For New, founding this organization, named the First Generation and Low Income Graduate Student Organization, was not simply recognizing first-generation and low-income students on Cornell’s campus, but providing them with a supportive community and resources to help them flourish.
On Monday, the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly held its first meeting of the semester in Bache Auditorium to announce important updates regarding its financial structure and to elect new committee leaders.
When I first arrived in Ithaca three years ago, I found myself taken aback by the general aura of Cornell. Everything seemed to exude excellence. The research, the students, even the buildings exceeded my expectations. Despite the repeated assurances of those around me, I could not shake the idea that, to exist in a place like Cornell, I too needed to be excellent. I spent most of my first semester in a state of constant worry that I could not meet this standard, and I struggled to integrate myself into the Cornell community.
The Consensual Relationships Policy Committee has undertaken a long overdue revision of Cornell’s policies on romantic and sexual relations between faculty and students. These relations are fraught because of differences in power and experience, because they can involve serious conflicts of interest and because they can have disruptive effects on the functioning of and climate within our professional workplaces. However, there is another class of romantic and sexual relations that seems similarly fraught — in kind if not in degree — that has received almost no discussion: those between graduate students within the same department or workplace. Graduate school provides a transition between young adulthood and full professional stature, and graduate students mature enormously over the course of their studies. Before graduating they may participate in many of the professional functions of faculty, including undergraduate teaching, training and supervising new graduate and undergraduate students, evaluating students and writing recommendation letters, managing collaborations, and writing and reviewing manuscripts and proposals.
To the Editor:
As members of Cornell Graduate Students United, we stand in solidarity with fellow student and colleague Marsha Jean-Charles grad as she navigates the graduate school grievance process in an effort to reverse the unfair revocation of her funding and “good standing” in her program. Marsha’s funding and good academic standing have been jeopardized by the poor review of a single faculty member within her department. Marsha’s funding and good academic standing were revoked due to a single bad review without the input of her special committee. Marsha’s funding and good academic standing were revoked despite a detailed letter from her dissertation chair indicating that the behavior catalogued in the review was anomalous and the processes that led to the funding revocation were problematic. It is illogical and unfair that Marsha’s good academic standing was judged based on a poor review from a single faculty member, who is not part of Marsha’s special committee and therefore has no direct connection to Marsha’s academic progress.