“We Do Not Apologize.”
Volume XXVIII, Issue 9
Limited Government. Traditional Values. America First.
An Independent Publication
www.cornellreviewonline.com / www.cornellinsider.com
March 17, 2010
From Majesty to Horror OLIVER RENICK / MANAGING EDITOR
unshining fifty-degree mornings in early March are rare in Ithaca. Students normally weighed down by swelled backpacks are suddenly fortified by the prospect of warmth. Engineers hustle to Duffield while Arts students climb the slope to Olin for their morning joe. The daily routine appears ordinary, if not uplifting. But as freshmen cross the Fall Creek gorge to enter Central campus, they nod to the red-vested security guard leaning against the bridge’s railing. Cornell University is on suicide lockdown. ...see HORROR, page 2
Meet your leaders...
ollowing his election to the presidency of the Cornell S t u d e n t Assembly, Vincent Andrews sat down with the Cornell Review’s own Brendan Patrick Devine for an interview about the consequences of the race, the future of Cornell, what to expect from the S.A. in years to come, and Andrews’ own future ambitions. An avid sailor, Andrews hails from Miami and studies in ILR.
CR: What do you think put you into office? A positive reception of your platform? Resolution 44 backlash? VA: I think my platform was more tangible with respect to the Student Assembly Finance Commission. I think my ideas on how to present a unified student voice were more concrete and demonstrated greater knowledge with respect to how the Student Assembly works. I think my stance on ...see VINCENT ANDREWS, page 6
photo by Lucas Policastro
Gov. Luis Fortuño: ‘We have a mandate’ BRENDAN PATRICK DEVINE / STAFF WRITER
ollowing his well received speech at Bailey Hall Monday, March 8th, Governor Luis Fortuño of Puerto Rico sat down with Brendan Patrick Devine and William Patrick Wagner of the Cornell Review to discuss the Puerto Rican economy, the possibility of statehood, and the Governor’s place
in the American conservative community. CR: First of all Governor, how does one fit 51 stars on the American flag? Governor Fortuño: It’s rather simple actually. It would look rather similar to what we already have today. CR: Your speech seemed to present a Puerto Turn to page 4 for the complete interview with Governor Fortuño ...
Ray F Mensah
ollowing his election to the vice presidency of the Student Assembly, Ray Mensah sat down with Cornell Review writers Dennis Shiraev and Zach Waller to talk about SA elections, budget cuts, a new SA judicial body, and the status of conservatism on Cornell’s campus. CR: First of all, congratulations on your victory. Ray: Thank you so much.
CR: Before we start talking about S.A. related business, could you tell us a little bit about yourself, maybe three things most people wouldn’t know about you? Ray: I’m from Brooklyn, NY, and have lived there most of my life. I’m in the ILR school, minoring in Law and Society, and I’ll be graduating in 2011. Let’s see, three things about me. I was in India this past winter break for about three weeks, ...see RAY MENSAH, page 7
2 HORROR ...continued from front page
March 17, 2010
afternoon succinctly put it, “didn’t this just happen?” Zika brought Desperate times bring desperate the fatality count up to twelve – measures. Students at Cornell last twelve emails about knowing, Friday were all too aware of this, as helping, and remembering. the community endured its second All were male. “I do presumably voluntary death within want to acknowledge twenty-four hours – the third in the toll we all may less than thirty days. As of 8:00 be experiencing PM on Friday, March 12, Cornell from repeated entered into suicide prevention losses already mode. Auxiliary security this year,” workers were stationed among Skorton added in the University’s most notorious his email address bridges and scheduled to remain to the Cornell there until late Monday evening. community. As Susan Murphy, Vice President Physics professor of Student Services, pointed out Robert E. Thorne in an eerie video email, some of reflected upon the Cornell’s most majestic attributes loss of Sinclair quickly became its most disturbing. to his students In the morning of one of the Thursday evening sunniest days Cornell had seen by sending an email in months, the dark tragedy that delaying the week’s was William Sinclair’s death assignment and overshadowed the potential of a allowing students time photo by Oliver Renick beautiful day. For the second time to come to terms with in a month, a deceased Cornell the loss. “I knew Suicide Watch: A guard monitors Thurston Bridge student was found below the William as a curious, indifference has changed to Thurston Avenue bridge in Fall warm and gentle person of great concern and time for healing has Creek gorge. The body of William promise. This is a terrible loss.” turned to time spent in anxiety. Sinclair ‘12, a Deirdre Mulligan ‘11 recounted The act of such voluntary death how “Matt drove five hours across has taken on the image of an Pennsylvania uncontainable one, and Cornellians just to grab a have spent hours waiting in cheesesteak fear for emails releasing names. with me and Minds race and faculty members spend the night scramble to find a solution. How watching TV long will these unwelcome guests and talking. guard Cornell’s bridges? Where That was the can hope be found and how can it kind of person be maintained? Strangely enough, he was; he it seems Cornellians have a special was always gift of looking to the future. there for his Campus vigils, self help forums, friends, and I and groups dedicated to serving was so lucky others have formed and are taking to have him as charge. Students that are adapted one of mine.” to the unforgiving weather are used But over the to finding the sliver of daylight on past month, a cold dark day. There is no reason Commuting Students take a dreadfully familiar walk back home to North. Photo by Lucas Policastro s t u d e n t to assume they won’t this time. Police Department, I join all of response has quickly turned from mechanical engineering student, you in grieving deeply this and the sorrow and surprise to anger and The hearts and prayers of was retrieved from the area other losses we have experienced impatience. Parents and students The Cornell Review staff go around noon on March 11th by together so very recently.” have written and commented on out to Bradley’s, William’s, and Matthew’s family and friends. a team of four rescue workers. But Cornellians this year don’t Review and Daily Sun articles, “Although I didn’t know Will as need to read past the first paragraph demanding that action be taken Oliver Renick is a sophomore in much as I could have, it was obvious of the emails. As one student at immediately. With the sudden the College of Engineering. He can to me that he had a special level of Thurston Bridge on Thursday increase in frequency of deaths, be contacted at email@example.com
understanding and passion about what he did,” said Mike Muller ’12, who spent part of a semester as Sinclair’s lab partner. “I can be sure that his talent will be missed.” Not even 24 hours after Sinclair’s body was removed from the depths of the gorge, students received yet another devastating notification bringing the news of the death of Matthew Zika ‘11, a fellow engineer majoring in operations research. In each incident, police cars and ambulances closed off the bridges to the public. One month precedent to these fatalities, Cornell freshman Bradley Ginsburg ‘13 presumably committed suicide in the very same area as Sinclair, near North Campus. President Skorton, acknowledging the abundance of deaths at Cornell this year, sent emails following both incidents. “Join me in keeping [Sinclair’s family] foremost in your thoughts in the days ahead as we mourn this tragic loss of life… it is with deep sorrow that… Matthew Charles Zika, a junior in the College of Engineering, died this afternoon. While the cause of [these] traged[ies] is still under investigation by the Ithaca
