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The Need For Independent Alumni Media

The Chronicle is reporting on recent University research pertaining to the practice of self-injury among college students and young adults. This is a medical problem that is not nearly addressed enough on college campuses and high schools across the country for its level of prevalence: twenty percent of college females report self-injurious behavior at some point in their college careers. And hopefully, as a result of Cornell's research in this field, less suffering will occur as a result.

Unsurprisingly, a tandem, puff piece is also running on how Cornell provides support to those students who self-injure or demonstrate other types of destructive behavior.

But lest us not forget Cornell's policy towards suicidal students. As a recent Time Magazine article on many university's policies towards suicidal students uncovered: most are asked to take a leave of absence if they exhibit such self-destructive behavior. Which seems reasonable, to me, except for the fact that Cornell seemingly doesn't care about its students once they have left campus. Says the deputy counsel of the university: "Once the student is gone or goes home, the individual becomes the responsibility of parents. Our obligation ends."

A bit harsh, no? And something that the University's bull-horn, the Chronicle, conveniently fails to inform its readers of.

Now, as a loyal Cornell alumnus, I can sympathize with a lot of the University's positions. But there are some instances where I, or others, might disagree with the official University policy. And quite frankly, the University should embrace myriad viewpoints -- it is an inherently democratic institution that can only be made stronger through fostering constructive and genuine relationships with its students, faculty, staff, and alumni. I think it goes without saying that most alumni feel that above-mentioned policy is asinine, needs to be changed, and best reflects a university with the mantra: "freedom... with responsibility... and no compassion" and does not reflect the true nature of the place we know and love. And one vehicle properly suited for motivating such a change might be... perhaps an editorially independent magazine that is supported by the University and sent out to all alumni?

This is the reason why an editorially independent alumni news magazine should exist, and perhaps most importantly, be financially and administratively supported by the University. Just as student groups or the faculty senate can independently help to inform campus policy and University governance, so must alumni outlets. And the University must recognize this in order for its mission to endure.

And in the interim, MetaEzra will always be 100% independent.

Matthew Nagowski | Posted on June 05, 2006 (#)

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