GHAZI | Year of No

I think I cracked the secret to adulthood many years and mistakes before I was supposed to: Wash your dishes when you dirty them. It’s advice that hits like “be yourself.” I hear you, I know you’re right, but I just can’t right now. Freshman year, my roommate and I built an impressive stack of dishes atop our microfridge that grew taller with every extracurricular and four-credit course we added. The evidence of our five-minute breakfasts and midnight ramen became the leaning tower of “yeses” we said to everyone but ourselves. I thought I would miss so much about my former Cornell life.

ST. HILAIRE | Fighting on Balch’s Frontline

I’ve been told many times over the past year that I have a “Balch Vibe” and I don’t know how to take that. On one hand, I can interpret it as having the vibe of someone who grabs the patriarchy by the throat and kicks it in the balls (a vibrant visual).  On the other hand, I can interpret it as fitting into all the negative stereotypes of living here: Just another prude, nerdy, radical feminist, who lives among the bugs. I don’t think I fit into the latter stereotype, but what do I know? I don’t see that in Balch so maybe I wouldn’t see it in myself either. I see the “Balch Vibe” as a sort of subtle anger.

YAO | Cornell Study Abroad: Home Edition

For the first two months of summer, I didn’t even entertain the idea of staying home. Even as the nationwide case count skyrocketed, my friends and I discussed what in-person lectures might entail and made plans to meet up once classes started. The little town of Ithaca lodged in my mind as a refuge, where I would finally be free from the horrors of reality. Then August came, and the blows began to rain down. Cornell announced that it didn’t have the means to quarantine all the students from states on the New York Travel Advisory list.

GUEST ROOM | Students Will Not Bear the Greatest Cost of a Shutdown This Semester

Despite the overwhelming awareness that this could all be over in a matter of days and despite the best efforts of students online to publicly shame those who break the rules, Cornell was moved to threat level yellow after a mere two days of classes — not by a group of students who contracted the disease in spite of Cornell’s ample countermeasures, but by a group of students who willfully ignored them.  I am sure these people understood the risk to themselves and, given the well-expressed fears by their fellow students online, I’m sure they understood the risk to the student body as well.  And, while I would like to believe the event that caused this cluster was an isolated incident, a rare deviation from the straightforward and essential guidelines we’ve all agreed to follow, frankly, you’d have to be living under a rock to believe that. We can all hear the music. So, if the judgment of your peers, the requests of your university and the very real danger to the health of you and your friends are insufficient motivators to keep you out of a party this semester, then please consider the people who rely on Cornell for employment. Because the fact of the matter is, a few more “get-togethers” gone wrong, and hundreds, if not thousands, of people here are unemployed overnight. Yes, unemployed. Without a job, without a stream of income, a.k.a. something necessary to feed, clothe and house oneself when one’s parents do not do so.

GUEST ROOM | We’re Not Just Being Set Up to Fail, We’re Being Set Up to Blame Each Other

On July 21 The Atlantic published an article indicating that colleges were readying themselves to blame students for failed campus re-openings. Inevitable parties and quarantine breaches would be registered as violations of some form of a Behavioral Compact, allowing universities to lay blame directly upon their students. Increasingly, however, Cornell has succeeded not only in creating metrics to blame students directly for the spread of COVID-19 but has leveraged the Compact so that students will blame one another, shielding administrators from much direct responsibility for the campus reopening. Such internalization of responsibility and blame works in predictable ways if you understand the nature of power. The first step is an exertion of force — compelling students to sign the Compact — softened by the fallacy of choice.