The Cornell Review
An Independent Publication vol. xxxi, no. vi
The Conservative Voice on Campus cornellinsider.com
City Regulations Are Driving Up Your Rent Michael Loffredo Staff Writer
ike many urban centers throughout the United States, Ithaca’s Collegetown neighborhood is plagued with rising rent prices and a deteriorating housing supply. As a result, real estate developers cannot provide quality housing at reasonable rents to students. Housing reform needs to be made in order to ensure that students can find comfortable living space at a reasonable price. The only way to meet such demands is to remove limitations on real estate development.
11 Cornell Insider: Interview with Student Trustee Alex Bores
Government regulations are currently restricting private sector developers. They are preventing them from taking advantage of the full potential of the land they develop, thus constraining them to offer a limited housing stock. With demand of housing exceeding supply, the market produces higher prices than would provide optimal efficiency. Such regulations can be seen as a failure of land-use policy across the United States, and one of the major reasons quality affordable housing cannot exist in America’s greatest cities. Ithaca is no exception. In order to make Ithaca more livable for students, we must rethink some of the most restrictive land-use regulations imposed by the local government over the Collegetown area.
Ithaca is High Rent First, there is an off-street parking requirement in Ithaca mandating the construction of one parking space per three persons renting. In a building housing 300 students, for example, there must be 100 parking spaces. In response, Ithaca developers have three course of action, if they chose to build in Collegetown. They can build parking underground, build parking at ground level with housing above, or build a parking lot which takes up valuable city land. Even before one brick is laid in the construction process, the parking requirement alone constitutes up to
A Land-Grant Fishing Expedition
Measuring the Merit of Distribution Requirements By Lucas Policastro
rom a purely academic point of view, most undergraduate distribution requirements at Cornell are unjustified. Our function as a land-grant university is the starting point for any discussion of curriculum. As public servants-in-training—even those of us not in the contract colleges— our mission as students is to become proficient and productive members of society. The colleges must make this happen by teaching those proficiencies either by-the-major or via universal requirements (hereafter, “requirements”). So, how do requirements affect the land-grant mission? It is ironic that two of the three undergraduate contract colleges have the least restrictive requirements. Human Ecology is essentially fully tailored-by-major; ILR includes some humanities to break up the intensive college curriculum. The more preprofessional of the endowed colleges, AAP, Engineering, and Hotel Management, have some.
CALS has a moderate amount, but none compare to the behemoth liberal curriculum of the Arts school. How do these disparate approaches affect outcomes like public service, positive research output, and post-graduation employment? Unfortunately, we cannot make apples-to-oranges comparisons between the colleges due to their vast differences in structure and funding. Further, graduate unemployment (excluding those who go to graduate school) is not informative: 34% in Human Ecology; 4% in ILR; 23% in CALS; 18% in A&S (2011 survey data). Clearly, we need to ask better questions about the purpose and effectiveness of requirements, justifying their enormous impact on the academic landscape at Cornell. That sounds expensive and slow, so we can start by weighing current claims against the burden of proof. The Arts school claims that its liberal education “will change the way you think, challenge your assumptions, and make you take a
deeper look at the world around you. It will…prepare you for a lifetime of intellectual growth and adventure.” Gladly, having endured this adventurous process, I am indeed adept at challenging assumptions. Liberal requirements were romanticized centuries ago, long before modern policymaking practices were developed. Consequently, there is a severe lack of evidence that requirements are necessary for students to develop an advanced ‘personal epistemology’ during college. (Reading the Review, however, is essential.) Admittedly, it is difficult to perform experiments on students. Until social scientists swoop in and save the day, administrators ought to take a more open-minded perspective on how students prefer to prepare themselves for public service. Consider undergraduate research, one of the most enriching student endeavors. It allows undergrads to become highly proficient in a specific field of their choice, as well as practiced in the most modern, rigorous Continued on page 7
“We Do Not Apologize.”
December 4th, 2012 Editorial:
College Conservative Coalition The Future of Conservative Appeal
Flaws of the American pro-abortion argument Fordham’s attack on intellectual freedom A statistical perspective
and over a million dollars in capital and opportunity costs. That is money that could be used to improve the quality of housing built. It is money that also drives up the cost of rent for students. Considering that most students do not have cars on campus and that parking should not be the government’s problem to begin with, a policy without such regulation would prove more livable. Likewise, the city government imposes a regulation that limits building land coverage to 40%. In
Continued on page 5
Cornell by the requirements Undergrad-wide Two First-Year Writing Seminars and two physical education. Arts & Sciences Foreign language proficiency; five humanities with breadth; four math and science; 4-5 electives. AAP Out-of-college electives. Engineering Six humanities, language. Hotel Administration Foreign language; 18 cr. humanities/science; 24cr. free electives. CALS (contract college) Four humanities/language with breadth; communication; quantitative literacy; biology; chemistry or physics. ILR (contract college) Two humanities, one writing, one science. Human Ecology (contract college) Two natural sciences.
December 4, 2012
A Senior’s Reflections: Misha Checkovich From to Council Candidate to Early Graduation, My Parting Thoughts from the Hill Misha Checkovich Staff Writer
s the saying goes, Cornell is the easiest Ivy to get into, but the hardest one to get out of. The conditions here can be brutal, but they also offer an opportunity to sharpen your intellect and refine how you think about what you know, and more importantly, what you don’t know. It is no secret that the vast majority of people on campus and in the city of Ithaca are solidly left of center, if not radically so. For all of the chatter about diversity, the one type of diversity that most crucially needs to be addressed has fallen by the wayside: diversity of thought. We can have every color, every religion, every socio-economic background, every shade of gender and sexual identity along the continuum, but if these people, boxed into the Left's social demarcations all think exactly the same way about the issues, then we have fallen into the dark abyss of groupthink. What is the point of having Universities sell themselves as beacons of intellectual inquiry if the end result would be
the same as if we had all just gone to re-education camps? To address this issue from a conservative standpoint, only two things are necessary. The first is to know the facts. The late Daniel Patrick Moynihan summed it up succinctly: “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” We all know that the Republican Party and the conservative movement at large have taken a huge hit in that arena, given the monstrously false claims that sucked so much oxygen from the news cycle and the broader economic message that I will not repeat them here. Once liberals and conservatives work from the same set of facts, then we can move forward to a genuine, and perhaps even productive, debate. This is actually trickier than one might think. For example, the Bush tax cuts resulted in more revenue flowing to the federal treasury in the following years despite lower marginal tax rates. This will never stop the Democrats from blaming Bush for anything and everything, but it should be noted that the Bush tax cuts resulted in greater-than-expected
revenue to the federal treasury, not less, to correct one of the larger misconceptions floating around. This leads to the second point: do not be afraid. What I mean by that is don't let a fear of being unjustly labeled a racist or sexist or bigot or whatever hinders your expression of a conservative viewpoint, especially when you have facts to back up your position. But also, don't be afraid to admit when you might be wrong about something, and be open to other (fact-based) opinion. As impossible as it seems, liberals do argue with some irrefutable facts that we must address instead of dismiss. We cannot continue, and this goes for people on both sides, to dismiss the other viewpoint as being grounded in hate or ignorance or some other bad intent. Some people may come from that angle, but they cannot be allowed to dominate how we discuss issues with each other, especially
when we know people of good faith from all sides. I have met some incredible people on campus who are near-Marxists, and the hardest thing, but one of the most rewarding things, was to come to understand why they hold the opinions that they do. The exposure to their ideas helped me to understand better why I hold the opinions that I do. In short, you must know why you believe something, why other people believe another thing, and be able to confidently articulate the differences with facts and without fear. Misha Checkovich is a graduating senior in the College of Arts & Sciences. She can be reached at mcc254@ cornell.edu
The Next Generation of Politicians Lessons on Avoiding the Hubris of Modern Politics Caroline Emberton Washington Correspondent
