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February 2006

But Would I Have Gotten In?

This just in from Jason Locke, at Cornell's Undergraduate Admissions Office:

I am pleased to report that the university has experienced another significant increase in applications this year. Doris Davis, Associate Provost for Admissions and Enrollment, recently announced that Cornell University received over 28,000 freshman applications this year. This is a 15% increase from last year and a 35% increase over 2004. We have approximately 3,600 more applications this year than last and approximately 7,000 more applications than in 2004. Early reports indicate that our selection committees are once again pleased with the quality of the applicant pool.

We are hearing the positive buzz about Cornell from all sectors! The word is definitely out about Cornell. We continue to be very aware of the critical role that the Cornell Alumni Admissions Ambassador Network plays in creating excitement about Cornell in communities across the globe. Thank you.

A 35 percent increase in two years is very impressive and major kudos should be given to the Cornell Admissions Office, the Image Committe, and all of the various other aspects of the University that contributed to this success. However...

Matthew Nagowski | February 23, 2006 (#) (0)

The Cost of School Spirit

I always felt that one of the hidden gems at Cornell was the fact that student admission to every single athletic event (except for men's hockey, of course) was free. During my time on East Hill I enjoyed many women's soccer games, men's wrestling matches, and men's lacrosse games, not to mention a polo or gymnastics event or two. It always amounted to free and good fun while cheering on my fellow students-turned-athletes and demonstrating my Big Red Spirit. But now this is all due to change due to the incompetence of Cornell Athletics:

Athletics Department will be charging a nominal fee for entrance to select sporting events for undergraduates in order to recoup money lost from not receiving byline funding from the Student Assembly after missing the proposal deadline... Every two years, the Student Assembly goes through the process of dividing up the Student Activities Fee and distributing it in the form of byline funding to campus organizations, including the Orientation Steering Committee, the Student Assembly Finance Commission, the Slope Day Programming Board and Class Councils ... The new policy of charging for admission - a fee that the Athletics Department said will be no more than three to five dollars per event - is a result of the fact that Athletics missed the original deadline for submitting a proposal to the S.A. to receive byline funding.

Matthew Nagowski | February 23, 2006 (#) (0)

Here We Go Again ...

Yesterday, Cornellians received a somber message from the President, which began like so:

Fellow Cornellians,

This past weekend, we were stunned and outraged to learn that a visitor to Cornell had been stabbed on our campus, and that one of our students has been charged with the crime. The victim of the assault is an African American student visiting Cornell from Union College. He was hospitalized at Arnot Ogden Hospital in Elmira, NY. We are greatly relieved that he is recovering and may be released from the hospital very soon. We extend our heartfelt feelings of concern and support to him and wish him a speedy and complete recovery.

Following an initial investigation into the stabbing, which occurred early Saturday morning on West Avenue, Cornell University Police arrested Nathan H. Poffenbarger, a 20 year-old Caucasian male, of 10703 Coppermine Road, Woodsboro, Md. Poffenbarger is a sophomore at Cornell University. On Sunday morning, he was arraigned on assault charges in the second degree, a class "D" felony. The Cornell University Police are working actively and closely with the Ithaca Police Department and the Office of the District Attorney. They are continuing their investigation into the case.

Rawlings takes pains to point out the races of both the victim and the alleged perpetrator, but he never explains why. Reports in The Sun have pointed to likely racial motivations behind the attack, but Rawlings doesn't even allude to them. Instead, he breaks the cardinal rule of sensitivity: only report the race if there's a justification for it. Lame appeals to sympathy or "diversity" don't cut it, and using the preferred "African American" instead of "black" (or "Caucasian" instead of "white") doesn't hide what he's doing. By trying to dodge the real issue, Rawlings comes off as ignorant of the very lessons taught in Cornell's freshman diversity seminars.

Andy Guess | February 22, 2006 (#) (0)

Love from the Cornell Fund

In case any recent alumni happened to miss the naming of Dr. David J. Skorton as Cornell's 12th president, Bob Berstein '97, the young alumni national chair, sent out a letter last week. "You can feel the excitement and energy on campus since the annoucement," Berstein wrote, who later called Skorton a "true Renaissance man."

But, what would any correspondence from Cornell be without the pathetic plea? In this case, it only took two paragraphs: "Please join me in support of our new president and convey to him our passion for this institution by making a gift to this year's Annual Fund."

It really annoys me that the only correspondence my alma mater now sends me includes an appeal for money. Give, give, give. New initiative announced? Make a donation! New president? Throw a couple dollars our way to celebrate! Want a subscription to the alumni magazine? That'll be 40 bucks!

Cornell doesn't seem to understand that as young alumni, we don't have much money to give. And the fact that they're hitting us up for any spare change now won't encourage us to make a donation later in life, when (hopefully) we've really got bucks to throw around -- in fact, it might do just the opposite.

Marc Zawel | February 21, 2006 (#) (0)

Of Transcripts and Median Grades

A significant threat to Cornell students wishing for higher GPAs -- the impending encroachment of median grade reports onto the hallowed territory of the official transcript -- seems to have been postponed, at least for now. The one I received in the mail last week is refreshingly unburdened with the achievements of the "average" Cornellian in my various classes. Instead, I'm left with the accomplishments (and failures) of me and me alone.