Help: Following the suicides, students placed pamphlets enumerating the methods through which one can find support
photo by Oliver Renick
March 17, 2010
The Proper Mental Health Solution
Founded 1984, Incorporated 1986 Volume XXVIII Number 9 Ann Coulter Jim Keller Jerome D. Pinn Anthony Santelli, Jr. Founders
William Lane Editor-in-Chief
John Farragut President
Oliver Renick Managing Editor
Treasurer, News Editor
National News Editor
Dennis Shiraev Campus Editor
Original Artwork by Anthony Longo
Joe Bonica, Anthony Longo, Lucia Rafanelli, Oliver Renick, William Lane, Kent Haeger, Raza Hoda, Dennis Shiraev, Willam Wagner, John Farragut, Brendan Devine, Lucas Policastro, Roman Lesko, Justin DiGennaro, Peter Bouris, Zachary Waller, Kevin Tang, Roman Lesko, Peter Bouris, Hannah MacLean Faculty Advisor Michael E. Hint firstname.lastname@example.org Board of Directors
Christopher DeCenzo, Joseph E. Gehring Jr., Ying Ma, Anthony Santelli Jr. The Cornell Review is an independent biweekly journal published by students of Cornell University for the benefit of students, faculty, administrators, and alumni of the Cornell community. The Cornell Review is a thoughtful review of campus and national politics from a broad conservative perspective. The Cornell Review, an independent student organization located at Cornell University, produced and is responsible for the content of this publication. This publication was not reviewed or approved by, nor does it necessarily express or reflect the policies or opinions of, Cornell University or its designated representatives. The Cornell Review is published by The Ithaca Review, Inc., a non-profit corporation. The opinions stated in The Cornell Review are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or the staff of The Cornell Review. Editorial opinions are those of the responsible editor. The opinions herein are not necessarily those of the board of directors, officers, or staff of The Ithaca Review, Inc. The Cornell Review is distributed free, limited to one issue per person, on campus as well as to local businesses in Ithaca. Additional copies beyond the first free issue are available for $1.00 each. The Cornell Review is a member of the Collegiate Network. The Cornell Review prides itself on letting its writers speak for themselves, and on open discourse. We do not all agree on every issue, and readers should be aware that pieces represent the views of their authors, and not necessarily those of the entire staff. If you have a well-reasoned conservative opinion piece, please send it to thecornell.review@ gmail.com for consideration.
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ornell has long carried an undeserved rap for its suicide rate. Statistically established to be lower than other universities nationwide, the school’s suicide rate has remained relatively constant over the past several years. However, with three suicides in approximately one month, two of which occurred on consecutive days. It therefore stands to reason that Cornell should think long and hard about what needs to change to ensure the mental health of its students. It should not require so extreme a series of incidents such as this to shock the administration and the student body to action. Even one should be considered too many, enough to stir students out of their apathy. But if such egregious events are to happen, then their tragedy should be mitigated by our learning from them. The university has responded, in its way. Messages reporting the deaths have been circulated to all students, further advertising Cornell’s counseling services, such as EARS, and Cornell Minds Matter. Posters have been placed around libraries and community centers reminding students that “Your life is beautiful”. Personnel have been stationed at all bridges overlooking the gorges as a measure of “preventive maintenance”. The administration even crafted a specialized video message, in which Susan Murphy stressed the importance of seeking help and downplaying the broader importance of grades. Yet the cry often goes out that the university should be doing more. Indeed there may be some truth to that complaint in that the university, much like the student body, is rarely proactive when it comes to dealing with a crisis. By keeping these services within the public eye even when all seems to be going well we might forestall similar tragedies in the future. Nevertheless, in terms of an on-thespot response, the university is doing pretty much everything it can. It continues to advertise the services of EARS, Gannett, and other counseling groups, despite their nearing capacity. The posting of guards on all bridges is itself an effort—however belated and seemingly ineffectual— to stem the tide of the deaths on the short term. Indeed, the causes and the scope of collegiate suicide are so great that the university itself is simply incapable of dealing with the situation in its entirety. The problem is not one of official university response so much as one of the kind of culture that envelops Cornell. Cornell’s “cutthroat” atmosphere is one frequently lamented by students as well as
observers of the university. In itself, this may not necessarily be true. Most Cornellians eschew the direct winner-take-all competition that the epithet implies, instead favoring cooperation through study sessions and homework groups. Instead the atmosphere is indirectly deleterious, as students vie to measure their own success by using those around them as benchmarks. The negative effects should be immediately apparent, particularly for depressed students or students with low self-esteem. The success of others, even friends, serves not as a cause for celebration but as a representation of their own inability to keep up. Talk about summer internships can be physically painful to a student questioning the strength of his own resume. Casual mention of acceptance to a med school one student considers a safety could make a student struggling to get into the same school feel inadequate, even hopeless. To suggest that this dynamic could be changed completely would be folly. The types of applicants Cornell attracts by its very nature are the most driven and smart. Cornell only accepts the best and brightest. Every Cornell student was naturally a leader in their high school. However, with so many students of high quality coming into the school populated by those of equal skill, students used to dominating the classroom in high school may struggle to keep the mean in their major at Cornell. Generally students get accustomed to this shock, but when they are unable to adapt tragedy is likely to happen. While we may not be able to change the ambitious natures of Cornellians, what we as a community would undoubtedly be able to change is the gravity that students attach to the rat race. The administration has already taken a first step in openly declaring a fact many of us take for granted: that no grade is so important that it can by itself make or break a future. Furthermore, certain classes have begun to offer mental health exceptions, to allow for rescheduling if students feel too stressed to adequately prepare while maintaining emotional well-being. But if we are to truly achieve success in keeping the Cornell community mentally balanced, the primary impetus must come from the students. Always, the exhortation is that if students feel they need help, they should turn to on-campus counselors or at the very least, friends who can be depended on to see them through their temporary grief. However, laying the responsibility on the depressed students themselves leaves various avenues for failure.
