
For this the Sun was “half-right.”
In their later, hastily added clarification for their Monday editorial, The Sun admits that they did “not pay sufficient attention to the specific claims against Harvard,” specifically on the claim that Harvard had used the system of “personal score”, a series of vaguely defined assessment rating students on their “likability, courage, kindness and being ‘widely respected’” to limit Asian admission. For this the Sun was poignant. Its Monday editorial is that of the typical argument of the “motivation.” By the editorial’s logic, anyone arguing against Harvard argues against affirmative action as a practice simply because Ed Blum and SFFA, the people behind the lawsuit, have the questionable intent of exploiting this case to dismantle affirmative action. By essentially asserting that the plaintiffs’ motivations render illegitimate the issues the lawsuit raises, the editorial suggests that the “ostensible” core of the case, the Harvard administration’s alleged long-running practice of allowing “anti-Asian bias” to affect their admission process, is worth ignoring.
It’s time for a change! This year we have the opportunity to elect Derek Osborne as the next Sheriff of Tompkins County. He is totally qualified, including graduating from the FBI academy training! He has been promoted through the ranks of the Sheriff’s Office, including a promotion to Undersheriff by the current Sheriff, and he knows this community well. Now more than ever we need a well-trained person with integrity and leadership to effectively manage and administrate the Office of Sheriff without overspending the budget like the current Sheriff.
This summer, the well-renowned and much-loved water treatment course CEE 4540 was deliberately dismantled by the CEE Curriculum Committee and quietly replaced with a hastily assembled, entirely redefined course under the same number. For the last three months, our ad-hoc team of CEE 4540 supporters (155+ students, alumni and staff) has been questioning this decision. The Curriculum Committee has repeatedly dismissed and scolded us. It appears that the University approaches curriculum from a “parent knows best” mindset. At no point during curriculum review were students or alumni asked for direct input.