few weeks ago, I attended a public lecture by Charles Murray at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, DC. The room was filled with DC interns eager to hear Murray talk about his book Coming Apart, which explores the cultural differences that have increased the disconnect between lower and upper-class white Americans. Though I was skeptical of some of Murray’s more controversial ideas, such as his belief that the U.S. should eliminate internships and the SAT, I took away some valuable lessons that I think most Cornellians would appreciate. Murray’s bold statements accurately describe the vast majority of well-educated America. Murray highlighted that unlike in previous decades, in recent years, high-I.Q. Americans now dominate elite colleges, marry each other, and often live near each other in overeducated cities like DC. Members of this upper-class send their children to schools with children from other upper-class families. They watch shows like Downton Abbey and Mad Men, not Judge Judy or Oprah. They physically and culturally isolate themselves from the rest of society. Why should the upper-class connect with the rest of society? Murray argues that
individuals who disconnect themselves from the lifestyles of other classes will end up making rash generalizations about the rest of Americans, whom they barely know. Murray criticized the often arrogant good intentions of the upper-class. He pointed out that people of the upper-class often claim that they know what is best for society, and think they know what is best for the vast majority of America. Often these well-educated Americans believe that the rest of society is not
and leaders will be far more capable of making wise decisions if they attempt to relate to and connect with the community. Underlying elitism is separating the classes faster than income inequality. Murray rests blame on both upper-class liberal and conservative individuals for this underlying elitism. He also suggests some ideas for the next generation of well-educated leaders to reduce this dissonance. He told the group of interns to spend two years in a foreign coun-
Often these well-educated Americans believe that the rest of society is not capable of making informed judgments about diets, politics, family, or jobs. capable of making informed judgments about diets, politics, family or jobs. For example, many are quick to label the Tea Party as ignorant white hicks without taking the time to actually talk to Tea Party members and understand their perspectives. If you are interested in public policy, politics, or law, you definitely must understand different perspectives in order to make the best policy decisions. The next generation of well-educated politicians
try. He said they should earn $2,000 of their own money, and book a one way plane ticket abroad. He suggested that they pick countries where they would be in the minority. (Sorry Downton Abbey fans, England does not count.) In addition, he said they should not speak the languages of their countries of choice, and should attempt to learn them while there. Bottom line: get out of your comfort zone. By learning to cope and adjust to new surroundings, you will
gain confidence in yourself and become more in tune with the lives of individuals different from you. If spending two years in Kuala Lumpur is not your thing, Murray has some reasonable solutions. He proposes that individuals of the upper class and lower classes engage in a community. They should talk to each other and know each other’s needs. In such an ideal society, individuals would be slow to generalize about each other and quick to bring their community together. That is not to say that the upper-class must give up their lifestyles. (You can still watch Downton Abbey.) After all, Murray himself is not afraid to embrace upper-class culture. He even left the lecture early to attend Don Giovanni with his wife. Instead, the next generation of well-educated individuals should be conscious of this gap between the upper and lower classes, and should take the initiative to connect with people unlike themselves. So maybe, when you graduate, you should move into a neighborhood where at least some of your neighbors are not your best friends from Cornell. Caroline Emberton is a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, spending the semester in the Cornell in Washington program. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Cornell Review
Founded 1984 r Incorporated 1986 Jim Keller Jerome D. Pinn Anthony Santelli, Jr. Ann Coulter Founders
Noah Kantro Alfonse Muglia Editors-in-Chief
Karim Lakhani President
Lucia Rafanelli Managing Editor Vice President
Katie Johnson Treasurer
Campus News Editor
National News Editor
Contributors Misha Checkovich Michael Loffredo Zachary Dellé Roberto Matos Caitlin Deming Mike Navarro Caroline Emberton Kirk Sigmon Andre Gardiner Bill Snyder Alex Gimenez
Emeritus Members Anthony Longo Lucas Policastro
Christopher Slijk Oliver Renick
Board of Directors
Christopher DeCenzo Joseph E. Gehring Jr. Anthony Santelli Jr.
Faculty Advisor William A. Jacobson 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 publish a spectrum of beliefs, 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 wellreasoned conservative opinion piece, we hope you will send it to cornellreview@ cornell.edu for consideration. The Cornell Review meets regularly on Mondays at 5:00 pm in GS 156. E-mail messages should be sent to
Copyright © 2012 The Ithaca Review Inc. All Rights Reserved.
December 4, 2012
College Conservative Coalition Alfonse Muglia Editor-in-Chief
n the wake of President Barack Obama’s victory in the November 6th Presidential election, young Republicans and potential Republicans are left wondering what is next for this political party. How will its leaders learn from the mistakes made over the last four years? The answer lies in how the next generation of liberty defenders will interpret, apply, and spread the philosophy that defines the American governmental model. This process begins with the interactions that are within our control. The conservative movement finds its timeless merit from a philosophical standpoint. This philosophy is based upon the basic principles that were first codified by mankind in the Declaration of Independence. They include the right to self-governance, limited government, checks and balances, republicanism, and federalism. These principals are so deeply embedding in the American conscious that they will not soon be forgotten, but they can be blinded by politics that focus on the issues only of the present day. The Republican Party lost the 2012 Presidential election, in part, because of its inability to connect its candidate with the principles that remain at the heart of the Party’s platform. Instead of standing for these basic values, the campaign led by Mitt Romney focused on the issues that they believed were important to most Americans. In doing so, Mitt was playing on the President’s battlefield, a field occupied with grassroots movements to win the issues that collectively make up the modern day Democratic Party. This was a matchup he could not win. The reason for President Obama’s control of the issues is two-fold. First, modern Republicans have shown an inability
to successfully anticipate the issues that are actually important to voters. The most glaring example of this was the fudging of the abortion question by multiple Congressional candidates. Meanwhile, other proponents of liberty were turned away by the Party’s handling of the immigration issue. As these examples shows, key voting blocs based their vote on issues that the Romney campaign either ignored or handled improperly. Secondly, the Republican Party also cannot win on issues because of the “Democratic Diction Monopoly.” In essence, the Democrats are winning the word game. They successfully argue that abortion is a right, by juxtaposing it with the word “choice.” Republicans are labeled anti-choice but are rightfully too moral to label the other side as anti-life. Nevertheless, an effective campaigner knows the importance of these semantics. The Party will not survive if its stance on the abortion issue is viewed publically as an
and base their ideology on moral principles, not the diction of blinding issues. This process begins on our Cornell campus and on campuses across the country, for this is where Generation Y will begin to make its impact. Not to mention that college is the ideal time to explore the various applications of the values that define our individual lives and society in general. We are too young and have too much potential to be blinded by issues that vote-seekers believe are important. In doing so, this College Conservative Coalition is carrying the same torch as Thomas Paine, Abraham Lincoln, Robert Taft, and others. It has the courage to discuss potential interpretations of the values these men preached. It applies these interpretations to daily life, and it encourages similar discussions amongst peers. It is now the goal of this publication to lead this discussion of values on campus, and analyze how they influence the issues
It is now the goal of this publication to lead this discussion of values on campus, and analyze how they influence the issues that student leaders attempt to tackle in the coming months. abridgement of choice. A logical conclusion, therefore, is that the Republican Party, and the conservative movement in general, finds its merit by standing for the values at the heart of the American experiment. The movement must rediscover this philosophical foundation. The focus now shifts toward the possibility for young conservatives—whether fiscally or socially—to return the political discourse to one based upon values. The evolving young conservative movement has the opportunity to bypass partisan stereotypes
that student leaders attempt to tackle in the coming months. With the educated, moral electorate that such a coalition would instill, the principles that established the rights of man and the limited role of government will survive, regardless of the issues of the present day. As Americans with an understanding of our place in history, what could be more important?