Students perhaps might think that the suffering they endure is simply a normal reaction to high-stress situations, or that it is something that they can handle on their own. Even those who recognize the need for outside help may find reasons not to get it. For instance, many students imagine a certain stigma attached to asking for emotional assistance. It serves, in their minds, as a symbol of their own inferiority: since others seem to be able to manage the pressure without assistance, they must be weaker for needing help. There is also a certain hesitancy among some students to discuss their problems with a total stranger. Even turning to friends for support can create hesitancy in a depressed student: often a student of low enough self-esteem will earnestly believe that they have no friend to whom they can turn who will care enough to listen without judging them. These fears are tenuously justified at best, yet scores of students who might truly benefit from mental help refuse to seek treatment. Thus, rather than merely encouraging the afflicted to admit their issues, what Cornell needs to do as a student body is really stop and worry about the welfare of one’s friends, hallmates, and classmates. It may seem a platitude, but concern for one’s fellows may be the only way to ensure they will still be around tomorrow. This Sunday’s email from the VP of Communications was a good start—it lists the warning signs students should watch for. All of them are true and serious. However, it may not always be easy to determine if someone is having a problem. It is not every suicidal student who announces it every day for a week (like someone who went to my middle school) and is perpetually morose. Very few depressive people like to admit their emotions openly. Sometimes, it will be the last person you suspect, someone you consider “bubbly”, “a vibrant personality”, or “always smiling”. Nevertheless, there are usually signs—detachment or disinterest can often be hints—that might indicate a greater problem. In short, the way to treat this is not in a top-down manner, nor to resign to believe, as I heard it put the other day, that “there is no way to get inside the head of a suicidal person”. The way to combat the recent surge in suicides is from the bottom up, by getting Cornell students to realize that it is they who have the best chance of preventing these horrific and unnecessary deaths. William P. Lane, for the editors. William can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
4 FORTUÑO ...continued from front page
Rico that is in a dire financial state. Aside from budget cuts, what is there that you can do to ensure posterity? Governor Fortuño: We can institute fiscal constraints, which we are doing but are lacking today in Washington. Getting rid of $2 billion of deficits in a relatively small budget is no small feat, however we need that sort of discipline in Washington as well. We will continue being responsible. We have also put in place legislation that opens up [Puerto Rico’s] economy with pro-growth policies that will pay off. I mentioned a couple in my speech tonight, like our Public-Private Partnership legislation, which is not liked by Democrats, but it’s paying off in states like Indiana with Governor Mitch Daniels. Also, energy independence and diversity is something this country needs instead of depending on oil sold by countries that don’t necessarily have our best interests in their hearts.
March 17, 2010 DENNIS SHIRAEV
est pharmaceutical concentration in the country is actually in Puerto Rico, which many people do not know. Most of those plants are run by local engineers. So, we’re trying to expand on that manufacturing base, doing more researchand-development, clinical testing, and applied sciences on the Island. CR: What renders this moment optimal for you to enact the push for statehood? Governor Fortuño: We have a mandate from the voters, and normally in our democratic process that’s good enough to start with. And we have a mandate to promote a Congressionally sanctioned process for consultation. CR: Do you think the fervor of some in the crowd accurately represents the political climate of Puerto Rico? Governor Fortuño: You know in Alaska the independence movement is larger than in Puerto Rico. True, it’s actually in the teens in Alaska, while in Puerto Rico it’s about three percent. [Independence proponents] have the right to exist, like they do in Alaska, but that doesn’t mean they’ll carry the day.
Independence: Gov. Fortuño addresses a packed Bailey Hall
Puerto Rico, as you may have noticed. So they don’t represent the sentiments of those living in Puerto Rico. My feeling is that some groups organized because they aren’t in agreement with the policies—especially fiscal policies—that I am imposing, but at the end of the day, those policies will bring prosperity and growth to our economy.
Governor Fortuño: I just do my job in Puerto Rico. I am a principled fiscal conservative. I have shown it not by my words, but by my deeds. I am not the only one doing this throughout the country, but I am proud to be one of those who does what Washington eventually needs to do on its own.
CR: How then do you get a broader array of businesses to come to Puerto Rico? How much of the economy depends on existing industries and tourism? CR: Why do you suppose IndeGovernor Fortuño: Tourism pendence was so over-represented is actually just seven percent of in this particular talk? CR: One last question. What do our economy. Manufacturing is a Governor Fortuño: None of [the you think you can offer the Ameri- Brendan Patrick Devine is a sophomore in the College of Arts little over forty percent. The larg- Independence supporters] lived in and Sciences. He can be contacted can conservative community? at email@example.com.
Glenn Beck’s Friend Visits Cornell President of Service Employees International Union Does Speaking Tour PETER BOURIS STAFF WRITER
ndy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and author of the book A Country That Works, engaged in a two day speaking tour at the ILR School on March 4 and 5. He is currently the Alice B. Grant Labor Leader in Residence at ILR. Stern entered his university years at the Wharton School of Business, but ultimately graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with degrees in education and urban planning. He certainly has not had a typical path for a labor leader. He has been targeted by many conservative media figures (watch Glenn Beck’s show for a week and you will hear about him) due to his involvement with radical groups when he was younger. However, in recent years, Stern has emerged as the most important labor leader in North America, as his organization has the largest membership of any union on the continent not called the National Education Association. He has also been recognized as
promoting pragmatic solutions to some of the social problems that have been caused by globalization, such as wealth inequality and depressed wages for the American working class. Of course, this all comes with the caveat that he is open about his desire to shift the American business community away from its traditional free-market roots. When speaking at ILR, Stern covered the gamut on issues pertinent to organized labor and the American working class. He began his talks by displaying a video of the SEIU’s successful campaign to organize the janitors at the University of Miami. Many of the janitors were Cuban immigrants, who Stern explained were simply hoping for a legitimate chance to attain the American Dream. This particular victory involved a hunger strike by the SEIU leaders and the janitors, which put public pressure on the university to concede. Part of the reasoning for the display was Stern’s desire to show how the current vehicle to resolve
labor disputes in United States, the National Labor Relations Board, now has a broken and outmoded system that allows employers to appeal and delay for years at no cost to them before they recognize and bargain with labor unions. Indeed, most unions now seek a private agreement the same way they used to prior to the National Labor Relations Act. Despite these frustrations, Stern augmented his public reputation as a man of action by explaining how the SEIU now uses collective bargaining to promote social causes such as health care access and environmental protection. Displaying his Ivy League savvy, he mentioned how organized labor can serve as the lynchpin of the coalition on the American Left when it does this. According to Stern, focusing on its own narrow interests and failing to coalition build is the biggest reason for American Labor’s beleaguered state. Stern also expanded upon how the SEIU sees the UAW as the prime example of failure in American Labor. He said that the UAW
sealed its own fate when it failed to organize autoworkers in Japanese plants in the South. This created imbalance in labor markets, reduced the competitiveness of American automakers, and also created a ticking time bomb that would eventually send the UAW’s empire cascading downward. UAW members now earn the same wage that they did thirty years ago and are on par with nonunion workers in the Japanese plants. All this is because of the UAW’s failure to organize the entire industry in the United States, thereby allowing non-union wages to pull down those of the union members. This is why Stern is so adamant about the SEIU expanding in its strongholds of healthcare workers, public employees, security guards, and janitors. Stern emphasized that it is imperative to organize all the workers in these particular sectors before moving into new ones because without full organization gains will be much more vulnerable, ...see FRIEND, opposite
