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LUTWAK | Final Course: Just Desserts

The first time I appeared in The Sun, I was barely a year old. A photo of me bouncing in a highchair next to my dad lay under the title “Sloppy Supper” with a caption that read, “A sweetly messy toddler chows down at the Chariot recently.” This was on page eight, the page that, two decades later, I would spend hours piecing together each week down at the Sun office. I started as a news writer. I still clearly remember running out of Balch Hall to get to my first interview on time, wearing an outfit that I thought made me look more intelligent than I actually felt. It was a story about the Big Red Barn that got buried away in the back of the paper, but I didn’t care, because my name was on the byline and I felt like I was part of something important. I began as a news writer and ended as the Dining editor.

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POLLACK | The Lion in the Path

I’ve long feared this moment — not the one where I don a cap and gown, cross a stage or two, pick up a piece of paper and enter the rat race after twenty-one years of nurture. No, the moment I’ve feared most is having to convince the Cornell Daily Sun’s readership that the photo editor can write more than a one sentence cutline. That moment is here. Here goes nothing. I didn’t study photography at Cornell.

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FROM THE EDITOR: Back After This

Today, The Cornell Daily Sun puts its regular print copy to rest until the start of fall semester. It has been a busy few months for us at 139 W State Street, and I am immensely proud of the hard work that the 136th Editorial Board has put into providing our community with valuable journalism on the issues that matter most. Whether it was the tumult of Student Assembly elections, the John Greenwood saga, the protracted demise of Brian Wansink or a banner year for Cornell sports (LGR!), The Sun has been the place for coverage and commentary. As we close out almost a century and a half of publication, we continue to look for innovative ways to reach new audiences and cover new issues. This summer, The Sun will once again expand our digital presence with a student-developed iOS application.

Guest Room

GUEST ROOM | Continue to Challenge Close-Mindedness at Cornell

On May 1, the Cornell University College Republicans hosted former Vice President Dick Cheney on campus for a lecture and question-and-answer session that was co-sponsored by Young America’s Foundation, a national conservative youth organization. Despite repeated attempts by a group of students and faculty members to prevent the event from occurring as planned, the College Republicans successfully organized a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for nearly 550 interested students and community members to hear from one of the most consequential conservative leaders in recent history. Vice President Cheney delivered wide-ranging remarks, addressing topics such as his justification for the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the U.S. enhanced interrogation program and the Iran nuclear deal, among others. These were all topics that were at the top of mind for those attending the event, as the questions were submitted directly by the public and posed to Cheney verbatim. The majority of audience members were respectful and clearly interested in hearing Cheney’s point of view.

Guest Room

GUEST ROOM | Unlearning Machine Bias

It’s July 17, 2014, and as Eric Garner is killed by the police, his final words are, “I can’t breathe.”

It’s April 12, 2018, and a barista calls the cops on two black men waiting patiently for a friend in a Starbucks. It’s August 4, 2025, and the Chicago Police Department, now relying heavily on facial recognition artificial intelligence software, wrongly identifies and arrests Barack Obama. While that last example may be a hypothetical, we’ve already seen the damaging ramifications of biased A.I. technology. Courts in Broward County, Florida, currently use risk assessment A.I. to predict whether the defendant of a petty crime is likely to commit more serious crimes in the future. This software wrongly labels black defendants almost twice as often as it does white defendants.

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KANKANHALLI | Who Taught You That?

It’s National Teacher Appreciation Week! I, for one, am proud to express my gratitude for my educators past and present…from the comfort of my bedroom, as I consciously neglect attending class…but still! Gratitude! Laziness aside, it’s crucial to actively realize the impact of educators. The humility that characterizes most teachers I’ve known frequently goes unrecognized.

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LEE | Learning to Accept My Asian Identity

Prior to moving to Dubai, UAE in the middle of High School, I never really thought about what it means to be Asian. Even though the 325 million Americans tend to place the 4.4 billion people on the Asian continent altogether under one group as “Asians,” I could clearly sense that I was an East Asian minority in a country where the vast majority of the people were Middle Eastern or South Asian. I’ve also naturally been in a part of an international community throughout most of my life and was never forced to regard myself as different. Yes, I thought that I was international in that I strive to be a global citizen, but not in the sense of being foreign or someone “other” than the majority. Here in the U.S., I have become increasingly exposed to the different identities one can embrace.

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MORADI | Disappoint Your Parents

Last week, after a phone conversation on what I wanted to do after I graduate ended inconclusively in tabled arguments and passive-aggressive goodbyes, my dad texted me the median income of a political science Ph.D. “About the same payscale as an operator” at the company where he works, he wrote. “You will study hard for LSAT and then we can discuss.”

It hurts knowing it would be literally and metaphorically easier on his heart if I had just gone all-out for law school or had read Cracking the Coding Interview back when I had the chance. Anything would be better than my current trajectory of understably worrisome directionless half-assery. My father is painfully practical and intensely loving, with the kind of radical sensibility of so many other Asian immigrants in America. After all, Baba already took his risks: He started a revolution and fought for it through a horribly bloody war.

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PARK | Letter of Recommendation for Okenshields

Last week, in a moment of hunger and desperation, I went to Okenshields. Like most members of our campus, I had written-off this meme of a dining hall. Thanks to my pecuniary-minded friend, Gabe, I put some faith in “A Night of Chocolate and Intuitive Eating.” [For those who know what “intuitive eating” means, I would love some clarification because nothing about Okes is intuitive]. For the uninitiated, Okenshields is a medieval-style dining hall at the heart of campus named after a Lord of the Rings dwarf, guarded by the happiest man at Cornell, filled with gothic chandeliers boasting an sundry assortment of salad, grains and Asian food with walls covered in black and white photos of Cornell’s history and 2000s throwbacks booming from the ceiling. And they take swipes.

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DANBERG BIGGS | Once I Was, Now I Still Was

We always think that we should be able to tell a linear story about ourselves. Not a story anyone would ever want to read; nothing heroic, or profound, or notable, or worth carrying around in your bag to read on the bus. Not a story to tell for other people. But as far as I can see, telling a story gives life direction and intentionality, at least in retrospect. Things happen with an internal logic that makes them ultimately worth it.