LETTER TO THE EDITOR: RE: ‘Welcome to Cornell, Inc.’

To the Editor:

The article “Welcome to Cornell, Inc.” by John Monkovic ‘24 raises many interesting ideas — some valid and others misinformed.  

He is correct that “shared governance” has become “nothing more than a buzzword.” For most of Cornell’s history, the faculty ran the show with very few staff in the central administration. The Trustees delegated power to the President, the faculty and a few specialized boards. In the turmoil of the 1960s, this changed. The Trustees delegated policy and budgetary control over what is now called Student and Campus Life to the University Senate, and the Senate also controlled the campus judicial system. Gradually, the Trustees and central administration clawed back power, until August 2021, when the last area of authority, the judicial system, was removed and given to Day Hall.

GUEST ROOM | Welcome to Cornell Inc. 

Ever since my freshman year, now a distant three years ago, I’ve been trying to crack this place. Some goofy kid two doors down the hall and I would stay up until 4 a.m. pondering meaningless questions like “What is the Cornell ethos, really?” We still do, now in the mundane daylight of a cramped apartment, the magic sucked out of the air ever since we settled on the answers but found ourselves no less trapped by them. If you ask me, you can’t even begin to understand this place until you acknowledge that Cornell University is functionally a corporation. It’s an embarrassingly obvious observation to make — the kind that warrants a slap in the face from any local resident whose years living here renders it common sense.

STUDENT ASSEMBLY VIEWPOINT | Making Space for Disagreement

The most successful initiatives have come out of many of the conversations that focus less on what we think we know and more on what we can learn — that have aimed at listening to the community then enacting resolutions, followed by not just talking but doing.