March 17, 2010
Filthy Gorgeous’s Right to Exist ...Or lack thereof RYAN LETT GUEST WRITER
first must preface this article by disclaiming that what I intend to discuss is by no means rooted in homophobia or written because Filthy Gorgeous was an LGBTQ community event. I disclaim this not to avoid personal attention or conflict (I could not care less about negative attention), but rather to avoid the all too often assumed bias in any conservative writing. I would also like to note that my passions to discuss this topic were not incited until reading Juan Forrer’s article in The Sun. Thus, I was not in
attendance for this event and will refrain from gross speculation on specific proceedings so as to not undermine my argument. Now with the unfortunate disclaimers necessary of a conservative student on a college campus in the Northeast,
I will present my arguments and opinions against the existence of events such as Filthy Gorgeous. Filthy Gorgeous is branded by those who organize it as “an annual party…benefitting a New York homeless shelter…[that] attempts to provide a fun, exciting social and cultural outlet for both LGBTQ students and their straight allies” (Lebrun & Connelly). The first aspect I wish to address, of which I am dubbing an event mission statement, will be the
philanthropic aspect. I do not necessarily consider myself a titan of charity, but I enjoy philanthropic work and firmly believe that it is extremely beneficial. Additionally - another conservative disclaimer - I believe that a homeless shelter that protects the LGBTQ community in New York City is a perfectly worthwhile
FRIEND ...continued from page 4
as per the UAW. The point of this approach is to take wages out of competition in the marketplace. Since wages are the most easily controlled cost for an employer, they get pressed more than anything else in a low-price competitive market. This is why organization is so important for low-skilled workers. It was only a matter of time before Stern was asked about Glenn Beck and his treatment of Stern on the airwaves. Stern handled the inquiry appropriately, simply stating that everyone seeks what they want to hear in media. Therefore, anyone who is hostile toward organized labor initially will simply have their views reinforced by someone such as Beck. Stern also hit upon the Employee Free Choice Act, commonly known as ‘card-check.’ This is a proposal in Congress to mandate direct union recognition upon its attainment of a majority of workers’ signatures within a bargaining unit. The proposal is essentially dead in the near term, as the US Chamber of Commerce has heavily advertised that the bill would take away a worker’s right to a secret ballot when deciding upon union representation. This is now the
commonly held knowledge of the proposal. Stern said that this is not true, and that organized labor was simply outspent and lost the chance to spread the proper message. The author has no knowledge of which side is correct. Finally, when asked about the Democrats apparent neglect of organized labor since taking over DC, Stern made a very strong point by stating that America’s current governing process seems to be neglecting everything. He warned about the perils of what excessive polarization and lack of cooperation in government will mean for the nation down the road. While most readers of this will likely quake by checking Stern’s radical past, it is not unreasonable to say the George Meany of our time has a great deal of intellectual heft to offer when solving major issues the nation faces. Best of all, he does not fit the “Big Labor” mold that Meany created in the 1950s.
Peter Bouris is a sophomore in the School of Industrial Labor and Relations. He can be
cause. While not an AEM major, I still consider myself qualified to provide some basic financial analytics. Filthy Gorgeous 2010 had a record attendance this year of “more than 600 students” (Forrer), to be liberal with the numbers, lets call it 700. The entry fee for this year’s event was a very reasonable $3. So by basic multiplication this event’s entry fees grossed $2,100, a decent sum. In sticking with my promise to refrain from gross speculation I will concede that I do not know
the specific proceeds generated from other means such as raffle tickets, but I believe it is reasonable to suggest that income would not exceed $27,000 - the total cost of the event - nor would it probably exceed $7,000, the cost directly footed by the Student Activity Fee. Thus what is the philanthropic benefit of this event? Wouldn’t it be simpler and more beneficial to simply donate that $27,000 directly to GSA’s charity of choice or even distribute this large sum across multiple charities? These two questions have one obvious answer: this event, while marginally charitable, has no right being branded as philanthropic. With the philanthropy aspect eliminated, let’s revise the mission statement to read: “an annual party…[that] attempts to provide a fun, exciting social and cultural outlet for both LGBTQ students and their straight allies.”Again conceding that I was not at this event, I can best gather that this “outlet” is created through providing “half naked male and female dancers…[and a] porn director…to DJ the event.” To clarify my use of ellipsis, I specifically chose to omit the words ‘transgender’ and ‘drag queen’ to emphasize that my issue with this event is not homophobic, but rather anti-Cornell sponsored promiscuity. I do not condone strippers…err…I mean dancers either straight or gay as a socially acceptable means of entertainment, let alone a Cornell subsidized means of entertainment. Additionally, I fail to comprehend the necessity for a porn director to DJ any event. I’m pretty sure comparable non-porn director DJs exist. I am
not sex-phobic. I simply do not personally condone such a blatantly sexual event in public setting. I feel like most of the emails I get from President Skorton in some way reference Cornell’s financial concerns and the need for fiscal conservatism and responsibility; all sentiments I agree with. As stated by Skorton: “Our current-year budget deficit is down to approximately $68 million, following reductions of approximately $50 million” Yet here lies specific evidence of Cornell subsidizing strippers (don’t feel
l i k e being politically correct this time), hardly an expenditure with any redeeming value. Additionally, as noted in the Forrer article, as well as a very rational and concise article by Christopher Hendrix, this event failed to represent the Cornell LGBTQ community as a whole. I know that personally I would greatly resent the perpetuation of sexually explicit stereotypes associated with any groups that I consider myself a part, thus I sympathize with members of the LGBTQ community who felt misrepresented and/or offended by this event. Overall, this event failed to efficiently meet philanthropic status, provide an agreeable environment for the whole of the LGBTQ community, and squandered Cornell funding on amusing, sexual novelties. This event spurred controversy and deliberately promoted lewdness and promiscuity. That is not to say there are not other events that have little or no redeeming social value, but they are more often held in private setting and not funded by Cornell. I would greatly support the use of this money on LGBTQ education events, speakers, or appropriate events but to squander funds on such a heteroor homo- sexually explicit “annual party” is simply unacceptable.
6 VINCENT ANDREWS ...continued from front page
Resolution 44 may have mobilized some groups against my opponent, the author of that resolution, but not necessarily for me. A lot of the religious and conservative groups were wary of R.44. That doesn’t mean I espouse the values of those organizations, but I believe those groups mobilized in my direction. CR: You emphasize that your platform was more tangible, that it could represent a more unified student voice. How does one find a “unified” student voice? VA: Any student voice presented rationally engenders more unity than what we have now. Even if we aren’t all in agreement now, if there is greater dialogue between the Administration and the students— with a central organization moderating that discussion—we will end up with a more unified and coherent student voice than we have now. Right now what we have is an ad hoc system when the University comes to us when they have questions and the student body acts in a mostly reactionary fashion. For example, when the University says it’s going to move Ken Glover, then there’s a mobilization of students. If we create a system where students are in place before these decisions are made, then I think we will be better off than the status quo. CR: How do you get students more interested in the S.A.? Virtually everyone running for a position this election campaigned on transparency, but isn’t the reality that most students just don’t care about the S.A.? VA: I think there is some degree of apathy among the student body; some think the S.A. is a meaningless body or don’t bother looking into what the S.A. is doing. The onus is on the S.A. to demonstrate to students the utility of paying attention to what the Assembly does. We took some steps this past year, like creating a blog and getting more non-elected students more involved with student government, but I think the S.A. needs a more concerted approach to saying to students: “here’s what the Student Assembly does, please help us.”
