Guest Room

GUEST ROOM | Want Cornell to Be the American College? Abolish Legacy Admissions

In his 1972 inauguration speech, former Cornell President Frank Rhodes noted that Cornell, blending the intellectual atmosphere of an Ivy League institution with the practicality of a public university, is a bit of a misfit. That is, it’s not quite intellectually absorbed to be considered among the likes of Harvard, Yale and Princeton, and not so accessible and pragmatic to be considered among public universities. Last Saturday, President Martha  Pollack embraced Cornell’s ambiguity, suggesting that those hunting the essentially American college will identify Cornell — and perhaps Harvard, Yale and Princeton. That would be true if Cornell’s commitment to the public good — exemplified by both its founding mission and land-grant status -— was not tarnished by an artifact of elitism: legacy admissions. To advocate so strongly our college’s public mission while consequently employing a practice that gives preference to those who were privileged to begin with is simply wrong.

Letter to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: ‘Re: GUEST ROOM | Cornellians Must Combat anti-Semitism’

To the Editor:

On Thursday, I read the article in the Daily Sun’s Guest Room section entitled “Cornellians Must Combat Anti-Semitism,” in which the author, Josh Eibelman ’20, underlined the need to fight anti-Semitism on campus. Though Eibelman is absolutely correct in that anti-Semitism remains an enormous problem both on campus and in America as a whole, he spends most of his piece not denouncing actual anti-Semitism, but instead attacking Cornell Students for Justice in Palestine. As an Ashkenazi Jew and a committed member of Cornell SJP, I thought it necessary to respond to Eibelman’s accusations from a Jewish, anti-Zionist perspective. Eibelman claims that SJP’s activity qualifies as antisemitic because it works to “delegitimize Israel — the only Jewish state in the world — as a ‘settler colonial’ and ‘apartheid’ state.” According to Eibelman, this stance is incontrovertibly antisemitic since “the State Department classifies ‘denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor’” as a form of anti-Semitism. I would hope that Eibelman realizes that the State Department of the United States of America, which has supported ethnic cleansing around the world and is by far the greatest backer of the State of Israel abroad, is not the final arbiter on what is and isn’t anti-Semitism.

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RUSSELL | An Improvement Opportunity that Could Really Move the Needle!

Perhaps no motif is more ingrained in our psyche than that of the mentor or father figure offering up powerful life lessons in low-voiced, soothing maxims. As the undisputed “next generation,” we’ve come to expect these teaching moments in not just our films or television shows, but also in most of our interactions with people over 40. It’s hard to go a week without the typical “As you move into the real world, remember…” or “There’s an old saying in Tennessee…”

For me, many of these conversations center around the idea that we have the opportunity to undo or at least avoid the mistakes of our parents — to get the best out of the world we’re inheriting as we shape it into something more fair and welcoming for all. There’s one aspect of this “real world” before us, however, that many in the baby boomer generation still don’t recognize as a problem for their successors to address. The area, in my view, is a source of untold anguish and ruin – a dark spot we must bleach before it further stains American society. To me, there’s no question: we must let die the mass abuse of those stupid cliché business terms.

If you’re not familiar, some examples of these banal utterances include saying “improvement opportunities” instead of “problems,” or, yes, even calling managers “people leaders” and the H.R. department “people operations” (et tu Google).

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LEUNG | On Carrying Pain

Sometimes I’m scared to write certain pieces, because if I do, I’ll fall into some downward spiral after shifting through my memories, and this article isn’t supposed to be my attempt to pull myself from some depth, but one that hopes to understand? Find hope? I don’t really know yet. I’ve been thinking about pain a lot. About how every individual carries their own burden and as much as we try to relieve the pain of others, there’s not always a way to.