Alfonse Muglia is a junior in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. He can be reached at email@example.com.
The Review welcomes and encourages letters to the editor. Long, gaseous letters that seem to go on forever are best suited for publication in the Cornell Daily Sun. The Review requests that all letters to the editor be limited to 350 words. Please send all questions, comments, and concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Cornell Review
December 4, 2012
“Missing Girls” Katie Johnson treasurer
icki Saporta, president of the National Abortion Federation, was recently sponsored by the ILR Alumni Affairs and Development to talk on campus about what she believes it means to be pro-choice. The main point of her lecture was that “freedom of choice is more than a right, it is right,” and Saporta attempted to illustrate this with examples of women who needed abortions for health or financial reasons. Rather than desiring that abortion be safe, legal, and rare, Mrs. Saporta’s talk indicated that it should be safe, legal, and widely accessible. Saporta highlighted the cases where women have needed abortions for health or finance reasons. In terms of health reasons, she cited both physical and emotional health issues—a woman who needed chemotherapy and a woman who had been raped. She also decried the murder of Dr. George Tiller and seven other abortion providers. The struggles of women should not be dismissed, nor should the violence
that led to eight murders be condoned. But neither should the deaths of millions of babies by way of abortion or infanticide be taken lightly. Many conservatives are willing to allow abortion in cases of rape, incest, or safety of the mother. It is unlikely that the legalization of abortion will ever be reversed, for institutions, once placed, usually are not. However, not every abortion is caused by rape, incest, or danger to the mother. This is evident not only in the United States, but in many countries—most notably in China. This year, China underwent a transition in leadership, and women now make up about twenty-five percent of the political leadership. The
the country’s one child policy, many couples decided their only child had to be a boy. Though for many years it was illegal in China to learn a baby's gender before birth, many did so anyway, and if the unborn was female, an abortion may be performed. Even worse, if an ultrasound was not done to determine the child's sex, baby girls were killed shortly after birth. The male to female ratio, now around 6 to 5, is expected to cause a “huge societal issue.” Around a third of women in one village in China ad-
Around a third of women in one village in China admitted to having abortions for sex selection. figure is not too alarming, because the United States has an even lower percentage of women in government leadership positions, but NBC reported a growing concern about China’s “missing girls.” Because of
mitted to having abortions for sex selection. There is an argument that abortion has helped women in emergency situations, and it is true that for many women, having reproductive
Saporta Misses the Mark During Talk at Cornell
control (not just abortions, but lesscontroversial forms of birth control as well) has allowed them to sit at the tables of government leadership. But there are mothers who are leaders in government, including the “Mom Communists” in China. Many women who marry and have children choose to focus on raising their kids, and it can be difficult, though certainly not impossible, for mothers to be politicians. But when the use of methods of reproductive control becomes too extreme, it does not allow women to sit at the tables of leadership: it prevents them from doing so, as the millions of baby girls killed by abortion or infanticide might tell you if they could. Katie Johnson is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Is China the Next Superpower? Professors Discuss the Sleeping Dragon's Next Step Bill Synder Staff Writer
he Center for International Studies, on November 14, held a debate attempting to answer the question, “Is China the new superpower?” David Lampton of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and Aaron Friedberg of Princeton University critically debated China’s prospects as the new global power. China’s decade of economic expansion, with the second largest GDP in the world, might lead one to believe that China is in fact the next United States. However, these keynote speakers put both China’s recent advances, and problems, in a more global perspective. The mediator, our own Professor Allen Carlson, asked three major questions: (1) Is China the next superpower? (2) What is China’s global impact? And (3) how should the United States respond? While this was supposed to be a vehement debate over China’s current and future global power, both speakers had relatively similar answers: not yet. Despite all of China’s economic gains, China has yet to gain the substantial authority a
well-defined superpower maintains, such as military strength, established soft power, and a stable government. The economy, though a critically important aspect of a nation’s power, is not solely what makes a superpower dominant. For example, according to the speakers, China has claimed no real desire for global influence other than to maintain healthy trade. China’s military spending still remains between two
difficult goal that, if failed to meet, could challenge the political order of the Chinese nation. Therefore, according to the speakers, China’s growth in power comes with substantial obstacles. Where Professor Lampton and Professor Friedberg differed was their overall opinion on China in regards to American foreign policy. Professor Lampton argued for
China enjoys not only a substantially more free market economy, but also more political freedoms compared to Maoist China. and three percent of its GDP, which is significantly lower than that of the United States. As such, China’s only substantial increase in power is derived from its continued economic growth. However, according to Communist officials, the economy must continue to grow at a rate of at least 7% each year to maintain a prosperous and stable nation. While China has been successful thus far, this is a very
patience because of China’s accomplishments. Forty years ago, China was a completely controlled economy under radical Communist rule. Now, China is described as “capitalism with Chinese characteristics.” China enjoys not only a substantially more free market economy, but also more political freedoms compared to Maoist China. These advances in economic wealth and general freedom have, according to Lampton,
provided hope for a more politically friendly future for China. Professor Friedberg, on the other hand, argued for a more balanced approach to China. According to Friedberg, China has become much more capitalistic and progressive, but America must maintain a balance between power politics and economic placidity. China is not a democratic nation, and thus America must maintain global dominance in the face of Chinese aggressions. But this must not destroy the United States’ and China’s intertwined economies. China is no doubt a rising player on the global stage. With a quarter of the world’s population, and a skyrocketing economy, China certainly has promise. But its government is also faced with major obstacles. A growing economy and an increase in middle class citizens has put substantial pressure on the Communist government to reform, and economic inequalities threaten to divide the nation. It is difficult to be both communist and capitalist, and only the future will determine if China really is the next superpower. Bill Snyder is a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coulter ‘84 Denied Invitation by Fordham President Strikes at Intellectual Freedom
Kushagra Aniket National News Editor
arlier this month, celebrated conservative pundit and one of the founding editors of the Cornell Review Ann Coulter was denied an invitation by Fordham University and snubbed for her allegedly “hateful and provocative” rhetoric. The College Republicans at Fordham had invited Coulter to speak on campus on November 29. But the CRs were left astounded when President Joseph McShane attacked them for their decision with a “University Statement on Ann Coulter Appearance”. In his statement, Father McShane made it clear that he was disappointed by the students’ decision and that Fordham would not tolerate any “hate speech” on campus. He added that he would not like to censor Coulter from speaking but questioned the “judgment and maturity” of the students and encouraged them to cancel the event on their own. Left with few choices, the College Republicans capitulated and rescinded their invitation to Coulter. In an open letter addressed to the entire campus community, the club apologized for their failure to research Coulter’s political positions, which are apparently “inconsistent with the ideals of the College Republicans”. For this, they received a letter of congratulations from the president, who declared that there could have been “no finer testament
to the value of a Fordham education and the caliber of our students”. He applauded the students for passing their “test of character” with distinction and for “engaging in an impassioned but overwhelmingly civil debate on politics, academic freedom, and freedom of speech.” Fordham’s blatant double standards were exposed when the Dean of the College invited the controversial Princeton professor Peter Singer to speak on a panel about “animal ethics.” Peter Singer is a curious character who combines his aggressive defense of animal rights with his support for bestiality, active euthanasia, and the murder of innocent human beings. Given his radical and disturbing views on ethics, the man even refused to care for his mother suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, fearing that if he took responsibility, his mother might not continue to live. But regardless of Singer’s views, which stand in direct conflict with our Constitutional values, the college website hailed him as “the most influential philosopher alive today.” It is testimony to McShane’s astonishing line of reasoning that he finds Coulter’s pro-life views incompatible with the ideals of Fordham while celebrating the greatest advocate of infanticide known to the world. It seems clear that McShane’s conduct was a great blow to the
spirit of academic and intellectual freedom in which our colleges take pride. Besides being in opposition to the values that a Jesuit institution like Fordham claims to stand for, this unashamed suppression of free speech also unmasked the true face of liberal intolerance. What is even more regrettable is that the Fordham Republicans, despite facing dissent from their ranks, failed to hold their ground and cancelled the event. In the light of the dismal state of intellectual discourse on college campuses, the staff of the Review unanimously condemns Fordham’s politically motivated suppression of freedom of expression and sincerely hopes that this incident does not set a dangerous precedent for other institutions to follow. Kushagra Aniket is a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences. He can be reached at email@example.com. The author gives due credit to Professor William Jacobson of the Law School for breaking this news on his blog “College Insurrection”.
