Heated debates on the Student Assembly floor are usually indicators of functioning campus democracy. But last week, our student government veered off course during a Zoom meeting on Cornell Police disarmament when representatives used little restraint in hurling personal insults at each other and talking over those with opposing viewpoints. Throughout the semi-finals week that followed — dubbed a “Week of Hate and Harassment” by The Sun, representatives suffered from bullying and name-calling. What has happened to our system of shared governance? Right now, our student leadership could use a reminder that the most effective way to advance Cornellian interests is to rely on the time-honored instruments of campus democracy, such as mutual respect and a discussion of values, rather than resort to ad hominem, scorched earth attacks on fellow students.
For many Cornellians, these debates on racial justice and police violence aren’t theoretical; they are of lived experiences.