Any person.
Any study.
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November 2007

CIT to Alums: 'We Made A Mistake'

Apparently the unconfirmed reports were true:

"Please accept Cornell Information Technologies' apologies for indicating earlier this week that you would no longer be able to use your personalized "@cornell.edu" e-mail address as of Dec. 5, 2007.

We made a mistake.

Thank you for telling us how important these personalized addresses are to you and other alumni. We heard you, and we have changed the policy.

Alumni, such as yourself, who were already using personalized addresses (we call these "e-mail aliases") will now have the opportunity to register for them so that they may continue their use.

Smart move.

Matthew Nagowski | November 30, 2007 (#)

CIT to Alums: Die, Drop Dead, Go Home!

A bombshell just landed in my inbox from Cornell's CIT department. With only one week's notice, Cornell is disallowing all email aliasing for all students, staff, and alums:

You are receiving this e-mail because Cornell Information Technologies (CIT) records indicate that you have been successfully receiving e-mail via an "@cornell.edu" address that starts with something other than your NetID or a special mailbox.

For example, the fictional Ezra Erwin might be using "ezra.erwin @cornell.edu" instead of, or in addition to, "ewe1 @cornell.edu".

Starting December 5, 2007, Cornell's e-mail system will only be able to deliver messages intended for you if they are addressed to your "NetID @cornell.edu" (for example, "ewe1 @cornell.edu").

Messages addressed any other way will be returned to the sender with an "unknown user" error. Please advise the people who e-mail you about this change.

For the last seven years, one of my main email addresses has been nagowski(at)cornell(dot)edu. It's a very convenient email address -- it's easy to remember and it instantly brands me to Cornell. Because I was the first Nagowski every to attend or work at Cornell, I was privileged to have such an email address available to me. And it stuck. A lot of my friends use it to contact me. And now my parents and grandparents use it. I use it for countless different personal business purposes; to sign in to many websites and to receive important information from various sources. What's more, I use it for all of my Cornell related activities as well -- things like CAAAN alumni interviewing and organizing events for the Cornell alumni clubs that I am involved with.

But now: no more. And I have only been given a week's notice of the change.

To have an email address that has been working for the last seven years to suddenly stop working with only one week's notice is inconsiderate and unprofessional, and quite frankly, I expected more out of CIT's usually exemplary service and of my alma mater.

At the very least, they need to reconsider this sudden and drastic policy change to something more reasonable, like giving individuals a three month window (at the very least) to alert all of their contacts to the impending changes.

Update:There are unconfirmed reports that CIT has decided to reverse this decision. My email to CIT has not been responded to.

Matthew Nagowski | November 28, 2007 (#)

Is Cornell's Motto Really That 'Awful'?

While Cornell may have taken the top spot on Motto's ranking of the best university mottos, The Chronicle of Higher Education has another take:

Writing a snappy slogan is no mean feat, according to Allen P. Adamson, author of BrandSimple: How the Best Brands Keep It Simple and Succeed. Mr. Adamson, whose clients have included Kraft Foods and Procter & Gamble, says colleges need to try something different. "Otherwise you hear it and forget it," he says. "It's best if it's tied to a story, woven into your heritage."

That's certainly true of Cornell University's motto, which was rated No. 1 by Motto. It's a statement made by the university's founder, Ezra Cornell: "I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study." Still, that mouthful leaves Scott White, who runs the Web site Brand Identity Guru, nonplussed. "Wow. Okay. I don't know what to say to that," he says. "I think that's just awful."

There are edgier slogans out there. Plenty of colleges have unofficial mottos, which make their way onto T-shirts and coffee mugs. For instance, Reed College's underground slogan is "Communism, Atheism, Free Love." Students at Swarthmore College experience "Guilt Without Sex." And then there's "Where the Hell Is Grinnell?" and "The University of Chicago: Where Fun Goes to Die."

Myself? I've always liked Ezra's creed. It's a blessing of optimism and pragmatism from a time when education wasn't openly available to all. And when shortened to 'Any Person... Any Study', it becomes an inherently American icon.

As for Cornell's other official mottos or slogans, it's a mixed bag.

Carl Becker's assertion of 'Freedom and Responsibility' as an inherently Cornellian and American trait reverberates well, but somehow it has morphed into 'Freedom with Responsibility'.

But then there is 'Open Hearts, Open Hearts, Open Minds', which basically just makes every student want to open up a garbage can and vomit. When will administrators learn that students don't want to be on the receiving end of forced, explicit indoctrination?

Meanwhile, I have two favorite slogan's on Cornell's campus. The first is found on a bench on the Slope:

To those who shall sit here rejoicing. To those who sit here mourning. sympathy and greeting. so we have done in our time.

While the other is found inscribed next to Eddy Gate:

So enter that daily thou mayest become more learned and thoughtful. So depart that daily thou mayest become more useful to thy country and to mankind.

But perhaps more importantly, what are Cornell's, fun, unofficial mottos? I'm not quite up to speed on the subject, but a couple immediately come to mind:

"Cornell isn't an organization. It's a loose affiliation of independent fiefdoms united by a common hockey team." -- This one floats around the eLynah message boards a lot.

