I was pleased to see the topic of marijuana legalization covered at the recent League of Women Voters of Tompkins County panel in your April 29 article. As a local physician who treats people diagnosed with substance use disorder, I strongly support legalization. Every day, I see how marijuana prohibition actively hurts the people I serve. I would like to offer a few clarifications on the panelists’ comments. First, it’s impossible to overdose on marijuana.
After two years, two months and three days (but who’s counting), my time as the Student-Elected Trustee has begun to come to a close. Serving as the Student-Elected Trustee has been one of the greatest honors in my lifetime. In an act of nostalgia and personal curiosity, I spent this past week looking through my past viewpoints and notes to pull out my most memorable lessons from the Hill and the Board of Trustees. While I still am unable to describe industrial and labor relations to my grandma in Chinese, I’m happy to report that my time at Cornell has been filled with learning moments that I hope others reading this can carry forward. I learned that organizational traditions are not all pure.
Well, we made it. We have at long last reached the end of the road. It was a tough journey, certainly not one for the faint of heart, but despite all the pain, I believe it was worth it. This right here is my last column. As I sit write, I have to admit I’m glad I decided to go to Olin to do this because I can already feel the emotions that would no doubt have poured out in the form of tears if I wasn’t in a public place.
In Michael Johns ’20’s May 1 column, he suggests that Cornell’s “globalist activist community,” specifically the fossil fuel divestment and BDS-inspired movement, has taken a myopic viewpoint that leads them — or, us, members of Climate Justice Cornell, in this case — to lose sight of true global justice by focusing solely on the issues at hand on campus. There is a common notion that some organizers uphold: “Do the work where you’re at.” While we’re at Cornell, this means that we, the students, can address the issues we see in the way that this institution is run. Here at Cornell, we have the power to petition the University — through literal petitioning, letter writing, rallies and the like — and we may even receive some sort of response. While the chairman of the Board of Trustees or the president of the University may reply to our emails, it’s fair to say that a Cornell student group’s request for Chinese coal plants to be shut down would be swept aside. Furthermore, as people who are not direct stakeholders to China’s energy production, it’s not our place to make suggestions — not to mention the lack of expertise of a Cornell student group in the inner workings of the Chinese energy economy and grid.
Just how global is the focus of Cornell’s globalist activist community? At first glance, it is globalist without reservation: From climate crusaders demanding the University divest from fossil fuels to the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against Israel, campus progressive activists this semester repeatedly have called for Cornell to make dramatic changes to further their political vision. Cornellians certainly have the right to petition the University, and it is understandable why they would begin their activism here. President Martha Pollack, for her part, properly noted in her response to the BDS movement that “the principal purpose of our endowment is to provide income for advancing our mission-related objectives.” The endowment, she said, “must not be viewed as a means of exercising political or social power.” That is sensible logic. Of course, this will not deter activists from their quest to politicize the University endowment.
Cornell controversies come as fast as they go, usually earning barely a peep from the administration. So consider us astonished to hear the University has, at last, opted to effectively ditch the burdensome event security fee. The move is a win for free expression on campus and a remarkable bout of responsiveness from leadership that too often shrugs off community input. After first hinting at the changes in February, Cornell will now begin covering security costs for most events up to $8,000. In a campus-wide email, Vice President for Student and Campus Life Ryan Lombardi announced the changes, which also include transitioning away from OrgSync, Cornell’s clunky student organization management system.
I am one of the lucky ones, right? Being able to come to an Ivy League university despite coming from a low-income community and a single-parent first-generation household. I am one of the lucky ones. Being able to completely forget the reality of home in my little ivory tower. I am lucky to have an unlimited meal plan, even though it was forced and the food is poorly seasoned.
My senior year of college has been a whole lot of “lasts” that happened without me even realizing them. I slammed down my pencil and released a big sigh as I submitted my last prelim without noting it was my last. My last Ithaca snow — dreadfully late into spring — fell onto my unsuspecting head without any consideration for how this would never happen again. When would be my last time crying in office hours? My last all-nighter, making ramen and a soft-boiled egg at 3:00 a.m.?
Moving from country to country while growing up, I learned to quickly adapt to new environments. I grasped how to approach people from different cultures and backgrounds and especially how to find common ground. Along the way, I strived to make myself polite and agreeable so that I would be able to fit in. Yet, this need to adjust and conform compromised my sense of self. I was molding who I was to correspond with others’ expectations of who I am meant to be rather than letting myself just be me.
It goes without saying that mental health is a major conversation on campus. Currently, some of the mental health services offered at Cornell include Let’s Talk and CAPS, which are offered at Cornell Health, and EARS, a student-run organization. While all are extremely important services, all are arguably “downstream” mental health services. Since they are “downstream,” they can only be utilized by individuals who are currently having to address their mental health issues. There are very few specific services in place that attempt to dispel systems that can lead to mental health issues.