As Andrew Morse ‘96, a distinguished media executive, wrote in a sentimental 2011 Sun piece, “I still have such great reverence for The Cornell Daily Sun.”
In an exercise of deep contrast, in November of last year, one Reddit user wrote: “Why do these kids treat every article like a blog post. I’ve never seen a university paper so unprofessional and simply hard to read.” Another wrote in 2018: “In my opinion 90% of the newspaper is irrelevant to every day student life, uninteresting, or intentionally provocative.”
During my time writing for the paper, I have been fortunate to receive favorable reviews from faculty and other University stakeholders. As a reader of the other columns, I have also found a number of columnists discerning and thoughtful.
I was thinking about this. I work and work and work, accomplish milestones and finish projects for this job — yet, so much of the time it leaves me feeling listless. How come? Looking back on it, I’ve gotten a lot done, I’ve implemented changes, and arguably some of them have been successes, but not once have I considered that progress until now.
The Serbian tennis star, who was detained in Australia and ultimately barred from entry into the Australian Open, is the latest high-profile athlete to find himself at the heart of a culture war firestorm over vaccine denialism. The media has shouted him down for two weeks, his fellow anti-vaxxers for two years, and it seems that here we find ourselves stuck.
Such dramas, captivating as they may be, have brought us no closer to mending our bitter political divides. The antidote to our insufferable culture war is dreadfully boring: empathy. But, crucially, the ability to express it need not mean sacrificing our ideals to political moderation.
Cornell promises that its students can usher in a better world in the face of cultural and political strife. Tell that to a first-week freshman and their eyes will sparkle.
Warning: The following content contains sensitive material about suicide. I used to believe that empathy was the key to unity without understanding what it meant. So in my sophomore spring I did Empathy, Assistance, and Referral Service training, the on-campus peer counseling system, and last week I attended the first meeting of Education 2610, also known as Intergroup Dialogue Project. In EARS training and in IDP, we did active listening exercises in pairs. One person would talk for three minutes without the other responding.
Last week, laid out in the center of the Arts Quad were five sets of sets of flags, each displaying a number. Heading each display was the name of a different nation: Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Somalia and Sudan. These signs, placed there by Cornell Amnesty International as a part of the Week of Action, counted the number of refugees displaced from each nation, and were designed to raise awareness about the hardships faced these millions. On Wednesday night, nearly all of the 250 flags were removed from the ground and scattered throughout North Campus. And it is very difficult to understand why.