GUEST ROOM | Keep Your Virtual Celebration, and Give Me $20

You lied to us, President Martha Pollack. In an email you wrote to us on March 20, 2020, you promised us that we would have our commencement, and, in your own words, that: “It will be a joyous one!…It will take place in Ithaca.”

And yet I awoke Wednesday morning to an email from Michelle J. Vaeth, associate vice president for alumni affairs, effectively crushing any hopes of the in-person commencement that had been promised to the accursed Class of 2020. (Seven hours later, presumably at the end of the workday, you deigned to tell us yourself). 

In lieu of an in-person celebration, you offered — no, you told us — that we would instead have a virtual celebration as a part of the Cornell Reunion. If the past year has taught me anything, though, it’s that virtual celebration is an oxymoron. Haven’t we been subjected to enough virtual happy hours and hangouts in the past year to learn that they just don’t work? 

At best, the virtual celebration will be mediocre.

President Pollack, Cornell Admin Discuss COVID Readiness and Anti-Racism as Unconventional Semester is Set to Begin

The Sun spoke with President Martha Pollack, Provost Michael Kotlikoff, Vice President for Student and Campus Life Ryan Lombardi, Vice President of Facilities and Campus Services Rick Burgess, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Presidential Advisor for Diversity and Equity Avery August and Vice President for University Relations Joel Malina about Cornell’s reopening plan and anti-racism initiatives.

Letter to the Editor: RE: ‘Despite Risk of Over a Thousand Infections, Pollack Reiterates That Reopening is the ‘Best’ Path’

To the Editor:

In a recent article you provide a quotation from President Martha E. Pollack describing what she expects will happen this coming semester: “‘We anticipate finding many hundreds, and probably more than a thousand, of coronavirus cases in the Cornell community over the coming semester,’ Pollack wrote.”

According to the Tompkins County Department of Health, since the pandemic began, our county has had 228 people test positive for the virus and two deaths from the virus. Those two deaths were of non-residents who had been transferred to Tompkins County from the overloaded medical system of the metro-New York City area during the worst of the outbreak there. 228 cases in five and a half months. Now, Pres. Pollack expects more than 1000 infections in a little over three months? Does Pres. Pollack’s predicted 1000 infections “in the Cornell community” mean only among students, faculty and staff of Cornell?