CR: In your campaign, you suggested breaking up the schedule for organizational funding. How does that work? VA: Currently, there is one funding cycle per semester. If the organization messes up their funding application, or misses a deadline, or part-way through the semester realized it could put on a really good event, then the utility of that organization is diminished for the semester. We have re-visited the appeals process, but the manner
Campus in which groups apply for funds is inherently flawed and needs to be examined. CR: No organization is going will be satisfied with budget cuts, but financially isn’t the University contracting a bit? How do you treat groups who come to you dissatisfied? VA: I would actually challenge that notion that organizations are going to have to lose funding, especially since more money was allocated towards the Student Assembly Finance Commission for the next two years, so there will be greater funds available for student organizations. If organizations receive funding outside of the school, they may see cuts on that end, which makes it even more sensible to be able to apply for funding during different parts of the semester. Some organizations, like the Schwartz Center, which fall under departmental funding rather than S.A. funding, will have to facilitate discussion between the school and students with a stake in the organization to come to a solution which accounts for the fact we have a $64 million budget deficit, but students are still paying into that department. I think if the administration accounts for the student interest, students will be more amendable to taking into consideration budget constraints. CR: Much like the rest of the student body here, new Vice-President Ray Mensah dislikes internet fees. Any chance the S.A. will take up this matter? VA: We can start a dialogue between the CIT department and students, but it’s going to take students who understand the issues surrounding internet usage. It will take a push from students demonstrating the desire for greater bandwidth usage and informed students ready to receive the University’s arguments. CR: You’ve mentioned having other students involved several times now. Is this a sign that the S.A. is interested in bringing nonS.A. members into the decision making fold more? VA: The Assembly is only 23 students technically. While we have purview over many departments and we have many useful committees, I can say that the S.A. still struggles at times with the issues students want to address, so the only way to have an effective Student Assembly is if we have students ready to volunteer their time working in tandem with each and community members. Getting more people involved essentially comes down to PR. I think that can be worked on by getting more involved members. If that means buying Facebook ads, then I think it will pay off for both
the students and the Assembly. CR: Many members of the S.A. probably enter the body thinking that they will be a great force of positive change. You have underlined more realistic approaches to the S.A. What can students expect out of the S.A. over the next year? VA: A realistic understanding of the S.A. means knowing that the Assembly must work within the boundaries of the Administration. This does not mean the Assembly is a tool of the Administration, but that it is most effective when it can present a rational argument, made by students, concerning something that the administration has done. The Assembly can make demands to President Skorton, but is that an effective approach? Probably not. A rational approach is to see what the students want and balancing it with what the Administration wants. CR: You seem to have just outlined a student reaction to the Administration’s policies. How do you get students to take a more proactive role, and should they take a more proactive role? VA: During the age of “ReImagining Cornell,” the students and the S.A. must take a more proactive approach. The University today is going to be completely different 10 years from now. The Provost has the idea of pooling all funds, which may make the 7 different colleges a thing of the past. With “One Cornell,” we may have 7 lightly separated colleges, but with a greater degree of interaction between their students, administrators, etc. That’s not necessarily bad, but if we want the University to change in a way that reflects the desires of students, then we have to take a more proactive approach to getting students on the Provost’s advisory board and the four working groups that report to the Provost’s advising committees. The University has an entire system of committees on the college level and departmental level that are going to institute great changes over the next 5 years. Students have to be part of that decision making process.
March 17, 2010 program. Pooling funds may help cut down on duplicate departments at the University. Currently ILR has a Statistics department because at one point in time, if an ILR student wanted to take Statistics in the Arts school, ILR would have had to pay the Arts school for that student to learn there. ILR found it cheaper to hire its own Statistics faculty than to send students to the Arts school and pay the Math department’s faculty. By pooling the funds, we can cut down on duplication departments, which may fundamentally alter the image of each college as we know it, which is why students need to be involved, even in funding decisions. Since we are essentially paying customers, we need to be involved in the reallocation of funds. CR: Being a conservative publication, the Review must ask about Resolution 44. Is Skorton going to sign it? VA: I don’t think the Resolution will be signed by President Skorton. If he doesn’t sign it, individual Assembly members can bring it back up if they so desire. I don’t know if it would pass a second time; the vote last time was essentially a tie with the president of the S.A. deciding to pass it with his discretion. R.44 As we know it probably won’t come into effect. Will a new type of discrimination code be worked on? Probably, and that’s not a bad thing.
CR: What would a better antidiscrimination code look like then, assuming you’d want one? VA: In no way, shape, or form do I support discrimination, nor do I think any student should be excluded from a group. That said, do I think a Democrat should be able to be chairman of the Cornell Republicans? No. It’s a tricky issue, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t attempt to address it. We have to listen to the different interest groups if we take up this issue again though. We have to listen to the administrators and stakeholders to come to a conclusion that addresses the issue at hand. R.44 did not address the issue at hand. We had students from Haven that came out CR: Do you think the idea of and spoke against R.44, just as we pooling the budget will detract had people from religious groups from the uniqueness of Cornell? speak against it. Moreover, do you think it may impact fundraising? Twenty years CR: Would you ever consider down the road, a person from one running for President of these college may not want to donate if United States, and if so, who would he believed his money could fund a you run with? program in another college that he VA: I am interested in politics, but did not approve of. I’d rather see where my career takes VA: Since alumni giving is an me. I’d like to apply to law school, entirely separate department from practice law, join the Peace Corps for tuition, I don’t think it will impact a few years, and see where I am then. donations. The proposal is to pool tuition funds. If alumni want to give Brendan Patrick Devine is a sophomore in the College of Arts to a certain program, like Arts and and Sciences. He can be contacted Sciences, those funds will go to that at firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 17, 2010 RAY MENSAH ...continued from front page
working on some service learning projects. I have five siblings, so a pretty big family. And, let’s see, I’ll be in Washington D.C. this summer doing Cornell in Washington. CR: Let’s talk about this recent election. Brokman lost the election by a generous margin to Vincent Andrews, do you think this had anything to do with Resolution 44? Ray: Well, you know Resolution 44 certainly played a big part in this campaign. Some people supported it, but I think some people had serious concerns about how it would be implemented. So sure, that could have played a role in how things turned out, but I also think that other factors were at play. CR: What is your position on Resolution 44? Ray: When it was first introduced about a month ago I spoke out against it at the S.A. meeting because I had some serious concerns about it. While I applaud Brokman and Danzer for trying to be proactive and trying to protect the rights of students, I really felt that the resolution did the opposite. I just think that we can get much better language in there–it was overly broad and would take away the rightful control that individuals have over our groups on campus. The good news is that I don’t think Skorton will actually sign it. We will also be introducing a counterresolution, the Freedom Clause, hopefully in one of the upcoming meetings, which will basically call on the university to adopt a policy that protects First Amendment rights for independent student organizations, with a few additional caveats of course.
