It’s a strange thing to mourn strangers — six women I’ve never met and will never meet. For hours after I first read news of the shooting in Atlanta where a white man killed eight people, six of whom were Asian American women, my throat stiffened with a sadness I couldn’t swallow. I didn’t understand the very real grief I felt when I read their names: Soon Chung Park, Suncha Kim, Yong Ae Yue, Hyun Jung Grant, Xiaojie Tan, Delaina Yaun, Daoyou Feng and Paul Andre Michels.
I kept thinking their names were just another headline in a year long newspaper reel of attacks against Asian American elders and women. I told myself that it was a privilege to read of their deaths from a distance understanding that, as a Cornell student, I enjoy the insular privilege of a family background and an Ivy League education that separates me from older working-class Asian American women. There was a part of me that even felt like I didn’t have the right to mourn them, that it was overdramatic to feel real sadness over their deaths.
If not now, when… for Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman? Our hyper-polarized nation is once again passing through what President Abraham Lincoln called a “fiery trial.” To state that democracy itself is under attack is no longer a hyperbolic, polemical, or rhetorical sentiment. In a few short years, we’ve adopted state-level photo ID voter suppression laws, have had politicians attempt to nullify certified election results and witnessed an open insurrection against our Constitution and democratic way of life. Over winter break we all watched as a violent mob stormed the Capitol. Does anyone believe we’ve seen the last of this?
Guess who’s been topping the charts in the iTunes classical section — The Piano Guys. I can’t be the only one that picked up my phone and frantically googled when I found out that The Piano Guys would be playing Trump’s inauguration. I didn’t know who they were, but with millions of YouTube hits and the word “piano” in the name, I was intrigued. I watched the dramatic music video for “Beethoven’s 5 Secrets” — a mash-up of OneRepublic’s brief hit and Ludwig’s famed fifth symphony — and understood the appeal. Classical music, packaged for easy listening.
I know this probably won’t come as a surprise to anyone who is reading this, but Cornell can be an incredibly stressful place. Before coming to Cornell, I had heard, like most of you, how intense Cornell could be, but I had never taken the time to really imagine what such an environment might look like. Since getting to Cornell I’ve watched myself and many of my friends become far more stressed than ever before. I’ve heard several people point out that in reality Cornell probably isn’t any more difficult than most other top universities, and much to the chagrin of some of you reading this, I’d have to agree. Yes, Cornell is difficult — we can all agree on that — but the fact of the matter is that a large part of the stress that Cornellians put up with is a result of the culture that we as students have created for ourselves.
On a complimentary cot, one-year-old nugget me flew across the ocean blue to America. My family moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where my mom babysat, made diapers out of clothes and relied on governmental programs like WIC to keep me fed. The O.G. dumpster divers, my parents furnished rooms with trashed treasures. Modest beginnings and hard work gave bloom to comfort. We tumbled up the East Coast, moving every year of my childhood.
International students are indeed the first ones to be thrown under the bus when tough decisions need to be made, because the administration expects us to remain quiet. My heart aches when I read how the university, behind closed doors, tokenizes us to achieve superficial diversity but does not really care about our student experience.
The important number for the university’s financial stability is actually net tuition revenue: undergraduate tuition minus financial aid. In other words, how much money does Cornell get from tuition after it pays out financial aid. If net tuition revenue is not growing as fast as costs, the university will eventually have to make some cuts to spending or find ways to increase revenue.
The pressing topic of cybersecurity has resurfaced in the public conscious following the news of Russian hackers leaking thousands of emails belonging to the Democratic National Committee. Software might be developed for one clear-cut purpose, but more often than not, the technology’s ethical ramifications are disregarded by engineers. In the case of the Russian hacking, the individuals that perpetrated the cyberattack broke a moral code by intentionally hacking to commit an illegal act. For software engineers, their innovative skills come with a great deal of responsibility. Although an engineer’s top priority is efficiency, they must not overlook ethics.
For pissed off students who have considered transferring/when dialogue isn’t enuff
Last week, our campus had the pleasure of hosting three activists from the Black Lives Matter Network, one of the many organizations and groups engaged in the Black Lives Matter movement. I left feeling inspired to imagine more radical possibilities for our world and particularly for our campus community. As someone who collaborated with many students in the fall to deliver a working list of demands to the university president and as someone who was moved by the actions of students all over the country, I had to reflect deeply on my own activism. Are we demanding the right things? Are we using the right strategies?