President Martha Pollack at her office in Day Hall on May 10th, 2019.

The Sun Interviews Martha Pollack

At the end of the spring semester, The Sun had the opportunity to interview President Martha Pollack, touching on topics ranging from the expansion of mental health services, sensitivity responses to tragedies, Cornell Tech, food insecurity and Prof. Brian Wansink’s termination.

Editorial

EDITORIAL: When Tragedy Strikes, Pollack’s Statements Should Say More

In her latest email, President Martha Pollack sent a brief statement expressing she is “shocked and horrified” about the bombings in Sri Lanka. It is important that Pollack is sending out these emails and addressing the Cornell community as tragedy strikes. It shows her cognizance of different student experiences and expresses her sincere sentiments. But a mere 68 words is probably not enough. Pollack’s 68-word Sri Lanka statement has less than one word for every three people that died in those bombings.

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GUEST ROOM | ‘Singling Out’ President Pollack’s Divestment Confusion

In President Pollack’s much-publicized statement rejecting Students for Justice in Palestine’s proposed divestment measures against Israeli occupation, Cornell’s leader claimed that such action would “unfairly single out one country in the world for sanction, when there are many countries around the world whose governments’ policies may be viewed as controversial.” In case she has forgotten, we would like to remind her of the other countries whose human rights violations have been brought to her attention by anti-imperialist members of the campus community. In May 2017, Pollack’s administration declined to take action to utilize Cornell’s purchasing power to help curb militia violence in the Congo in accordance with the demands of the global “conflict-free” movement. A resolution that earned the near-unanimous support from the Student Assembly was unilaterally dismissed, even though the relatively uncontroversial conflict-free campaign provided Cornell with a feasible action plan to directly address the country’s human rights violations. University leadership simply couldn’t be bothered to care about this powerful student-led effort, let alone act on it. The following month, an SA resolution authored by human rights organizers and Native American student leaders asked the University to divest from dirty pipeline projects that violate Indigenous sovereignty and put the future of all peoples at stake.