December 4, 2012
Collegetown Continued from the front page
the suburbs, this regulation would work fine, but we’re talking about apartments for students in an urban neighborhood. The other 60% of the land is valuable and should be used to increase the supply of housing. Without this regulation, developers would have more freedom in providing the kind of housing students want according to their needs, leading to maximum efficiency. Finally, most of Collegetown has a building height restriction of four stories, with a few places allowed six stories. A regulation in building height again limits the developer’s creativity in providing more housing at a better quality for lower rents. This would occur without decreasing the developer’s profit, as it allows for lower marginal building costs per unit. It is also much more environmentally friendly and economically sustainable—two characteristics the city of Ithaca should strive to promote. Thus, deregulating land use within the city would encourage creativity in the private sector. It falls upon our elected officials to understand the students’ voice and realize that the housing restrictions are crippling the student experience and greater Ithaca economy. Encouraging innovation in real estate development is the only way to bring about real housing reform in Ithaca and throughout the United States. Michael Loffredo is a sophomore in the College of Architecture and Art Planning. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applauding the Good and Criticizing the Bad Bill Synder Staff Writer
recently attended the last meeting of the semester of Student Assembly. At this meeting there were a variety of resolutions passed, some of very suspicious merit. But given my last post regarding diversity, it has come to my attention that some people may misconstrue the Cornell Review for simply attacking the Student Assembly. As such, this post will both speak against some of the initiatives that have been passed as well as give credit where credit is due. One of the major resolutions discussed was the expansion of the Students Helping Students grant. I applaud the Student Assembly for making this grant more available. It provides more students with privately donated funding to help students in their time of need. This initiative also seems to provide more
Resolution 27 - Expanding Availability of the Students Helping Students Grant assistance to a wider variety of students, whom the university would be unable to help. As such, this is not only a very beneficial resolution for the university, but it is also a program more students should be aware of. Another initiative I would like to promote is Resolution 22, regarding a more comprehensive health and safety information sessions during Orientation Week. This is a very useful program that the university should be more involved with and it is a relatively simple process that helps the majority of students. Again, my hat goes off to Student Assembly for making sure these initiatives are discussed and passed. However, Student Assembly did discuss a particularly suspicious issue, that being the social justice requirement. Student Assembly is currently working towards requiring
every student to take a class that involves social justice. This line of thought is particularly troublesome because I believe most students are unaware that this is occurring, and thus Student Assembly may be pursing an initiative that most students really don’t want. In any case, the social justice requirement is the embodiment of political correctness and liberal bias in higher education institutions. What is social justice? If it is programs that involve government or otherwise systematic correcting of social behavior, then this is a particularly dangerous and questionable program. Furthermore, to force students to take more classes that will provide either no benefit or even harm to their education is a goal Student Assembly certainly should not be spearheading. As such, I would ask every student to
evaluate the work they do at the university? If they dislike a particular aspect of their education, then they should question who is responsible because it may be something you can prevent. With any institution that has power, there is bound to be beneficial and harmful actions put forward. As a student journalist, it is my job to highlight the damaging initiatives for the students. But there should always be room for pointing out the good that any organization does. And it is my hope that the Student Assembly will recognize this as well. Bill Synder is a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences. He can be reached at email@example.com.
December 4, 2012
Sexual Violence at Cornell O
ver the course of the semester, Cornell has seen several high profile and horrific acts of sexual violence on campus. These acts are sadly a consistent part of college life, one that is a terrible blemish the institution of Cornell. The student outcry has been appropriate in its sense of public outrage, but has been misguided in many respects.
I would like to mention a couple of things before I start. This article does not mean to diminish the importance of rape awareness or the efforts of many concerned citizens on campus. There is absolutely no place in this world for such a terrible crime and it is the responsibility of everyone at Cornell to report observed incidences of it.
Instead, this article is written to provide clarity on rape in general, and to stress effective allocation of both personal and financial resources. Nationally, the incidence of rape has been flat over time. Although there was an uptick during the 1960s and 1970s, since the 1980s the overall rate has been flat. As you can see in Chart 1 and Regression 3, the rate of rape is not sensitive to the passing of time, common causes of crime in general, or standard prevention strategies. While there is a degree of variance in the overall rate, nationally the average has been flat at 48.8 per 100,000 since the 1980s. Also, please note that, while I have provided Regression 2, which shows an increasing rate of rape, to show the progression of analysis, in my mind Regression 3 employs the proper method of analysis. While there is a higher degree of variance within Cornell reported sexual assault data, as well as a more limited data set, a basic analysis indicates that on average, there are between two and three forcible rapes on campus per annum. This indicates that the acts of sexual violence over the semester have not deviated from the five-year average. Given this fact, it is safe to say that the student and administrative response has been due to the public nature of the attacks, not a statistically significant spike in the number of rapes. As an institution, Cornell is naturally
I think it is safe to say that the student and administrative response has been due to the public nature of the attacks, not a statistically significant spike in the number of rapes. very interested in preserving its reputation. And as buyers of a Cornell education, this is very important to students as well. That does not mean that Cornell does not care about sexual violence on campus, but the school has multiple priorities. Take for example, the issue of suicide on campus. Due to a series of high profile deaths, Cornell decided to spend a large amount of money putting up fences and installing nets to stop jumpers. This happened despite the fact that Cornell has a statistically normal suicide rate and that there is no conclusive evidence showing that nets prevent suicides. While there is a possibility that Cornell has better numbers than I do, the decision more likely was designed to shore up the schoolâ€™s Continued on the next page
Continued from the left reputation and legal liability. The Onion summed it up well in an article about our suicide prevention nets: “I imagine nets are probably more cost-effective than providing suicidal students with psychiatric care and medicine.” The same is true of the school’s response to rape on campus, and the student governments’ response to other high profile incidents. Efforts to expand the Blue Light Shuttle service, while popular among certain representatives, would have no impact on the rate of rape on campus, even if successful. While the expansion might change the nature of the attacks slightly, I think even that is a stretch. Meanwhile, it is a costly measure ($395 a night) that creates the illusion of safety, rather than true safety. The same can be said about late night monitors and other preventative measures the Assembly proposed. My article so far has not dealt with the issues of date rape and unreported rape. These are definitely matters that needs to be dealt with. In my mind, they are areas of sexual violence in which preventative measures can actually reduce the overall rate of rape. However, little that the administration or Assembly has proposed will impact that type of crime. The last thing to note is, of course, certain articles and initiatives promoted by members of the student body, such as “educational” seminars on rape for freshman and even Cornell employees. While it would be premature to comment on any initiative without knowing program content, here are a couple of thoughts. First, the Cornell party scene has drastically changed over the last two years, and this fact indicates that maybe blanket education initiatives are irrelevant for a large portion of the student body. Second, I have doubts about how effective such initiatives would actually be. For better or worse, Alcohol and drugs tend to cause people to forget tedious freshman information sessions. Finally, I think that such efforts would ignore more effective rape prevention strategies such as responsible drinking, the buddy system, and generally safety-conscious behavior. Sexual violence on campus is something we as a student body need to combat in every element of our lives. Although proposed efforts are appealing, they are costly and not the most effective measures. What we need is a true dialogue about sexual violence on campus, not freshman lectures. While I am not sure what an open discourse should look like, or how to implement one, I do know that a top down approach is not going to change mindsets or behavior. Contact the Review at firstname.lastname@example.org.