find that very problematic, so that’s one issue that this new committee would tackle. There have also been multiple times this past year where the S.A. members did not fairly interpret their own charter. For example, VP Williams. He’s a good man, I respect him greatly, but he had clearly gone over the number of allowed absences. The charter clearly states what the policy is, and he should have been expelled from the S.A., but they never took that issue up. Also, if a question comes up about whether a resolution is in line with the charter, let’s face it, the S.A. is not going to vote that it does violate the charter because they’re trying to get their legislation through. The way the system works now, it creates a serious probability of bias and conflicts of interest. One thing that will prevent infighting would be to allow this new committee to be in control of its own docket. Students on it would not be S.A. members, and they would serve until they leave Cornell. This way, they would not have to worry about making decisions that the S.A. did not agree with and would have more freedom and autonomy. CR: You also said in your platform about how the recent proposed cuts to the theatre, film and dance departments are unacceptable and cannot stand. Do you feel strongly about cuts to these particular departments? It’s clear that cuts are going to have to be made somewhere, so as V.P. how are you going to go about deciding where the cuts are or which groups have to face more cuts? Ray: The key issue here is that theatre, film and dance students here, like every student here, enhance the vitality of this campus. The key issue with these students is that their departments represent about half of the entire cuts for the arts college. Many on campus feel that that is unacceptable. That said, I do understand that we are facing major budget issues. We’re going to have to make cuts, but the key thing is that they have to be fair cuts. You can’t unfairly cut one department over the other departments. I was proud to stand behind theatre, film and dance students and look forward to standing with them next year as well.
Looking ahead: Ray Mensah hopes the SA takes a new course in the future.
The former C.R. chairman, Ahmed Salem, who was our chair for the ’07-’08 year, was also an S.A. member. So was Mark Coombs, who served as Executive Vice President. Make no mistake about it, I’m a conservative guy, but the approach that I will take is what I feel to be a common sense approach to these issues. I don’t intend to be partisan on these issues, I intend to do what I laid out in my platform and that’s to fight for students’ rights here. CR: What do you think about the status of conservatism at Cornell? Ray: Over the past few years CR: In your platform, you stated I have been pleased with the that you wanted to amend the SA direction things have been going, charter to create an “independent, with my organization as one student-run judicial body.” What example. We have been most specific issues would this judicial successful in bringing in great body address, and can you be conservative speakers. Over the sure that this body will enhance past two years we’ve had Mike the effectiveness of the Student Huckabee, John Ashcroft, George Assembly and not simply add Pataki, Luis Fortuño and Star another venue for the S.A. to duke Parker. That is a step in the right out internal politics? direction to let the campus hear Ray: Right, well you know the way the conservative points of view things stand now, if an organization CR: You had a very successful year on various topics. This upcoming is denied funding or not given as chair of the Cornell Republicans year, this is a big year, we have what they ask for, they can appeal in 2008-2009, do you intend to to try to get the vote out for some that decision to the Appropriations add any conservative flavor to the local candidates, Congressional Committee of the S.A. More than candidates. I definitely think that Student Assembly next year? half of this committee is made up Ray: One thing is for sure: the through the efforts of groups like of current S.A. students, and if this S.A. has too many liberals. That the Republicans, the Review, the committee turns the group down, has been the case at least since I’ve Libertarians even, the cause of they can appeal to the entire S.A. been here and I’m sure quite a while the conservatives, which I call the But the S.A. also includes those before that. It is very refreshing to common sense cause, has definitely same members who just turned know that conservatives on this been more pronounced on our them down, so right from the get-go, campus can get elected to the S.A. campus and I hope that that trend they’re not getting a fair hearing. I continues.
CR: Speaking of the current elections, would you yourself ever consider running for president and if so who would be your running mate? Ray: I’m just concerned with finishing out my time here at Cornell strong, being the best student that I can be, the best E.V.P. that I can be. I will try to keep fighting the good fight no matter what I’m doing. CR: Who is your favorite political icon and why? Ray: I’m going to name three. I respect, greatly, Clarence Thomas. His life story, his philosophy on the Supreme Court I find amazing and he’s definitely been a strong supporter of our freedoms. I also admire President Bush. Many people on this campus don’t, but I have no problems with saying that I do. He is a man of great principle who kept us safe after 9/11 and I thank him for that. Ronald Reagan, Lincoln, they were great guys, but I’d have to say Condoleezza Rice also.
Dennis Shiraev is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be contacted at des255@ cornell.edu. Zach Waller is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at zjw5@cornell. edu
March 17, 2010
Reader Response: ‘What the Frack?’ To the Editor: I am a landowner who would love see profits from hydrofracking on my land. I have no use for those who take an absolutist stand on the hydrofracking issue. I especially disdain opponents who want a permanent ban on gas drilling. If done right, gas drilling can provide jobs and benefit the economy. More importantly, it can increase our national security by reducing our dependence on foreign oil. Having said that, I have several problems with William Wagner ’s Feb. 17th column (“What the Frack”). First, he condescendingly implies that Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton, a hydrofracking opponent, can’t possibly understand the issues involved because she was a former high school English teacher. (“It is perhaps unsurprising that a
former high school English teacher would so misunderstand the reality of the issue.”) I note that Lifton received an MA in English and that Wagner is still a freshman. Is it too much to ask of Wagner that he at least finish his freshman year before attacking others for their lack of an appropriate educational background? Or if he insists that ad hominem attacks are the way to go, could he at least check his article for internal logic and consistency? In one part of the article he claims that 99.51% of the fluids used in hydrofracking consists of harmless sand and water and “the remaining .49% includes benign chemicals such as sodium chloride… citric acid… and guar gum… “. Yet later in the article he gives reasons why he thinks companies should
not be forced to disclose the chemical ingredients of their secret proprietary mix. On the one hand he says that the ingredients are harmless, and on the other hand he states that we don’t know what all the ingredients are. How can we know that the mixes are harmless if we don’t know what’s in them? F i n a l l y, Wa g n e r p a i n t s a distorted picture by dismissing Lifton’s credentials while failing to acknowledge that some of the most qualified people have reservations about rushing into hydrofracking. The issue is not so simple, and I urge Wagner to check out the December 30th issue of the Ithaca Journal. There he will see that the union representing “nearly 2000 professional, scientific and technical staff within the New York Department
of Environmental Conservation” asked Governor Patterson to delay drilling for at least a year so that regulators could conduct more environmental impact studies. It is important that we drill for gas, but we must not oversimplify the issue and we must do this right. As a landowner, I do not want to see a permanent ban. However, I also do not want to take unnecessary risks with my land. Taking the time to conduct necessary studies and issue necessary regulatory safeguards is the prudent way to go. It is far more prudent than, say, writing a column without bothering to check for internal consistency. Robin Messing is a landowner in Hector, NY. He graduated from Cornell in 1978 and can be reached at email@example.com.
