GUEST ROOM | Cornell Needs a Real Public Policy School

Cornell’s lack of a comprehensive public policy school is one of its major Achilles heels. Harvard and Princeton both have world-renowned programs named for influential presidents; Cornell has a messy organization of similar but ununified programs. While this university ranks 17th on US News & World Report’s list of best national universities, it comes in at 35th in respect to public affairs. This puts Cornell behind four Ivies, four schools in the Empire State and 10 land-grant universities. While I have found the MPA program at Cornell to be incredibly rewarding and deserving of a much higher rank, the lack of cohesion amongst its public policy education programs appears to be a detriment to its national stature. In Cornell’s decentralized, fragmented environment, the education of future policy leaders feels to be an afterthought by the University as a whole.

EDITORIAL | Merger No More, But Serious Questions Remain

Provost Michael Kotlikoff’s decision to move on from the proposed merger between the School of Industrial and Labor Relations and the College of Human Ecology is the right one, and we are glad to see this exercise in academic Frankensteining put to rest. We hope that without the most unpopular proposal casting a shadow over campus, Cornell can constructively debate the other elements of the Committee on Organizational Structures in the Social Sciences report. The merger idea encountered fierce pushback from faculty and students alike, particularly in the ILR school, and drew comparisons to 2016’s much-maligned creation of the College of Business. Eighty-eight percent of ILR faculty expressed opposition to the proposal in a survey presented to the Faculty Senate, 163 current ILR and Human Ecology students wrote a letter to The Sun objecting to the idea and all four living former deans of the ILR school similarly argued against the change in an open letter to Kotlikoff and President Martha Pollack published in The Sun. Throughout this process, the co-chairs of the committee and other members of the administration reiterated that the proposals laid out in the report were just that — proposals — and that the merger was not even the highest-rated idea.