December 4, 2012
What’s So Special About Gaza? Kushagra Aniket National News Editor
ince November 7, at least 14 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in protest against Chinese occupation. The most recent incident of self-immolation occurred yesterday in China’s northwest province of Qinghai when Sangdhak Tsering, father of a three-year old son, burnt himself alive. Tsering had always told his wife that a life without freedom was not worth living. But amidst clampdown by the Chinese military, Tsering died an unsung death. There were few reports in the media, let alone an international outcry on the issue. The exiled Tibetan Government in India mourned the death of the immolators while making an appeal to the Tibetans to cherish their lives and carry on their struggle through peaceful forms of protest, irrespective of the magnitude of oppression. The history of the repression of the Tibetan people is as brutal yet as simple as you can get in this world. There is no doubt that over the last 60 years, Beijing has not only denied the Tibetans’ demands for selfdetermination but also suppressed their language, religious identity and civil liberties. But Tibetans have never retaliated with violence of any comparable degree. They have never taken civilians as hostages, never launched missile attacks on China and never committed atrocities on dissenters. Not surprisingly, there are no Buddhist suicide bombers in the world. Yet the Tibetan cause for independence has never received as much attention and support from the international community. Today there is no country in the world that claims to stand for the rights of the Tibetan people. But while nations are constrained to pursue their own diplomatic interests, there is nothing that stops people living in democratic societies from voicing their support for Tibet. In the wake of the recent incidents of self-immolation, there should have been at least a small demonstration
Requirements Continued from the front page applications of knowledge. It is almost never a course requirement, and it is usually pursued directly by the student, for disproportionately few credits, with little to no help from the standardized curricula. In fact, it is the antithesis of the requirement. It competes directly with distribution courses on eager students’ schedules. Now, read once more the Arts school’s claim about liberal education: “…change the way you think, challenge your assumptions, and make you take a deeper look at the world around you…prepare you for a lifetime of intellectual growth and adventure.” It could just as easily be talking about research. What is
of solidarity with the people of Tibet at Cornell. Even a small gesture of support from the student community and from the numerous Asian organizations on campus could have conveyed a powerful message to the people of Tibet, whose spiritual leader Dalai Lama has a seat at the Namgyal Monastery in Ithaca. But even if Tibet seems to be too remote, there was nothing to stop us from condemning the massacre of 30,000 civilians by the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Students at Cornell could have played their own part in pressuring the Obama administration to intervene in Syria and provide military assistance to the opposition forces. Nevertheless, Cornell remained silent. Not a single voice was heard. It is sill conceivable that some of us might be too busy or too stoic to care about events that have to do with the people of other countries. But on the fateful night of September 11, US Ambassador Christopher Stevens was assassinated along with several others after Islamists attacked the American consulate in Benghazi. Regardless of the fact that Stevens had risked his life to ensure the downfall of Gadhafi’s dictatorship, the militants of Libya did not spare him. But even when all the right thinking citizens of world came together to denounce
"I will never allow a single Israeli to live among us on Palestinian land." —Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian President
the value in such a broad claim? It seems more likely that the supposed worldliness and mental hunger of Arts students is merely an artifact of selection bias, those socially-minded students having applied to the Arts school in the first place. There is a great deal to learn from requirements in the humanities and elsewhere, but it is imperative that students be allowed to seek mental maturity in their field of choice. Would the productivity and average GPA of Engineering students go up if they could replace their humanities with study time or sleep? Would students get more out of a stint at the Cornell Daily Sun or the Cornell Review in lieu of a Freshman Writing Seminar? How many students ever use their foreign language for more hours than they spent learning it? Getting to the core of the matter:
the attack on the American consulate, most Cornellians had nothing to say apart from offering excuses for a crude and offending video. So, while I do not condone any acts of violence against innocent people by anyone, the events of the past few days have led me to ask this question: What is so special about Gaza? And what is it that propelled some Cornell students today to come out against the “savage assault Israel is currently carrying out on a nearly defenseless Gaza”? What great force motivated them to renounce their apathetic silence and call on the University administration to issue an official condemnation of Israel? I don’t pretend to know the answers but one should not be afraid to ask difficult questions. Kushagra Aniket is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at email@example.com. how many students actually want requirements, regardless of whether or not they enjoy them? We should be frightened that so many basic questions remain about the validity and cost-effectiveness of broad requirements, especially amidst high graduate unemployment, increasing tuition, and a world increasingly in need of advanced professionals. In the absence of data on requirements, our colleges ought to look to their own critical, publicbenefit-driven programs—the ones we came for—rather than burning credits at the altar of Arts & Sciences. Lucas Policastro is a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, and is a former Editor-in-Chief of the Cornell Review. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
December 4, 2012
The Affirmative Action Band-Aid Kirk Sigmon Columnist
Right on the Law
he Supreme Court is poised to potentially make affirmative action a violation of the Equal Protection Clause. Prepare yourselves: the Left is going to have an aneurysm. But it really shouldn’t—a ruling making affirmative action a violation of the Equal Protection Clause would be less about racists “winning” and more about a positive shift in society. For some time, the Supreme Court has accepted affirmative action in the way party-goers handle a drunk, vomiting fratboy: they have tolerated it, albeit with great disdain. Current affirmative action law hinges around two cases—Grutter v. Bollinger (2003) and Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978)—that essentially hold that, under strict scrutiny analysis, affirmative action by the State is legal only insofar as government actors consider race, but do not create quotas for specific racial groups or ethnicities. At the moment, this logic is still good law, but in Grutter, Justice O’Connor explicitly gave it a sunset provision: “We expect that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interest approved today.” The Grutter Court wasn’t kidding around about this time limitation: it explicitly required that current affirmative action programs have a “logical end point” and be “limited in time.” In other words, under the exacting standards of the Court’s strict scrutiny test, affirmative action is only justified as a temporary fix to fight the specter of pervasive racism in society, and as that specter recedes and America becomes less divided, the State becomes less and less justified in implementing affirmative action programs. Nearly ten years later, the Court may be poised to declare that the specter has (at least somewhat) receded and that strict scrutiny no longer permits affirmative action. The Court recently granted certiorari in Fisher v. University of Texas, a case involving two women who allege that they were denied admission to
the University of Texas because its admissions program took race into account (and thus, at least by inference, equally or less qualified applicants were admitted instead of the two women due to their race). The fact that the Court even granted certiorari in this case is strong evidence that the Court wishes to re-analyze Grutter, leading many commentators to believe that Grutter may soon die a quick death and affirmative action by the State may be henceforth declared a violation of the Equal Protection Clause. Is the death of Grutter a desirable result? Yes, regardless of the fact that discrimination may still exist today.
