This coming Tuesday, New Yorkers will have the opportunity to call for a state constitutional convention. While the idea of revising the state constitution is an attractive one, to do so now would be at best a non-event with costly side-effects, and at worst a dangerous exercise in the rollback of currently-existing protections. As a result, we urge voters to reject a constitutional convention at the ballot box this week. In the event of a convention, almost all delegates would be elected from existing state senate districts (15 would be elected at-large). The state senate map is consistently gerrymandered by the Republicans who have controlled the upper chamber for all but three years since 1938.
Richard John ’81, in an interview on Wednesday, said that if he is elected to the four-year position, he will draw on his past experience representing constituents — for decades as a lawyer and as the district’s representative on the Legislature since 2015 — to serve Collegetown and downtown residents.
simple analysis (see table below) reveals that students in the some disciplines get more than twice the representation as compared to students in the Engineering, Physical Sciences and Life Sciences. Given that it is the Negotiation Committee that will sit at the table with Cornell to strike a bargaining agreement, I am very concerned about this discordance between the number of members in a constituent discipline and the representation they receive.
Votes matter. A small number of eligible voter graduate students could determine the margin between “yes” and “no” votes and thus determine whether all graduate students in the defined bargaining unit will be represented by a union.
A union does not limit STEM stipends, but protects them. A union will not negatively impact students who receive the best stipends. Instead, it protects and guarantees increases to the highest stipends, and also increases the minimum. Currently graduate students have no say in minimum stipends and no guarantee that individual stipends will increase from year to year. Summer appointment letters decreased by up to $780 in engineering departments in 2016 compared with 2015. It is unclear how widespread this cut was within the school of engineering since the administration does not inform us of pay cuts, who they affect, or why they occurred.
I watched The Diary of an American Girl, a play written by Cornell Performing and Media Arts student Aleksej Aarasether, on February 10th at the Schwartz Center. American Girl had been written for the Heermans-McCalmon Dramatic Writing Competition, and the PMA department showcased it as one of the winning screenplays. Two other performances, excerpts of a screenplay and a script, were also shown. The Diary of an American Girl depicts the story of Anna, a young Latinx girl born in America to with undocumented parents. The script flirts with the conceit of Anna’s diary, through which some of the story is told.
The grim spectacle of Donald Trump’s campaign has transitioned into the grim spectacle of the American presidency. A mere two weeks have elapsed since President Trump’s inauguration, and already the nation has settled into a routine of expansive executive orders and subsequent corresponding outrage. The vulnerable are under attack, shame is a forgotten concept and the White House seems devoted to the personal aggrandizement of the president above all else. We are in an accelerated America hurling through history. And there are sickening indications that our potential destination is a familiar one.