Writer Response: Standing by ‘Fracking’ WILLIAM WAGNER STAFF WRITER
Thanks for writing in. You aptly identify several points as meriting further clarification. First off, I stand by remarks on Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton. An MA in English and subsequent high school teaching position, while indicating passion and aptitude for that particular topic, no better qualify Lifton to understand chemical complexities of hydrofracking than myself. Yo u c i t e a n a p p a r e n t inconsistency in my argument when I say the ingredients are harmless and later that we don’t know what they are. Let me clarify. The list of various hydrofracking compounds, which comes from the Department of Energy and the Ground Water Protection Council, that I included in the article is representative of the major components used but does not specifically include those held as trade secrets. The proposed legislation referred to in the original article would force mining companies to reveal these secrets as well. You’re right to say that we can’t be sure that everything in there is harmless, as we don’t know what it is. As result, the current state of affairs strikes an equitable balance between the desire to protect the public’s safety and to preserve the mines’ intellectual property and
artwork by Anthony Longo
economic viability. This might be likened to the unspecified “natural and artificial flavors” listed as ingredients in your favorite snack: it might be bad for you, but you don’t care since it’s so darn tasty. In much the same way, I believe the benefits of hydrofracking much outweigh the potential risks. I would agree with you that further studies are necessary, except they’ve already been done. Since 2004 the EPA has known that it’s safe, yet obstructions persist. As it turns out, there’s no end to the number of people looking to make a buck by going after the big bad mining companies. Hydofracking companies have been sued for causing anything
from cancer to earthquakes. As more enviro-nazis sign petitions to stop or delay drilling and legal fees are wasted on frivolous suits, mining becomes less viable as costs may grow to eclipse potential profits. Due diligence has been done, and endless calls for more unnecessary studies effectively amount to a permanent ban. Even supposing the exhaustive research done on the subject is wrong and hydrofracking might be harmful, there would remain a good case for pursuing it. In the worst case scenario, chemicals used might contaminate the local drinking water to potentially deleterious effect. Any such risks, however, could be mitigated by the
relatively trivial step of upgrading the water treatment facilities. Meanwhile, hydrofracking would, in short order, provide a boon to local economies while simultaneously serving to wean the US off of its oft-problematic dependency on foreign oil. Clearly, prudent hydrofracking would be the best course of action. Again, I’d like to thank you for your correspondence and wish you the best of luck in securing the right to use your own land as you see fit. William Wagner is a freshman in the College of Ar ts and Sciences. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
March 17, 2010
Minimum Wage: Helping or Hurting Our Nation’s Poor ROMAN LESKO STAFF WRITER
here are many programs that we as citizens of the United States take for granted as permanent fixtures of government. On Tuesday, March 2nd, Professor Burkhauser of the Policy Analysis and Management department gave a lecture open to the public in which he called into question the efficacy of one of these institutions: the minimum wage. Although the minimum wage is a small program in the grand scheme of government expenditures, it is of great importance to many because it is a prominent example of the efforts of our country to ensure that those who work receive a wage that they can live on. From a philosophical point of view, the debate over the minimum wage has been very heated throughout the history of the United States because its existence represents the power of the government to intervene in the markets and promote what is perceived to be a social good. However, throughout this debate, the question has remained, does the minimum wage truly accomplish what it was meant to do, or are there unintended consequences that compromise the goals of the program. Mark Twain once said “the trouble with the world is not that people know too little, but that they know so many things that ain’t so.” People have many preconceptions about economics and government programs in particular. Many individuals assume that the minimum wage policy affects the poor positively because it gives them a basic level of income from their job that they would likely not get if the market for labor were unrestrained. Empirical studies, however, have shown that increases in the minimum wage have had no effect on poverty rates and in fact reduce the employment of young, low skilled workers. Furthermore, since most minimum wage workers do not live in poor or even near poor families, the standard of living of the people that the minimum wage is supposed to help is not increased. Professor
Go to the
Burkhauser expanded on these misconceptions by presenting some research that clarified the unintended consequences of the minimum wage in New York. Research has shown that drastic increases in the minimum wage in New York have led to dismal results for the people that the policy was intended to help. For example, the minimum wage hikes have been shown to cause decreases in employment of between 5.9 and 8.3 percent for high school dropouts in the years of the minimum wage hikes (2004-2007). This drastic drop in employment is due to the high sensitivity of labor supply to changes in wages. The artificial floor on wages has therefore increased the wages of some workers at the expense of the jobs and livelihoods of a multitude of others. It is important to emphasize that these drop-offs in employment are not due to random changes in economic conditions either. Other states that maintained a constant minimum wage over the years that New York raised its minimum suffered from little to no change in their unemployment of high school dropouts. Ultimately, the
work a n d d e s e r v e a better living? Expanding the use of earned income tax credits is a far more effective approach and one that is supported by many economists. Essentially, earned income tax credits provide assistance to the deserving poor while not causing any distortions in the labor markets or any ill effects to employers. Supporters of the minimum wage need to seriously rethink the foundations of their beliefs for why such government action is necessary. It is true that there are numerous Americans who work hard and play by the rules that do not deserve to live in poverty. Although the minimum wage seems like a great program at the surface, it has tremendous negative repercussions in the labor markets and when all the pieces fall into place, the unintended consequences mount and it becomes clear that this policy is no way to move towards a more equitable society.
