A warm and wet breeze glides across my face as I unpack my car Aug. 16, 2016. Students and parents rushing about, asking for directions, and just like me, unpacking their cars. It’s O-week and I feel like Billy Madison watching all these innocent, younger wide-eyed adults scatter around like lost puppies looking for their dorm rooms. I remember writing the housing office expressing specifically that I’d like my own room, because I’m a 25-year-old combat veteran who has gone through experiences that most Cornell students couldn’t imagine or relate to. Rose House has one room per suite that fits two; I was lucky enough to be put in this one.
Over the last two weeks, a group of Student Assembly members, supported by several leaders of student organizations, has been on a crusade to cut student funding to the Cornell Cinema. This culminated in a joint statement with Provost Michael Kotlikoff on Wednesday committing to “begin a collaborative process to ensure Cornell Cinema does not shut down.” This statement is genuinely encouraging; however, despite this qualified success, the nature of this campaign has been quite concerning. In an effort to take a stand, the S.A. held a valuable institution hostage, and put the livelihoods of its full-time employees in jeopardy. Setting aside individual intentions, the tactics that these students have taken, both in public statements and in a letter to the editor this week, have ranged from bizarre to downright reckless. The power to control large organizational budgets carries with it the responsibility to be considered and thoughtful.
When I was in elementary school, I remember how excited I got about Scholastic book fairs. I don’t know when they happened, or for how long. I only remember entering the auditorium I usually hated going to — it reminded me of long lectures by the principal on useless topics such as, “You must stay on the playground during recess — or else,” or “Chocolate milk won’t be available for lunch anymore — don’t ask” and browsing through the dozens of new, glossy books selected for us. And the little bits they sold; I went crazy for them. The tiny, colorful erasers and wall-sized posters seemed like the coolest things at the time.
Two weeks ago, I wrote a column on forgiveness. On how after retribution, rehabilitation and a really long time,we as a society should progress enough to provide prisoners with a certain type of humanity. In case you missed my last piece, it focused on Michelle Jones — a woman, who, after years of physical abuse, became pregnant from rape. She abused this child, who ended up dying after she left him in her apartment for days. He was four years old.
On Thursday, Nov. 9, the Student Assembly will vote firmly and distinctly “No” to the reality of Cornell Cinema. They will tell you about its uneconomical model. They will criticize the body of patrons who use this sanctuary. They will tell you that they support a Cornell Cinema funded by the University.
Burnt popcorn has an odd appeal to it. It’s digestible nostalgia, and it tastes like bad TV movies and entire Saturdays spent in t-shirts and plaid pajama pants. I remember waking up on long summer days back home, during the glory days of tweenhood when I was too young to work and too old to watch shows listed as TV-G. I had chores to do and summer reading books to read and probably some practice or lesson for something on the schedule, but none of that was enough to keep me “busy” in any sense of the word. I had a lot of time and maybe the occasional burden, but never any responsibilities.
Birth control is a human right. Period. I will fight you on this. It is proven to fight poverty and increase female educational attainment. I don’t normally traffic in hypotheticals but if men could get pregnant, birth control would be sold next to the gum at every 7/11.
I am blank. I have been renting this space in The Sun since freshman year, every other Tuesday, with the same punny title my editor picked out for me on the second day of freshman year. And I’m out of things to say. I’ve gone back and forth on sending off an email that officially ends it — dear Jacob, I’m too old for this, find a freshman too scared to send in a column late to replace me and we’ll both be better off — but I’ve held back each time. Unsure why, but maybe by the end of this column, I’ll flip in favor of just calling it quits and you’ll never see me again.
It was one of those crap days. It might have been the gloomy Ithacan weather or Monday or maybe it was just me. Procrastination hit its terminal stage, and the Google Scholar search cursor was silently blinking at me with poorly concealed condemnation, as if anticipating when I finally collect myself and make a productive query. Instead, I typed in “happiness” to see what science has to say on the matter, and started climbing the shoulders of giants. In contrast to many of my colleagues, I am not a big supporter of popularizing all science and I fail to see how knowing the inner workings of a black hole is useful for anything but better appreciation of some scenes in Interstellar.
Nearly every year, the front page of Cornell’s website is blazoned with some variation of the headline, “Cornell Admits Most Diverse Class Ever.” The University boasts that its goal of increasing the number of students of color on campus is working, as more and more minority students enroll at Cornell each year. Yet the claim that Cornell is becoming more “diverse” is misleading. Yes, the University is the most racially heterogeneous it has ever been. And yes, the University has one of the most ethnically diverse campuses in the country. However, skin color is not the sole measure of diversity; in fact, it is only a component of a much larger puzzle.