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GUEST ROOM | An Open Letter to President Pollock Regarding the Revamp of the College of Human Ecology

I am a graduate of the Design and Environmental Analysis program within the College of Human Ecology. I was attracted to the program, and to Cornell, because of its multidisciplinary aspects, and the ideal of Any Person, Any Study. This was a key factor in my decision to attend Cornell and select DEA as the foundation for my future. After graduating from Cornell in 1990, I attended New York University and was awarded a Master of Urban Planning from the Wagner School of Public Service. Now the Director of Regional Planning for the County of Los Angeles, I am arguably the epitome of a public policy leader you are striving to develop.

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GUEST ROOM | When Will Cornell Students for Justice in Palestine Stop Endorsing A Terror Organization?

On Tuesday, Jan. 28, Cornell Students for Justice in Palestine shared a post on Facebook from the Central Ohio Revolutionary Socialists page. The post read, “This is how you respond to Trump and Netanyahu’s calls for ‘negotiation’ and ‘peace talks’ based on their plan for permanent apartheid” and included a video interview with Ghassan Kanafani entitled “A Conversation Between the Sword and the Neck – Ghassan Kanafani”. Ghassan Kanafani was no ordinary Palestinian leader: he was one of the leaders of the Popular Front for Liberation of Palestine, a group that has conducted hundreds of terror attacks against innocent civilians since the late 1960s. This includes PFLP’s responsibility for numerous suicide bombings, airplane hijackings and other attacks on Israelis.

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TRUSTEE VIEWPOINT | The Conversation on Standardized Testing Marches On

Last January, University of California President Janet Napolitano tasked the University of California’s Academic Senate with “exam[ining] the University’s current use of standardized testing for admission and consider[ing] whether the University and its students are best served by UC’s current testing practices, a modification of current practices, another testing approach, or the elimination of testing.” Institutions across the country were moving away from requiring standardized tests for admissions, so it came as no surprise that the UC system would evaluate the merit of making the submission of standardized tests optional (a policy often referred to as test-optional). What they weren’t prepared for was the announcement of the Operation Varsity Blues admissions scandal two months later, which catapulted conversations regarding admissions into the national spotlight. Now more than ever, people wanted to know whether the UC system, which includes more than 280,000 students, would endorse becoming test-optional. While the panel convened by the UC Academic Senate worked, other universities began to come forward with decisions of their own regarding standardized testing. The National Center for Fair and Open Testing announced that over 47 new schools had transitioned to test-optional policies raising the total number to over 1,000 institutions in 2019.

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FOX | Spare a Little Change for Democracy

If you’re like me, you’re splitting much of your free time between applying to summer internships and hoping that you get one. If you’re above me, you’ve already locked your summer or even post-graduation plans down, freeing up your next three semesters for a fun and stress-free education. But as we buckle down and put our energy into securing our futures, we should remember that our futures will exist in the context of a broader society. These are not ordinary times we are living in. President Trump’s contempt for democratic institutions has always been obvious, but he has been truly unleashed following his disgraceful acquittal in the Senate.

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TAARIQ | Black History Month: Celebration of Community

The Cornell Black community is filled with intelligence, activism and hard work. By giving just a glimpse of what makes us who we are, I hope that the greater community not only gains more insight on what happens in different pockets of Cornell’s community, but is inspired to celebrate Black History Month as well.

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LORENZEN | This Semester, Commit to Ending the Illusion of Discourse

Last week, fellow Opinion columnist Michael Johns Jr. wrote a column entitled “This Semester, Commit to Discourse.” In it, he eloquently makes the case that in answering “that core question — how do I grow? — we must commit ourselves to spaces of political and philosophical encounter.” While I do entirely agree with my esteemed colleague and fellow Cornell Political Union member’s opinion on this topic, I must argue that it leaves a profoundly important stone unturned in discussing how we may, as a community, heighten political and philosophical discourse on Cornell’s campus. The truth is that committing to discourse is not nearly enough. I have found that, on this campus, there are three main manifestations of civil discourse. The first is the absence of discourse — that which Johns makes such a compelling argument against.

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WAITE | The Racial Divisions that Shine From Rush Limbaugh’s Medal of Freedom

I Googled the Presidential Medal of Freedom. According to Wikipedia, the list of Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients fall under 17 categories — and a total of 23 subcategories. These categories broadly range from politics, military and computing to arts, media and religion. I then went to the official website of the White House to ascertain the reasons for why one receives such a prestigious and honorable award. According to the site, it is awarded “to individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the security or national interests of America, to world peace or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors”.