The Student Assembly passed an amended resolution expressing support for a universal satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading scheme for Cornell students. With the amendments, the proposal to pass all students effectively becomes a blanket pass/fail grading system, only changing the necessary grades to receive a “satisfactory” grade.
Tonight, when election results start rolling in, professional pundits and party power-players will descend upon their studio desks and bleak backrooms to opine on and debate the implications of this election for the one that will take place just under two years from now. Attempts to divine the electorate’s views on President Trump will be especially earnest within the Democratic Party, still recovering from a 2016 election in which Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by nearly three million votes but lost the electoral college by fewer than 80,000 aggregate votes in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. From the moment polls close, the varying successes and failures of unabashed liberals running in traditionally-red states (such as Beto O’Rourke, Stacey Abrams and Andrew Gillum) and the staying power of their moderate counterparts in increasingly-red states (namely Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.)) will be compared and contrasted in an attempt to divine which type of candidate would have the best chance to defeat President Trump. In the face of these inevitable electability prognostications, though, I want to offer my fellow Democrats my view on what what characteristics the party’s nominee in 2020 should have. In an election in which it feels like the fate of the country, not to mention the fate of the millions whose lives have already been negatively affected by a Trump presidency, the Democratic nominee for president of the United States in 2020 should have the courage to be bold and the willingness to acknowledge nuance.
To help get Cornellians to the polls to vote in Tuesday’s U.S. midterm elections, Cornell Outdoor Education and the Cornell Public Service Center will be providing shuttles to transport Cornell community members to polling locations.
In regard to mental health, Pollack spoke about several substantive changes, including an increase of over two and a half years from 32 to 43 counselors and Cornell’s decision to contract with ProtoCall, a 24-hour by-phone mental health counseling service that Pollack said was “very carefully vetted” in the hope that it would be helpful.
On March 27 and 28, Cornell graduate students will vote on the question of their potential unionization, the finale to a series of events prompted by an August 2016 NLRB ruling that graduate students can be considered workers with the right to unionize. This is a reversal of a 2004 ruling which stated that graduate students should have a “primarily educational, not economic, relationship with their university.”
The role of graduate students has become highly contentious; students argue they play an indispensable yet under-appreciated role in Cornell’s research initiatives and course curricula. Cornell Graduate Students United supports unionization as a means of increasing the benefits of all graduate students at Cornell through a collective bargaining unit. The potential union will aim to give graduate students a say over issues ranging from health insurance to stipends and wage increases, ultimately to improve students’ living and working conditions. Critics of the union point out potentially flawed voting procedures and the potential union’s ability to fairly represent grad students.
If a majority of voting graduate students vote for representation by the union, Cornell “shall immediately grant recognition to the union as the exclusive collective bargaining representative,” according to the contract between CGSU and the University.
Votes matter. A small number of eligible voter graduate students could determine the margin between “yes” and “no” votes and thus determine whether all graduate students in the defined bargaining unit will be represented by a union.
“Although we must be circumspect in communications with students, I can be brutally blunt with you: I believe it will be a disaster in the long run if unionization occurs — an existential risk to Cornell’s graduate program,” the email read.
A union does not limit STEM stipends, but protects them. A union will not negatively impact students who receive the best stipends. Instead, it protects and guarantees increases to the highest stipends, and also increases the minimum. Currently graduate students have no say in minimum stipends and no guarantee that individual stipends will increase from year to year. Summer appointment letters decreased by up to $780 in engineering departments in 2016 compared with 2015. It is unclear how widespread this cut was within the school of engineering since the administration does not inform us of pay cuts, who they affect, or why they occurred.