"Cornell: Hell does freeze over." -- This shows up on t-shirts a fair amount.

And then there are the abundance of Ithaca mottos: 'Ithaca is Gorges', 'Ithaca has Orgies', 'Ithaca is Gangsta', 'Ithaca: Ten Square Miles Surrounded By Reality', ad infinitum.

Matthew Nagowski | November 27, 2007 (#)

The Continued Balkanization of College Campuses?

Inside Higher Ed is reporting that beginning this year, the University of California system will allow Asian and Asian-American applicants to indicate their ethnicity. But like at all UCs, race/ethnicity will only be used for reporting purposes and not play a role in the admissions process.

Currently, University of California admissions applications (and the data that come from them) have eight categories for Asians Americans: Chinese, East Indian/Pakistani, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Pacific Islander, Vietnamese and other Asian.

The new system will have groups of categories for Asian Americans and for Pacific Islanders. For the former, the categories woulds be: Chinese (except Taiwanese), Taiwanese, Asian Indian, Pakistani, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, Vietnamese, Hmong, Thai, Cambodian, Laotian, Bangladeshi, Indonesian, Malaysian, Sri Lankan and other Asian. For the latter, the categories will be Native Hawaiian, Guamanian/Chamorro, Samoan, Tongan, Fijian and other Pacific Islander.

It's a good idea, but only if it is extended to all other races and ethnicities, and only if it is used for reporting purposes. It can especially help to shed light on the fact that for too long, whites and blacks of different ethnicities and backgrounds have been masked by a simple "black" or "white" label, hiding the true diversity that exists across all colors of people. A fourth-generation Polish-Catholic student from Buffalo shares just as little in common with a third generation Chinese-American living in California as he does with an Ashkenazi Jew from New Jersey. Yet, all of the statistics reported on diversity by colleges will only report on differences between whites and non-whites.

Only then might we begin to realize that affirmative action shouldn't be a raced-based program, but rather a program based on class, income, and family background.

Matthew Nagowski | November 20, 2007 (#)

Kudos to CUWiki!

This is something the Cornell campus has needed for too long now. Let's hope it takes off:

Tyler Garzo '08, a biology major with a lot of Web skills, has created CUWiki, a Wikipedia-style encyclopedia for the Cornell community. The project is an independent study effort with Graeme Bailey, professor of computer science, as faculty adviser. Part of the project is to learn more about how an online encyclopedia manages its server space and handles multiple requests. Garzo pays for the server space himself "to keep it unofficial."

Anybody want to create an entry for MetaEzra? Do we even deserve an entry?

Matthew Nagowski | November 14, 2007 (#)

OK, Maybe Not 6

David Harris, Cornell's vice provost for social sciences, paid a visit to my office today, and one of the topics that came up was the Diversity Council. He said the Sun report that "six students" were present at the last meeting grossly undercounted the number of people there, which he said was closer to three dozen. Was I too harsh?

Andy Guess | November 08, 2007 (#)

An Omen of Things to Come?

While the Cornell community waits to hear the results of the Milstein Hall environmental review, we might learn something from MIT's experience with celebrity architects and outlandish building designs:

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is suing renowned architect Frank Gehry, alleging serious design flaws in the Stata Center, a building celebrated for its unconventional walls and radical angles. The school asserts that the center, completed in spring 2004, has persistent leaks, drainage problems and mold growing on its brick exterior. It says accumulations of snow and ice have fallen dangerously from window boxes and other areas of its roofs, blocking emergency exits and causing damage.

It should also be noted that the Stata center was built by general contractor Skanksa USA, a company with a lot of Cornell connections.

Matthew Nagowski | November 07, 2007 (#)

Anything Except Taxes?

So last week Cornell hosted a panel discussion regarding a seminal topic here at MetaEzra: Upstate New York's brain drain. And it's something that hits closer to home more than ever, seeing as how I just relocated from uber-young and educated Boston back home to rusty, graying Buffalo.

Granted, I wasn't at the forum, but judging from the news articles stemming out of the event, I can say this -- I am completely surprised, if not infuriated, by the omission of a word that should be very prevalent in any such discussion: taxes.

Apparently, discussants saw it fit to discuss the role of such niceties as recreational activities, a clean environment, good housing, and, apparently (bizarrely) 'sprawl' in attracting young professionals. And they also lamented the lack of a growing job market. But they never pinpointed New York State's high-tax, high-regulation environment as the number one factor leading to Upstate New York's brain drain.

Matthew Nagowski | November 06, 2007 (#)

How Pampered Should Collegetown Be?

There's a lot of clamor in the Daily Sun today for a student center in Collegetown:

“There’s definitely a need to figure out how to reach in a better way those people who live off-campus or in Collegetown. Anything that builds community and fills a need is wonderful. My understanding is that there are a number of students who feel disconnected once they move off campus. They feel like they don’t always know what’s going on, so I believe there’s a need there,” said Denice Cassaro, assistant director for community center programs. These sentiments also are apparent among the students themselves who live off-campus.

But should the University really be spending its resources on a student center for students who voluntarily choose to live off campus?

Matthew Nagowski | November 06, 2007 (#)

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)