LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Re: Cornell’s Restorative Judicial System

To the Editor: 

In his most recent column, Patrick Mehler ’23 argued that Cornell’s new judicial system is the “most community-focused and recidivism-preventing judicial process across college campuses.” Hyperbole aside, as a member of the Cornell community, I find this claim highly suspect. Under the new system led by Vice President for Student and Campus Life Ryan Lombardi, all authority to alter and administer the Student Code of Conduct is vested in Vice President Lombardi. The prior system incorporated Cornell’s shared-governance structure through the University Assembly Codes and Justice Committee which is comprised of representatives from the faculty, staff and student communities. To call anything which strips power from the voices of the Cornell community and hands it to a sole unaccountable authority “inclusive” and “community-focused” is disrespectful to the very idea of inclusivity and community. In 1969, there was a similar debate over the fate of the Cornell judicial system.