To the Editor:
On September 5, Malak Abuhashim ‘24 revealed an opinion piece that was poorly researched, false and deceptive. The column in flip was primarily based upon a problematic publication of the Cornell Progressives entitled “Disorientation Information”, a 60-page diatribe on the historical past and current situations at Cornell.
First, Abuhashim claims, “In 1985, Cornell’s trustees refused to divest from firms in South Africa regardless of the apartheid.” Nonetheless, all through the Seventies and Nineteen Eighties numerous church and human rights teams sponsored shareholder resolutions about particular person firms’ relationships with South Africa, and Cornell voted its proxies to help these efforts. Equally, the Cornell group was supportive of getting Gulf Oil depart Angola. Cornell additionally employed refugee school resembling J. Congress Mbata who fled the South African instructional institution. A long time of strain from Cornell and different teams led to the downfall of apartheid efficient in 1994.
Abuhsahim criticizes Cornell Tech, the three way partnership between Cornell and Technion, as being someway concerned in navy analysis that’s deployed by Israel in opposition to Palistinians. Nonetheless, Cornell Tech doesn’t carry out any categorized navy analysis. Analysis at Cornell Tech is topic to the identical federal controls on the export of essential expertise as some other entity.
Abuhsahim then claims, “Cornell has additionally welcomed infamous battle criminals to talk on our campus.” Assuming that this have been true, that’s nonetheless an necessary a part of a college – to usher in the widest number of audio system and to permit every member of the Cornell group to hear after which determine for oneself which concepts are price adopting. Neither the Cornell Progressives, or anybody else, ought to try to censor who’s talking on campus.
Abuhsahim then goes on to criticize the Federal Work Research (FWS) program for having an “hourly wage [that] was not sufficient to satisfy their fundamental residing wants.” Nonetheless, Cornell computes every pupil’s whole monetary assist bundle primarily based upon a household’s revenue and property. The “self-help” element will be met with FWS, however that quantity is calculated on the idea that the scholar will work a restricted variety of hours and that almost all help might be from loans and scholarships. No one expects a pupil to work full time on FWS to satisfy all bills. Most of FWS wages are paid by the federal authorities, so Cornell has a little or no incentive to maintain FWS wage charges low.
Abuhsahim claims that Cornell determined to not renew its Scholar Well being Care Plus plan in June. However the media reported that NYS Medicaid determined to terminate this plan, with Cornell making nice efforts to ensure that affected college students had a delicate transition to a different plan.
Abuhsahim accuses Cornell of “evident tax evasion” and “greed” relating to Cornell’s funds to the Metropolis of Ithaca. As a result of New York State has a long-standing coverage to exempt charities from paying property taxes, Cornell together with authorities buildings, faculties, and church buildings don’t pay Ithaca such taxes. Nonetheless, in 1995, Cornell agreed to pay for hearth safety in lieu of taxes. The agreed quantity is about $1.5 million yearly. Cornell additionally just lately elevated its voluntary fee to the Ithaca Faculty District to $650,000 yearly. Cornell additionally supplies chilled water to air situation Ithaca Excessive Faculty. Retaining these voluntary funds affordable means decrease tuition for Cornell college students.
Lastly, Abuhsahim claims, “Cornell additional poisons the group by being the main reason for gentrification in Ithaca” Cornell just lately addressed the tight Ithaca housing market by developing 2,000 extra dorm beds in North Campus at a value of over $230 million.
There are two sides to most controversies, and Cornellians ought to hear each side earlier than drawing their very own conclusions.
Robert C. Platt ’73, J.D. ’76