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GUEST ROOM | Students Should Continue to Question the Ethics of the Cornell Alliance for Science

The Cornell community has come to learn about the questionable ethics of the Cornell Alliance for Science through a former Alliance fellow Julia Feliz in recent weeks. I am writing to applaud the Student Assembly for passing a statement in support of Feliz  and to share the experience with the Alliance my community has had on the small island of Kauaʻi. This is not the first time the Cornell Alliance for Science’s practices have impacted individuals from communities of color and undermined social justice. I’ve seen it here in Hawaiʻi where community members and I have been organizing for years to pass common sense pesticide regulations — and where Cornell Alliance for Science funded fellows have aggressively fought us. In the 1980’s, the sugar plantations started moving overseas in search of cheaper labor and less regulation and, in the last decade, completely ended operations on our islands.

Letter to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Re: ‘Cornell’s Student Assembly: Is This What Democracy Looks Like?’

To the Editor:

Having been a student in two international graduate programs as well as a facilitator in many international training courses, the intercultural interactions are usually extremely enriching, while working through the normal friction that arises with differences. I have fond memories of one colleague who managed to hijack just about any topic with lengthy commentary on social justice issues. When you were sleep-deprived and merely wanted to absorb the information from a lecture that was crucial for an exam or finishing a paper, it could be intensely irritating. Nevertheless, there was always a kernel of truth in the injustices he pointed out. The professors were reasonably adept at weaving the discussion back to the original objectives of the lecture while valuing his often tangential input.

Julia Feliz, a former fellow at the Alliance for Science, speaks about their experience at the Student Assembly meeting at Willard Straight Hall.

Julia Feliz Says That Cornell Was Racist. Their Story Prompted a Reply From President Pollack, a Student-Led Rally and University Pushback.

Starting October 15, Julia Feliz would not be welcome at Cornell’s Alliance for Science program, its director said. The decision — which Feliz shared in a widely-circulated post — was followed by waves of student support in a Student Assembly resolution in solidarity with Feliz and a planned rally, as well as a University statement disputing many of Feliz’s characterizations.