You can find Rabbi Hayley Goldstein at her home on Friday nights, having Shabbat dinner and discussing the week’s Torah portion with a small group of students. As the first queer female Rabbi at Cornell Hillel, Goldstein’s philosophy of inclusion goes beyond acceptance.
After weeks of exams, papers and responsibilities, fall break offers a welcome respite for students to destress and relax. Many Cornell students decide to go home or get away from campus, though some students simply live too far away or choose not to step off campus for a quick vacation.
“The essence of the criminal justice reform model in the popular press has focused on the lowest of the low hanging fruit — the nonviolent drug offender in prison for possession of controlled substances,” Prof. Joseph Margulies, government, law, said in a lecture Thursday afternoon. But, according to Margulies, this narrative often embraced by the media is wrong. Margulies is a self-described “student of the American criminal justice system,” according to his bio on the Cornell Law School website. He has defended numerous people “caught up in the excesses of the so-called war on terror,” such as Abu Zubaydah — a Saudian Arabian national held at CIA black sites and interrogated in 2002 and 2003, the public discovery of which led to the infamous Bush Administration “torture memos.”
He disputed the popularly-held notion that the United States incarcerates large numbers of low-level non-violent offenders for minor possession charges and sentences them to disproportionate sentences — calling that perception the “holy grail” of incarceration. “We don’t send those people to prison … the search for the low-level non-violent drug offender is like the hunt for a snark …They may exist but they are vanishingly rare,” he said.
A few nights ago, after a long day of Cornell Political Union recruitment, we collapsed into a Collegetown establishment’s rickety chairs, ordered heaps of greasy food and became embroiled in a heated discussion. One of our executive board members, a sophomore with a promising future in the organization, had asked if she should study abroad, and our table was split. But our conversation wasn’t actually about studying abroad. The executive board member had really asked, “Should I commit to campus service for my entire college career? Is it worth it?”
My answer was a resounding yes, but only because she has the right attitude toward campus engagement, one too rare on a campus where “leadership” is an expectation but thoughtful, deliberate engagement is optional.
Sixty-seven teams representing Cornell and other universities such as Princeton and Binghamton came together to brainstorm and develop projects ranging from website applications to hardware prototypes that centered around this year’s theme of “Community Superheros.”
As the wind gently blew across Ho Plaza on Wednesday, it carried the voices of people sharing their connections to Sri Lanka and the people whose lives were lost on Easter Sunday. Students from all different backgrounds, ages and disciplines faced each other in a wide circle, candles given out by the organizers in hand.
Housing, community and well-being were among the key areas that Leading Cornell, a leadership program for Cornell employees, identified as the most pressing areas of concern for those employed by the University at Wednesday’s Employee Assembly.
Young people across the political spectrum agree: Climate change is a serious issue. I have talked about this issue with young Republicans, Democrats and independents. A recent study showed that 85 percent of young adults ages 18 to 25, regardless of political affiliation, believe that the federal government needs to do more to support clean energy. Across the board, young voters agree that government action needs to be taken against climate change. The Youth Climate Strike held on March 15 was an excellent demonstration of the solidarity amongst young Americans on the issue of climate change.