DERY | Let’s Make Cornell an Outdoorsy Winter Campus

Between the emergence of the first snowmen in early December to the cherry blossoms of the Ithacan spring months, our campus loses much of its thrill as an outdoor wonder. Once sledding down Libe Slope grows old after the first few weeks of the spring semester, Cornellians are more than capable of spending entire winter days indoors. 

The same campus that sees its students lounging under trees and across the slope during the warmer months suddenly shrivels into a dreary, barren landscape during the depths of winter. Such a paradigm shift is in no way helped by the fact that Cornell’s athletic facilities provide little refuge from snow for students during the day. If there were to be regular weekend hours when Dodson field is plowed, or when Lynah Rink offers ice skating, perhaps students would no longer have to experience winter from their bedrooms. 

Over the last several weeks, I could only find one patch of salvageable green conducive to a game of catch: the thawed area between the northern 40-yard line and opposite 20-yard line on Schoellkopf Field. My attempts to venture onto other fields like Dodson behind Bartels Hall have been met with a locked fence.

Samilow | Senate Democrats’ Foolish Filibuster Gambit

With the inauguration of Vice President Kamala Harris, Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-G.A.) and Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-G.A.) on January 20, Democrats took control of the Senate for the first time in six years. 

Holding united control of the federal government for the first time in a decade, many Democrats have pushed to eliminate the Senate’s legislative filibuster, which effectively requires 60 votes to pass most legislation. If Democrats do not do away with the filibuster to allow legislation to pass by simple majority, most of their priorities will die in the Senate. In the Senate Democratic Caucus, only Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-A.Z.) have stated that they are categorically opposed to invoking the so-called “nuclear option.” While their stubborn stance has infuriated some Democrats, Manchin and Sinema are likely saving the party from an impulsive, ill-advised power play.Senate Democrats weren’t always in favor of eliminating the filibuster. In April 2017, when Republicans held the White House, Senate and House, 61 senators, representing a majority of the Democratic Caucus, signed a letter supporting maintaining the 60-vote threshold and preserving the rights of the minority. 

Over the course of the Trump administration, the filibuster was continually invoked to thwart the Republican agenda, holding up everything from border wall funding to abortion restrictions. It is only now that Democrats are in the majority, that they claim the filibuster needs to go.

GUEST ROOM | ON MEMORIALS, DEMOCRACY & OUR ‘FIERY TRIAL’

If not now, when… for Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman? Our hyper-polarized nation is once again passing through what President Abraham Lincoln called a “fiery trial.” To state that democracy itself is under attack is no longer a hyperbolic, polemical, or rhetorical sentiment. In a few short years, we’ve adopted state-level photo ID voter suppression laws, have had politicians attempt to nullify certified election results and witnessed an open insurrection against our Constitution and democratic way of life. Over winter break we all watched as a violent mob stormed the Capitol. Does anyone believe we’ve seen the last of this?

SEX ON THURSDAY | Frosty the Snow Penis

The icy prostate lies prostrate on the earth, praying to no gods in particular. Even if its mighty head glares up upon the stars, it knows no salvation. The scrotal lump at its base, decorated with tiny sticks for hairs, but with no warm hands to stroke them. Veins poke out of the snowy skin like ripples in a tiny ocean, but they’re never going to throb with lust. They stand as totems to the human condition so omnipresent, “Build a snow penis or count how many you see” is number 35 on “161 Things Every Cornellian Should Do.” Each snowstorm, I wander the tundric landscape to behold a mass erection of phalluses.

CHANG | GameStonk Isn’t for College Investors

GameStop’s trip to the moon was a short-lived and dangerous path — especially for the average college student who’s just starting to invest. 

If you’ve been on the Reddit front page in the past few weeks (or as long as you haven’t been living under a rock), you’ve probably heard about the Wall Street Bets subreddit (r/wallstreetbets) and the unpredictable price drama of GameStop stock. At first, the interest in GameStop was loosely motivated by fundamentals. Ryan Cohen, the founder of the successful online pet food company Chewy, joined the board in early January and investors thought that he could perhaps turn around GameStop’s brick-and-mortar business model and transform it into an online machine. Then, Reddit caught on. Suddenly, buying GameStop became the newest trend and a variety of stock market mechanisms only interesting to business frat bros and finance Ph.D. students (if it wasn’t for this debacle, would anyone have heard of the gamma squeeze or the short squeeze?) came into play.

YAO | On-Campus Ruminations After a Semester Away

Five months ago, amid a whole lot of FOMO but even more uncertainty, I wrote a column titled Cornell Study Abroad: Home Edition. I had elected to stay at home for the fall semester due to a variety of reasons, not least because of the rising case count and the mounting panic I felt every time another university shut down. But just as staying home last semester felt like the best decision at the time, coming back felt natural for this spring. Remote school had reached the stage of monotony where any change seemed better than the existing condition, so I took the leap and found my way back to the snowy gorges of upstate New York. 

After almost an entire year away, being back in Ithaca is a bit like a fever dream. I can only describe it as feeling like seeing a friend you had lost contact with, only to realize upon meeting that you had both drastically changed.

GUEST ROOM | On Naming a Dormitory

Titles are symbolic, of course, but they also carry weight. When the buildings on a university campus are named for robber barons and captains of industry, that says something about the institution, and about the purpose of the education we receive. In buildings that bear the name of the highest bidder, are we not being told — perhaps subtly, perhaps brutally — that our post-collegiate life also belongs to whatever entity makes the winning offer? So it was with real pride that I read that new North Campus dormitories were being named not for mega-donors, but for those whose lives set a stunning and wondrous example. Toni Morrison M.A. ’55.

EPSTEIN | Cornell Is Too Sweet

Columnist Joshua Epstein writes “The three meals usually featured soda, chips, and cookies … Many students joked on their social media about Cornell’s only distinction between lunch and dinner being a different brand of potato chips.”

KEMPFF | Greek Life and COVID-19

Campus was waking up from break when President Martha Pollack landed a sucker punch. The scathing and well-deserved rebuke was given a culprit by the administration: Greek life. Social media users proceeded to publicly shame Greek houses, ranging from mild frustration to targeted attacks. Compared to some Reddit posters, the email sent by the administration was tame. Unfortunately, the virus is a perfect target for many parts of Greek life.

BERNSTEIN | A Plea to Professors: Give an A for Participation

This piece is a plea to professors: Keep the participation grade on your syllabus if you otherwise would, but don’t bother grading it. Give an A. Some of your students need it, all of them deserve it, and it really is your duty to do so. Entering our third semester of the COVID-19 era and the second of the school year, the most obvious academic takeaway for students and teachers alike is clear: Online school sucks. I know that’s a cold take, but it’s painfully true. Although it has great benefits of spreading information and making an education more accessible, virtual school just can’t compare to the real thing.