African-Americans may no longer have to worry about being deliberately pushed into a segregated school, they now deal with a culture that promotes “us-vs.-them” thinking through music lyrics, “ethnic” television shows/channels, and the like. Affirmative action isn’t exactly poised to fix a racist culture—it just (at least theoretically) helps fight against the systemic manifestation of historical racism in education. Thus, while affirmative action may have been a valuable approach to fighting societal racism as early as ten years ago, it is increasingly less so today as racism changes in form and effect and as schools are less blatantly segregated.
Grutter and cases before it—even Brown v. Board of Education—were decided with the image of historical racism in mind, and the entire concept of affirmative action was struc-
The problem is that affirmative action, in many ways, encourages the us-vs.-them mentality that can foster the cultural discrimination which erodes society. When uni-
The problem is that affirmative action, in many ways, encourages the us-vs.them mentality that can foster cultural discrimination which erodes society. tured around the idea that certain minority groups in America needed help fighting against discrimination that was sewn into the fabric of American society. In this sense, affirmative action was not a perfect solution or even a great one—it was a Band-Aid slapped on a bleeding wound in society implemented in order to fix a massive issue that couldn’t be remedied with slow surgical precision. But today, discrimination is shifting in form, and affirmative action may very well be holding back societal recovery. At its worst, discrimination in America was institutionalized in the law—from restrictive property deeds to elections. This discrimination manifested itself in education, from explicitly “black schools” to de facto segregation of minorities in school districts. But discrimination is becoming less institutional and more cultural. While
versities across America blatantly give imaginary points to applicants of a different race, they draw lines in the sand between races, determining who is a “minority” and who is in the nebulous “majority.” Admitted and unquestionably qualified “minority” students often find themselves with an imaginary asterisk placed upon their admission to a prestigious school by those suspecting their admission was the result of affirmative action instead of hard work and intelligence. Programs like those operated at the University of Texas are sometimes blatantly racist, making questionable decisions like lumping all applicants from Asian countries into an “Asian” category despite the enormous variety of cultures present in Asia. And, as a recent article in the New York Times noted, affirmative action has caused significant harm to Asian-Americans, who are frequently finding themselves
rejected to schools of their choice as those schools deliberately avoid admitting a disproportionately “Asian” entering class. In other words, where the government has forced various racial and ethnic groups apart through programs like affirmative action, it has discouraged those same groups from merging back together. If we want to help minority applicants be competitive in the application pools of top schools, the solution to the problem is fixing the terrible public school systems that under-serve these students, not assigning imaginary points. Minorities wouldn’t need imaginary University of Texas-style points if local school boards—especially those in inner cities—did not create cesspit schools filled with incompetent (yet somehow tenured) teachers and hopeless students. Why should affirmative action fix on the back end what reform (or even privatization) of public schools could fix on the front end? Admittedly, there very well may be some purposes served by affirmative action, and the proverbial bleeding wound of discrimination may very well have not sealed up like many think it has. Nonetheless, now more than ever, it appears that affirmative action may cause more harm than it causes good. Fisher v. University of Texas isn’t about whether discrimination exists, it isn’t about WASPs trying to take over America, and it certainly isn’t an attempt at bringing back Jim Crow laws. It is about society growing and considering ripping off the BandAid. It seems like it’s about time. Kirk Sigmon is a graduate student in the Law School. He can be reached at email@example.com.
December 4, 2012
Tocqueville’s Prophecy Fulfilled A Warning from the 19th Century Revisited
Roberto Matos Columnist
The Clarion Call
s with most things, the 2012 election’s outcome should be examined through the lens of a decidedly historical interpretation. Therefore, we shall seek the answers to our questions in the past, for our upcoming future was predicted more than a century ago, and by a foreigner at that. During his travels across the United States, which was still in its embryonic stages during the 1830s, Alexis de Tocqueville’s aristocratic convictions were challenged by the utterly unique and exceptional political culture he encountered here on the bustling North American continent. There can be little doubt that he was impressed with the economic opportunities associated with upward social mobility offered in the States, and found stimulating the narrative of the “Common Man”, which was embodied in the life of the illustrious President Andrew Jackson. But Tocqueville did not hesitate to express some disquiet about what he defined as the potential for the “tyranny of the majority” to dominate and for the emergence of a so-called neo-aristocracy of manufactures which might tyrannize the citizenry. These worries have been exhaustively and tirelessly discussed by academics in the intervening years and will be ignored here. But one of Tocqueville’s less publicized reservations concerned the vulnerability of the democratic citizenry itself. His warnings undoubtedly bear quite heavily on the electoral happenings which recently swept the US and bear just as severely on the cultural implications we can now clearly observe. He asked: Would Americans grow so obsessed with the promises of upward social mobility and the hypnotic narrative of “equality” that they would ultimately be willing to sacrifice their liberties to an all-encompassing and ostensibly benevolent mega-state in exchange for promises to secure their material comfort and protect them from the rigors of the civic landscape? After all, if the citizenry is so moved by its infatuation with material acquisitions and personal effects, it would surely be prone to voluntarily surrender its agency and power to the government in order to secure the abundant benefits of the state. Tocqueville feared that the people would be bribed. Indeed, promised Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, the day would come when conditions would motivate the citizenry to turn in complete exasperation, after shallow disillusionment with “freedom”,
and eagerly seek to inaugurate the rise of an “‘immense and tutelary power”, which “takes it upon itself” to “secure [their] gratifications, and [which would] watch over [their] fate.” Hoping to be parented and spoon fed for the sake of placating their growing list of petty tastes and material demands, the citizenry would sow the seeds of its own future domination by willingly surrendering its powers to an expansive, growing, parentally benevolent guardian. Hence, the citizens will embrace a culture of dependence by becoming co-conspirators in their own undoing: the state will in effect “keep [them] in perpetual childhood” out of overweening concern for their own welfare. Instead of relying on individual initiative and self-determination, the democratic citizenry can now be said to hail the state as its “sole agent and the only arbiter of [its] happiness.” This scenario is pitifully ironic (and sounds remarkably familiar to modern observers), because the
In light of the Frenchman’s warnings, we can now declare with confidence that the foundation of the American political tradition has irreparably shifted its course and, frankly, its cultural trajectory, just as was predicted. The bulk of the American electorate now appears to no longer be motivated by the stout and reliable ethos of rugged individualism, personal agency, and self-reliance. The recent election’s results bespeak the fundamental sentiment of our new national character, one we can now characterize as the cheerful surrender of our national exceptionalism. Once animated and spiritually motivated by promises premised on the principles of free enterprise and cultural independence from external societal “assistance” (mostly Federal interference), key demographics of the American political community have enthusiastically celebrated the replacement of the entrepreneurial culture with both the entitlement culture and the victimization narrative (the culture of excuse-mak-
Hoping to be parented and spoon fed for the sake of placating their growing list of petty tastes and material demands, the citizenry would sow the seeds of its own future domination by willingly surrendering its powers to an expansive, growing, parentally benevolent guardian. formerly free citizens shall slowly slide into a state of firm dependence on its overlords ruling the state apparatus, and this robs them of their free thinking and freely-wielded faculties, and hence “free agency” is the primary and ultimate victim of this new arrangement: “Thus it everyday renders the exercise of the free agency of man less useful and less frequent; it circumscribes the will within a narrower range, and gradually robs a man of all the uses of himself.” It “reduces [them] to be nothing better than a flock of timid [...] animals, of which the government is the shepherd.” Tocqueville's clairvoyance clearly extended to the 21st century. He accurately envisioned the emergence of an all-encompassing nanny state that would, in the spirit of benevolence, “provide for their security, foresee and supply their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manage their principal concerns, direct their industry, regulate their descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances. What remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living.”