This is great news for students and recent grads, although employers and graduate schools would surely appreciate the extra data for benchmarking purposes. But I'm guessing that they won't shed a tear for this loss. The benefits of keeping the transcripts as they are -- in some basic calculation of overall utility -- seem to outweigh those of the alternative. That is, at least when considering students' (and alums') interests equal to those of a transcript's intended audience.

That said, the registrar's website is silent regarding any future transition to a world in which each individual transcript contains the collective effort of Cornell's middle tier. For now, I'm going to stock up on copies of my unsoiled -- if imperfect -- official record, before it may be too late.

Andy Guess | February 14, 2006 (#) (1)

An Impediment to a Transnational University

For all that former President Lehman spoke of 'transnational university' and David Skorton has given lip service to the continued 'internationalization' of Cornell, the University hit a slight speed bump in the road today:

French farmer Jose Bove, a prominent protester against genetically modified food and agricultural free trade, has been denied entry into the United States, officials of an event he was due to address said on Thursday...

He had been scheduled to speak on Thursday and again on Friday at a conference titled “Global Companies - Global Unions - Global Research - Global Campaigns.” Event organizers included Cornell University’s Global Labor Institute. (emphasis added)

Some of the professors in my former college (ILR) are going to be understandably upset.

Matthew Nagowski | February 09, 2006 (#) (0)

Fehrs '77 Resigns as Chief Investment Officer

Amidst the news of Skorton’s appointment and the new Gates building, the resignation of Donald Fehrs '77, Cornell’s Chief Investment Officer, slipped through most everybody's radar. Fehrs resignation marks yet another transition for the upper-level administration, and one cannot help but notice the timing of the announcement so soon after the naming of the University's new President.

Granted, Fehrs' may simply be interested in making a career change. The endowment's performance over the last three years - since Fehrs was appointed CIO - has been admirable, and the trustees should have no reason to complain. At an annualized rate, the endowment grew by close to 16 percent, beating out the broad-based S&P 500, which grew at an annualized rate of approximately 13 percent. But did the administration have any beef with Fehrs?

Matthew Nagowski | February 03, 2006 (#)

Giving Collegetown a Facelift

Ithaca's Common Council voted last night to establish a task force that will look into reinvigorating Collegetown over the next five to 10 years. One council member described our beloved former collegiate playground to The Sun as "looking a little tired."

The laundry list of areas in need of improvement, as cited by the Council, include: parking, retail property, public works, "overall aesthetics," pavement, signs and storefronts.

What about the decrepit and horrible state of student housing and the slumlords who run them?

Not a peep.

Makes you wonder how you revitalize an area - one that is largely residential - without even mentioning the ramshackle (and often, unsafe) houses and apartments that occupy the same place.

This is Collegetown's biggest problem. Sure, the parking situation stinks and who wouldn't want nicer storefronts? But, certainly not in the place of enforcing proper building codes and holding landlords responsible for their properties.

Marc Zawel | February 02, 2006 (#) (0)

Other Recent Posts

-- WSJ: Cornell Wins NYC Tech Campus Bid (EBilmes)

-- Barrier Update: City Approves Nets (DJost)

-- Big Red Cymbal Guy (Nagowski)

-- New York Times Survey on Campus Recruiting is Flawed (KScott)

-- Barrier Update: Legal precedent suggests City of Ithaca will not be held liable for gorge suicide (DJost)

-- Despite MSG Loss, Big Potential for Big Red Hockey (EBilmes)

-- City Council Will Vote on Suicide Nets (DJost)

-- An Encounter on the Upper East Side (Nagowski)

-- Showing Off Your School Spirit (Nagowski)

-- Chipotle Ithaca? (KScott)

-- Cornell at the ING NYC Marathon (KScott)

-- Crossing Over a Fine Line: Commercial Activity on Campus (KScott)

-- Milstein's Downfall (Nagowski)

-- Can any Cornell-associated organization really be independent of the University? (Nagowski)

-- Slope Media Revisited (EBilmes)

-- Slope Media Group Approved for Byline Funding (KScott)

-- Occupy AEM? (KScott)

-- New campus pub to be good for both Greeks and non-Greeks (Nagowski)

-- Gagging the Election (Nagowski)

-- The Changing Structure of Rush Week (Nagowski)

-- Ivy League Humility in the Midwest (EBilmes)

-- Of Median Grades and Economics Minors (Nagowski)

-- Homecoming Recap (Nagowski)

-- My Cornell Bookshelf (Nagowski)

-- The Sun's Opinion Section Has Suddenly Gotten Good (Nagowski)

-- Remembering the 11th (Nagowski)

-- Cornellian Tapped as Top Economic Advisor (Nagowski)

-- Cutting Pledging, and the Good Which Comes With It (EBilmes)

-- Why Cornell Should Not Close Fall Creek Gorge (Nagowski)

-- Welcome to the Class of 2015 (Nagowski)