program that is meant to support the poor winds up harming people that are willing to work for a fair wage. In this nation, we have a mentality that those people who work hard should be able to make a decent living, and I feel that nothing can be further from the truth. However, we must abandon the thought that keeping a minimum wage is the only way to accomplish that goal. The fact is that 42 percent of the people who benefit from the minimum wage live in families that make at least three times the poverty level. Furthermore, only 11% of people who make less than the officially designated poverty line benefit from a minimum wage. Clearly, this is a very sloppy and inefficient policy to assist those people who work hard and deserve to make a decent living. Since the minimum wage reduces the employment of the most vulnerable workers and mostly helps people that are not in poor or even near poor families, we Roman Lesko is a senior in must seek to answer an important the School of Industrial and question: what is the best way to Labor Relations. He can be address poverty among those who contacted at email@example.com
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March 17, 2010
How Far We’ve Come ...and how far we have to go JOSEPH BONICA NATIONAL NEWS EDITOR
ne of the most exciting stories ever told is the story of the growth of the human race; how these hairless primates went from a group of genetic mutants in Africa to becoming the dominant species on the planet Earth. What is so exciting about this story is that much of it remains unknown. For centuries, scientists, philosophers, and religious have tried to tell the story of our race through their prospective mediums. Within the past ten years, humankind has been blessed with a great technology, DNA sequencing, that allows us to trace our journey through our own genetic code. This, however, raises interesting questions. How has the change in lifestyle from nomadic animals to largely sedentary ones changed our physiology? How has it changed our psyche? If our current trend countinues, what lies ahead for humanity? These are tough questions, but the talk “The Unforseen Cost of Civilization”, by new visiting Rhodes Professor Spencer Wells, attempted to answer them all. The talk, which consisted largely of excerpts from Wells’s upcoming book of the same name, said that DNA sequencing technology along with maps of gene concentrations all over the world allows us to see where certain genes originated from, and thus where the human race originated from. This is done by utilizing the genes as a sort of “molecular clock”; scientists can tell when a gene first appeared in a population by tracing it back through many generations, finding the originator of the gene in a certain population, and moving from that person, tracing farther and farther back until we find the initial population containing this gene. He discussed how civilization, as we know it, owes itself to the invention of agriculture, which evidence shows bloomed around the world at about the same time. This shocking coincidence begged the obvious question of why that time in world history, of all times, man decided to farm. The answer, said Wells, was the most recent Ice Age. With the massive worldwide decrease in temperatures, plants that early humans could simply have gathered died and became widely unavailable, to humans had to find some way to concentrate a large amount of this food into a certain area to feed their clans and families. The answer to this question, then,
Destination: What society awaits us? Photo by Columbia Pictures Corporation – © 1997
was domesticating certain plants like corn, rice, and peppers for agriculture. So, oddly enough, a global weather disaster led to the most important technological advancement in history. As humans have settled into civilization, says Wells, many things have improved. The life span of modern humans averages about 74 years for men and 77 years for women, which is more than double the lifespan of early humans. Oddly enough, though, was that this increase in life span only occurred within the past century or so, with the explosion in vaccines and disease treatments, and the easing of the dangers of childbirth for women. With longer lifespans and easier access to food, the human race has been able to advance its society by leaps and bounds, devoting brainpower to new technologies. However, notes Wells, the establishment of human civilization and urbanization has had negative effects on people as well. In modern society, the most prescribed drug among humans is antidepressants. The human race is as a whole simply not very happy (with many exceptions of course). One interesting reason why this is so, said Wells, is that we live surrounded by too many people. The argument was not that the planet is overpopulated; rather, that humans live among more people than their psyche is adapted to. A study by Wells shows that humans tend to associate in groups that max out at
around 150 people. This shows very striking parallels to a recent study which found that the average person either has or only keeps track of 150 friends Facebook friends at any given time. This, along with the stress and occasional monotony of human life, has had negative psychological effects on the human race. With our new knowledge of genetic tracking, Wells states, we can further advance the human race medically and otherwise. Current DNA technology allows us to grow human cells designed to be a match for organ transplants should they be needed. He illustrated this with a story coming out of Great Britain, involving a young boy who had a rare and severe blood disease which prevented his bone marrow from working properly. The best way to get a transplant, the parents were told, was to have a sibling and then transplant that marrow. The parents had another child, but alas that one was not a match. Desperate for help, the family came to the United States and had a designer embryo created which was created to be a match, implanted into the mother’s uterus, and then born naturally. Bone marrow was taken from this child, and the older brother was completely cured, being the first case of this disease ever to be cured. As for the designer child, he has been growing up like any child, receiving all of his parents’ love as if he had been conceived naturally. While a very nice story, situations like this become filled with potential moral rocky roads; when
asked if designer children would become the norm, Wells said, “We’re probably not headed to a world like in the movie GATTACA, but something like it.” Those like myself who have seen the movie, about a futuristic society in which naturally born children who are genetically inferior compose a class of oppressed servants to a higher, “test-tube baby” class, would likely have serious reservations about the development of this kind of society. Thankfully, many alternatives to this sort of treatment, like the isolation of adult and amnionic stem cells which are removed with no harm to the owner and can be grown into a specific organ for transplant, are currently being researched and are showing some very positive results. The development of the human society and civilization given from Wells’ biological and anthropological standpoint was truly an interesting journey. However, when discussing the role of genetics in mankind’s future, we must be careful to find methods that maximize medical results while causing minimal breaches of ethics and, if you’re a believer like myself, religious morality.
Joseph Bonica is a sophomore in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 17, 2010
Doc Barack Obama pushes health care to the brink ANTHONY LONGO STAFF WRITER
s the useless health summit continues, paraded by the self-appointed medical expert Barack Obama and his naughty nurse Nancy Pelosi, we are constantly reminded that it is not a forum to discuss opinion or express opposition. This is simply a victory parade for Commissar Obama, who is taking no concessions. His plan is effectively a one-sided socialized medicine where the government dictates the amount of money being repaid to doctors, but it does not control any other costs such as medical education or the physician’s overhead— staff salaries, rent, machinery, malpractice costs (that’s a big one), licensing fees, et cetera. As in most other countries that have adopted the burden of socialized medicine, the government subsidizes costs for students to attend medical school. According to AMSA, a medical student advocacy group, the medically-socialized countries China, Germany, Russia (and even Obama’s
father’s country Kenya) pay for the students to go to medical school. Why shouldn’t the US, which has just joined the ranks of the socialists, do so too? Let’s look at the stats. In America, the average amount of debt a student incurs due to medical school is $155,000, according to the AAMC. This is the average, not the upper bound, i.e. most students have to make this incredibly risky sacrifice. That is, of course, not to mention any debt the students acquired from college, which is also highly likely and highly expensive. Medical schools in other socialized countries, such as Great Britain and Germany, according to the AMSA group, cost very little (not to mention that in such countries the government shoulders the cost). Obama, in his zeal for medical reform, is quick to change every aspect of the American health care system in a few months, but he wavers on the actual issues such as malpractice reform and medical school costs. His intense and
costly training as a community organizer has taught him nothing. After all, health care is only a fifth of the US economy—just saying. As a pre-med, this is a fact I must deal with every day: there is absolutely no incentive for undertaking the soul-consuming process of becoming a doctor, besides of course, to help people. That is the only attachment that keeps me on the premed track. I, as do all of my fellow premeds, await hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt, a salary half of what current doctors make, government-mandated b u r e a u c r a c y, a n d u n e n d i n g malpractice lawsuits. If we don’t keep the medical career desirable and attainable, without being cost prohibitive, then we’re simply not going to have good doctors. I’m not talking about now or in six months—but in 10 or 20 years. If you’re a premed, this should enrage you. If you’re not a premed, then this should still enrage you because your future health care is at risk. But let’s look at the scam our own government is sponsoring: The individual p r e m e d
pays for his education, opens a practice, shoulders operational and staffing costs, and pays gross sums into malpractice insurance. But the government wants to control reimbursement—the compensation to the doctor. Please understand that the compensation does not all go into a doctor’s pocket; the majority of the monies go to pay for staff salaries, insurance, rent, et cetera. And also realize, the fed already does partially control compensation— because it controls Medicare. But that’s not enough for Commissar Obama. He wants everything to go to the federal government. I have a plea for our Community Organizer-and-Chief: stop being greedy, pay me back for tuition, pay my overhead, and then we can talk about total government control and making me an employee of the fed. Anthony Longo is a freshman in the Arts and Sciences. He can be contacted at email@example.com
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March 17, 2010
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Cornell Review XXVIII #9