ing). They now insist upon the rapid acceleration of policies consistent with Cultural Marxism. They now embrace what Tocqueville astutely branded “perpetual childhood”. The cozy crib of the ostensibly benevolent governmental parent is simply too irresistible. Contrasting the two philosophies, Tocqueville wrote, “That power is absolute [...] provident [...] and its object [is] to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided that they think of nothing but rejoicing. For their happiness such a government willingly labors”— meanwhile, the skills of its citizens atrophy due to open refusal to cultivate and work in the name of selfreliance and personal autonomy. Independence be damned! In short, the once venerated narrative of personal initiative was utterly rejected in a second straight election. What is more, policies geared toward empowering both the private sector and the private citizenry to innovatively cultivate its ingenuity through aggressive removal of restrictive and burdensome
impositions by the government seem to have been successfully rebuffed. Terms like “job creation”, “personal responsibility” and “self reliance” are either scoffed at or construed as selfishly provincial concepts. Any statesmen caught using them are dismissed, ruthlessly belittled, dubbed heartless, denounced as cruel and greedy, and altogether condemned as anachronistic. The children of the entitlement culture yearn for the expansion of their safety net regardless of the costs, regardless of the price their own creative capacities experience. Eagerly seeking gratification from their bureaucratic parents, they now wallow in the culture of dependence, perpetual childhood and voluntary surrender of their own abilities, and await the spoils of class antagonism. This seems reminiscent of what Tocqueville brands timid flocks of animals refusing to elevate themselves to manhood (workhood). Hence, the steadily intensifying vilification of the tradition of robustly individualistic self-reliance has become mainstream rhetorical fodder for the consumption of the masses and election campaigns of cunning public officials (not statesmen). We are helpless to deny that for decades our academic establishment, our elite press outlets, and our entertainment mediums (popular culture) have cleverly pursued a strategy aimed toward undermining the cornerstones of self-reliance by large and expanding segments of the electorate. These new segments are nothing more than “an innumerable multitude of men, all equal and alike, incessantly endeavoring to procure the petty and paltry pleasures with which they glut their lives”, as Tocqueville warned. They voluntarily sow the seeds of their own subservience, and have become the enthusiastic architects of their own spiritual degradation. Roberto Matos is a sophomore in the School of Arts & Sciences. He can be reached at rlm387@ cornell.edu.
December 4, 2012
Under the Radar
California’s Silent Stand Against Civil Rights Lucia Rafanelli Managing Editor
A Fortnight of Follies
ur nation decided the answers to many questions on November 6th, some more publicized than others. One that perhaps did not get the publicity it deserved was California’s Proposition 35. Nominally a proposal to increase the penalties for sex trafficking, Prop 35 contained another provision that should have been—though apparently wasn’t— very controversial. Namely, Prop 35 requires all registered sex offenders (not just those convicted of sex trafficking) to continuously register their Internet service providers and identifiers (such as user names) with the government. Disturbingly enough, no one—not even the proposition’s eerily rare opponents—seemed to notice this egregious civil rights violation until after it passed with an overwhelming 81% of the vote. To their credit, the American Civil Liberties Union did come out against Prop 35 and has now filed a lawsuit to stay its enforcement. However, their involvement could have and should have been much more public. It is beyond me, for instance, why the ACLU didn’t write against the proposition in California’s voter information booklet. This booklet is published by the office of the California Secretary of State, is available online, and is distributed to registered voters statewide. It contains summaries of each proposition on the ballot, as
Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University
well as arguments for and against each submitted by various supporters and opponents. But the ACLU wasn’t featured
For those who do not know, Norma Jean Almodovar is a former Los Angeles police officer, the title of whose book From Cop to Call Girl pretty
[T]he day we as citizens start ignoring small but definite attempts to revoke our civil rights and liberties will be a dark one for democracy and for human freedom. in the pamphlet as an opponent of Prop 35. In fact, the only ones writing against it were Norma Jean Almodovar, Starchild, and the president and CFO of an organization called Erotic Service Providers Legal, Education, and Research Project, Inc.
much says it all. And Starchild, too, is an “erotic services provider” and an outspoken Libertarian activist. On the other hand, proponents arguing for Prop 35 in the voter booklet included multiple self-proclaimed human trafficking survivors,
the California Police Chiefs Association, and a county District Attorney. So, you don’t need a degree in political science to be able to tell who was winning the PR war on Prop 35. If you could call it a war—or even a low-grade military action. According to a California PBS station, not a single financial contribution to an anti-35 group was ever reported. And this is opposed to the over 200 contributions reported to have been made in support of Prop 35. Among Prop 35’s financial backers were the National Education Association and the California Teachers Union, whose political clout in the state could possibly help explain the lack of public opposition to the proposal. The take-away point from all this, though, is that there were virtually no visible opponents to Prop 35 who were not involved with the sex industry. And even those opponents, in their voter booklet arguments, did not cite the requirement that sex offenders register their online identification information with the state as a reason to vote against it. California’s normally vocal and tumultuous political community was curiously quiet about this issue and seemed curiously unaware of the dangerous precedent Prop 35 sets for the privacy rights they are normally so adamant about protecting. With any luck, this issue and others like it will not remain out of the spotlight, for the day we as citizens start ignoring small but definite attempts to revoke our civil rights and liberties, will be a dark one for democracy and for human freedom. Lucia Rafanelli is a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Too Soon to Think About 2016? A Case for Governor Bobby Jindal Karim Lakhani President
Coffee with Karim
’ve been told it’s time to take the Romney sticker off my laptop and face reality. Looking back at this election season, I’m still unsure exactly when things went wrong. It seemed so certain: we had a President with over eight percent unemployment competing against a candidate with a clear plan to produce jobs. Despite this fact, over sixtytwo million people chose to reelect President Obama. In losing, we have been given an opportunity to learn, and now have four years to produce a candidate who is able to attract a wide range of voters. For some, considering who will run in 2016 is a conversation for a future date. But for me, the
future is all that we have to look forward to. There is one Republican, in my mind, who would be an exceptional Presidential candidate: Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. Though he has not formally announced his candidacy, Governor Jindal recently obtained national coverage by criticizing Governor Romney’s “gift” comments and argued that Republicans must fight for each vote and must stop saying stupid things. To some, the 2012 election was proof that Republican ideals are no longer desired in this country. Governor Jindal, on the other hand, is arguing that success for Republicans will come not from a change in ideology, but a change in rhetoric. From statements about the fortyseven percent of Americans to assertions of “legitimate” rape, conservatives this election season have found various ways to alienate voters who may have ultimately agreed with their core beliefs. Instead of using
offensive slogans, Jindal believes that conservatives must develop detailed policy initiatives and trust the intelligence of voters to make the right decision. Further, Jindal is an individual that can inspire two groups that the Republicans failed to attract during the 2012 election: the youth and minorities. A minority who is the son of Indian American immigrants, Jindal’s early success, from his Rhodes Scholarship to his twoterm governorship, has given him an inspiring background that, coupled with his views, can attract minorities, college students, and also the more typical conservatives. As an Asian-American, I am personally inspired by Governor Jindal’s brilliance, success, and steadfast belief in his ideals. Though I don’t agree with all of his views, he has proven to be an effective leader in the State of Louisiana, improving the health care system there while cutting its costs. Additionally, he
understands that the rhetoric of the Republican Party must return to its core value of inspiring Americans towards the American Dream. So, before I can take off my Romney sticker and face reality, I want to be assured that my laptop can soon advertise the name of a capable Republican candidate like Bobby Jindal. Karim Lakhani is a junior in the School of Hotel Administration. He can be reached at kml248@cornell. edu.