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GUEST ROOM | Help Wanted: ILR’s Next Dean

On October 2, ILR Dean Kevin Hallock shocked the ILR community by sending out a mass e-mail announcing that he had sought and received an appointment as the Dean of the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, an apparent promotion over his position at the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. As Dean Hallock goes on to what he and Cornell’s senior administration believe to be bigger and better things, he leaves behind an ILR school at an important crossroads. Will the ILR school be reduced to a niche business school and a stepping stone for promising business leaders or will it fulfill its potential to be the world’s leading institution for the study of work, workers and employment? The ILR school was founded in 1945 during an era of massive change in the American labor market. Enabled by New Deal legislation and fueled by a wave of post-depression left-wing militancy workers across the United States were joining unions by the millions and organizing bold and confrontational strikes to demand a bigger share of the economic fruits of their labor.

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TRUSTEE VIEWPOINT | Continuing our Civic Engagement

This week, domestic Cornell students had the opportunity to participate in the Midterm Elections. The interest surrounding this year’s election cycle on campus was palpable. In the past few months, I’ve seen students organize voter registration drive after voter registration drive. Others spent time collating resources so that every eligible student would be able to easily find and travel to their polling place. My social media feed the day of was filled not only with students exercising their right to vote but also with post after post encouraging others to exercise their right as well.

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LAM | Stop Eating With Your Phones!

Unpopular opinion: I adore the food at Cornell Dining and still retain a meal plan with them as a senior. As a result, I’ve spent quite a bit of time at the various dining halls across campus and I’m noticing the increasing plethora of people on their phones while eating, usually alone. It seems to be a wider phenomenon. Even my dad does it too now at home — and recently I called him out for it.  “You’re using a phone after I took a five hour-long bus trip to see you?

Polling location at Alice Cook House on November 6th, 2018. (Boris Tsang / Sun Assistant Photography Editor)

CHANG | Platform Complacency Will Prove Fatal For Democrats In 2020

The 2018 Midterm was serious business. Cornell has been a roaring fire of political intensity for the last two weeks. Opinion columnists (I’m sure you can guess the specific ones) have been yelling all night. More of my friends voted than I thought possible, although some Cornellians — either disillusioned with the political process (fine, but a weak excuse) or simply disinterested (c’mon) — never filled out a ballot. Although we probably won’t get a true break from electioneering until after the 2020 race, I’ll be content with clearing my inbox of daily asks for campaign donations and “shockingly new analysis” from pollsters and Nate Silver himself.

Tracy Mitrano rally at Southside Community Center on October 29th, 2018. (Boris Tsang / Sun Assistant Photography Editor)

WU | How the Next ‘Extreme Ithaca Liberal’ Can Beat Tom Reed

Some cities are notable for towering skyscrapers, others for offbeat museums or bucolic beauty. But to Tom Reed (R-N.Y.), who represents New York’s 23rd congressional district (including Cornell), Ithaca represents little more than a bastion of lefty extremism. And likewise, Tracy Mitrano, who lost to Reed in yesterday’s midterm election, is little more than an Ithaca outgrowth. In expressing this view, Reed does not pull punches. Look no further than his own campaign ads.

Polling location at Alice Cook House on November 6th, 2018. (Boris Tsang / Sun Assistant Photography Editor)

JOHNS | In House Victory, Democrats Now Owe Us Policy Details and Consensus-Building

As Democrats celebrate taking control of the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time in a decade, they soon will confront a lesser understood political reality: Campaigning is much easier than governing. Having wrongly convinced some Americans that implementing a single payer healthcare system that has worked nowhere in the world and rolling back tax cuts that have sparked an economic renaissance will benefit them, they are now on the hook to work within a divided federal government to forge consensus and deliver results — or face almost certain political decimation by President Trump in 2020. There was no “blue wave” last evening. There was, instead, a message to the Trump administration that there remain many Americans still hurting in this nation even though every economic metric is pointing upward, including gross domestic product, employment, job creation and finally positive news in the third quarter this year that wages are inching upwards. The damage done to America’s poor and middle class by Obama administration policies cannot be underestimated.