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.

Letter to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Cornell’s ties to Saudi Arabia need scrutiny

To the editor:

The following letter was sent to Cornell President Martha Pollack on November 27, 2018:

Dear President Pollack:

We, the undersigned members of the Cornell community, urge you to examine Cornell’s ties with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. As the KSA’s human rights violations escalate, we cannot endorse any form of academic support and/or collaboration with the current regime. To do so is to support injustice and undermine the purpose and integrity of Cornell’s mission. We therefore urge you to discontinue Cornell’s institutional and financial collaboration with the KSA. We further ask that you disclose to the Cornell community all grants and gifts received from the KSA, in addition to programmatic collaboration such as academic exchanges.

Letter to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: re: ‘The TPUSA Debacle & Cornell’s Flirtations with the Far-Right’

To the editor: 

“Letter to the Editor: The TPUSA Debacle & Cornell’s Flirtations with the Far-Right” is unfounded and reeks of political ignorance.  The authors make multiple outlandish assertions, most notably is their classification of TPUSA as a fascist organization, despite our core principles advocating for small, limited government.  These two characterizations are mutually exclusive; any fascist government is, by definition, immense and intrusive upon its citizens’ everyday lives. TPUSA holds events specifically to promote minority leadership in the members’ respective colleges.  A large portion of TPUSA members belong to minority groups and a variety of religions.

Letter to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Professional Fraternity Council founded to connect organizations

Correction appended. 

To the editor:

Greek letter professional organizations have had an extensive history in the North American fraternity system. These organizations have a defined purpose to promote the interests of a particular profession or study. The first professional fraternity was Kappa Lambda Society at Transylvania University, a short-lived medical fraternity founded in 1819. This historical concept of bringing like-minded students towards a path of professional and personal development is something that is present on our campus as well. Professional fraternal organizations have an extensive history at Cornell University.

Letter to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: The TPUSA Debacle & Cornell’s Flirtations with the Far-Right

After more than a week of local confusion regarding Turning Point USA (TPUSA), this dark money-funded activist group cancelled an Ithaca-area event meant to feature far-right personalities Charlie Kirk and Candace Owens. We feel the need to clarify a few things about what has recently transpired. First, the university deemed TPUSA’s fascist provocaceutering “free speech,” legitimizing an alt-right event on campus that was solely cancelled for logistical and bureaucratic reasons. During initial negotiations, Cornell curiously identified no problem with TPUSA’s “Professor Watchlist,” an online McCarthyist blacklist that counts several Cornell faculty among its “dangerous ultra-liberal academics.”  When TPUSA relocated the event to an off-campus venue, Cornell allowed it to retain the name “Cornell Campus Clash” — insisting that no brand violations or reputational concerns were at stake in an alt-right provocation directly targeted at Cornell students. It washed its hands of any further responsibility for an event meant for its own students, displacing event security costs onto the City of Ithaca and its local taxpayer base.