December 4, 2012
CORNELLINSIDER.com An Interview with Alex Bores
Posted by Laurel Conrad
Freshman year, I was first introduced to Alex Bores through his Student Trustee campaign rap video. It featured Bores in different spots on campus, both dancing and passionately conversing with students. He went on to win the position, and since then has had a major presence on campus. This morning, Bores sat down to talk with me in the Ivy Room about his experience as a student leader (or, as he would rather be called, “someone who is involved in the student’s governance process”.) In his personable interview, Bores reveals how he became so involved on campus. He also shares advice for future Student Trustees as well as other ambitious freshmen. Finally, he discusses his plans for the future after graduation this year. To my disappointment, no rapping or dance moves were involved. Review: Let’s start off with your background. Among other things, you are involved in Cornell Forensics, which is ranked #1 in the world. You have served as the elected Student Trustee. What is your story on how you got involved on campus? Bores: When I came to Cornell, I had very different ideas of what I wanted to get involved with than what I ended up getting involved with. I had done high school debate, and thought I was sick of it. I’d had enough of people yelling at each other- but found this team and really fell in love with it. To synthesize the story, I went to Club Fest my freshman year and, I think like most freshman, fell in love with fifty different clubs and signed up for way too many list-serves, some of which I am still trying to get off of. After that, I tried everything, and tried to whittle it down to the things I really wanted to do and happened to find this, perhaps diverse group, of activities that I really liked. Review: Do you feel like you have made an impact on campus? Bores: I hope so. What goes on in the Board of Trustees is somewhat behind closed doors. Which is both beneficial – in that you can discuss how you honestly feel – but also obviously has its downsides. One of the things that I am most proud of on the board is that I pushed to have more student involvement; to try to open it up a little. As a result of those efforts, the student assembly president and graduate and professional student assembly president will be able to attend all of the student life committees, academic affair meetings, and full board meetings and see all of the confidential information- the same kind of latitude that’s allowed for the deans of the colleges. Additionally, we are now going to have twice-ayear meetings between fifteen students and the trustee leadership and more communication between the two groups.
Your Student Trustee, Alex Bores
Review: Who are the fifteen students? Bores: Those are chosen as they come by the Student Trustees. We’ve had three of those meetings so far, and Darrick and I are trying to choose different students. 15 students for 3 different meetings is a total of 45 possible spots, and I think we’ve only had 3 repeats among those. So we try to spread it out as much as possible to try to get as much opinion as we can. Review: Would you consider yourself a student leader? Bores: To be honest, I kind of hate the term “student leader” because it implies for some reason that student government is the way to lead, when there are so many incredibly cool things that people are doing on campus- leading in engineering fields or in theater, or doing things that I have absolutely no talent for. So, I would say that I am “someone who is involved in the student’s governance process.” I would like that term better than student leader. Review: The next Student Trustee election is approaching. What characteristics should the student body look for when voting for a candidate? Bores: I’ve actually been thinking about what advice I could give to the next group. I think that, if you want to talk basic characteristics, you need to be confident. You need to be able to talk to people who are CEOs of Fortune 500 companies and be able to say “no, actually this is how we should do things.” But you also need to be respectful. If you come in there, and it’s your way or the highway, you are not going to win anyone over. It’s not a position that has executive power and you need to work with others. The Student Trustee is not a pure advocate. You need to be able to always look at the good of the institution as a whole. You need to be able to balance these interests and be able to have some of your friends perhaps question what you’re doing, because you’re not always advocating for them. Review: Were you ever criticized by your friends, as you mentioned? Bores: Perhaps. I try to say my position on everything as openly as possible. The example I tend to bring up is that I voted for the tuition increase in January. Largely, because Cornell has a policy of holding your costs if you’re on financial aid, so if the tuition goes up and you’re on financial aid, the financial aid covers that entire difference. So it doesn’t hurt the students that really need it, but at the same time, it allows us to spend on faculty and on international programs and on things that students really benefit from. On the flip side, when there were proposals to cut financial aid, I raised a lot of hell. I thought that was a mistake. You also need to realize that you are one of two students on the board and you bring a unique perspective and that it is your job to make sure that that voice is heard on the board level. Review: What advice would you give to ambitious freshmen who would like to become leaders on campus? Bores: Definitely go to club fest. You will discover things that you had no idea that you would be interested in. And try a bunch of different things. If you are in your first few months here, try everything, because you don’t know what you will end up liking, and college is a great time to discover that. And if you’ve been here and are settled in, I’d say, once you’ve found a diversity of things that you love, try to focus on a few and really make an impact. If you do that, I think that you will truly enjoy your time at Cornell. Review: Thank you for the interview. Finally, what are your goals for after graduation, and where do you see yourself in 10 years? Bores: I’ll be working in New York City next year. I’m hoping to go to Law School at some point soon. And ten years out – we’ll see. Hopefully I’m married and have a few tikes running around. On the professional side, I’m really interested in international trade regulation, labor regulation, and international labor agreements, so hopefully I’m doing something in that field.
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December 4, 2012
Wisemen & Fools If you are not free to sin, then neither are you free to be virtuous. Milton Friedman
Revenge! About! Seek! Burn! Fire! Kill! Slay! Let not a traitor live! Roman Mob (Obama’s voters), Julius Caesar (III.2)
To proclaim oppression and still expect to find the oppressed equally represented among those with historic achievements and contributions is almost a contradiction in terms. Thomas Sowell
“Who can challenge the rights of the Jews in Palestine? Good Lord, it is really your country.” Yusuf Al-Khalidi, Ottoman Mayor of Jerusalem, 1899
We have it in our power to begin the world over again. Thomas Paine
The best way of doing good to poor is not making them easy in poverty, but leading them out of it. Benjamin Franklin
Government control gives rise to fraud, suppression of Truth, intensification of the black market and artificial scarcity. Mahatma Gandhi
It is when a people forget God that tyrants forge their chains Patrick Henry
If the foundations were destroyed, what can the righteous do? Psalm 11:3
Over a half century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of old people offer the following explanation
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for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.” Since then I have spent wellnigh 50 years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: “Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened.” Aleksander Solzhenitsyn Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for
the designs of ambition. Thomas Jefferson The truth is all might be free if they valued freedom and defended it as they ought. Samuel Adams A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul George Bernard Shaw Without the aid of trained emotions the intellect is powerless against the animal organism. I had sooner play cards against a man who was quite sceptical about ethics, but bred to believe that “a gentleman does not cheat,” than against an irreproachable moral philosopher who had been brought up among sharpers. C.S. Lewis, Abolition of Man Forward, forward, forward.... Barack Obama
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Cornell Review XXXI #6