Today, we are seeing the festering wounds that are plaguing our country uncovered by two public health crises. COVID-19 and Racism. With the brutal murders of Black individuals in America, poor handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the oppression that students from all underrepresented backgrounds and marginalized identities. Our institution must make every effort to counteract these injustices starting right in Ithaca.
How Do I Plan on Doing This?
As President, I will seek to fully support and carry out the demands of grassroots organizations such as DoBetterCornell, Cornell Students for Black Lives.
Creation of a Student Honor Board or Alternative Justice Board
This will be used as an alternate method for Cornell’s dispute resolution process. This board must consist of mostly minoritized and underprivileged students.
Creation of the anti-racism institute.
As it currently stands, Cornell has a very decentralized system to engage with racial bias and discrimination through organizations such as the Intergroup Dialogue Project, Engaged Cornell, Center for the Studies of Inequality, which are all extremely important to have but can work much more effectively, by combining efforts into an Anti-Racism Institute. This space would be an academic and student centered space that will allow for academic, professional, and employment opportunities as well as a space for faculty and professors to centralize their efforts. An Anti-Racism Institute will ensure that there is a fully institutionalized body that can effectively address racism and discrimination.
Disarming, Defunding, and Disbanding the Cornell University Police Department
American policing systems are rooted in racism and started as a way of controlling Black bodies during slavery. It is no different from today with the countless and senseless murders of Black individuals by police. There is no reforming this. Instead, we must take a revolutionary and abolitionist approach to dealing with these issues. Knowing this, the first approach I took was passing S.A. Resolution #50: Requesting The Establishment of the Cornell University Police Oversight Committee. This committee will have access to and be charged with reviewing the Use of Force Policy , which is currently unavailable for public viewing. The committee will also have access to bias reports from students, make recommendations of on further disciplinary actions of officers, review the fiscal year budget, and oversee the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Training of officers. This will allow for sufficient evidence that will prove the further need to disarm, then defund, and ultimately disband the CUPD. The funds will then be redistributed to marginalized and underprivileged students in the Cornell community and to the Ithaca community as a whole.
Quicker and Greater Response to Students experiencing discrimination and bias
There have been too many horrifying accounts of students experiencing bias and discrimination from peers, faculty, staff, and administrators alike. This is completely unacceptable. As President, I will push for faster and more appropriate response to allegations of racism, bias, and discrimination. I will work closely with the Office of the Judicial Administrator and the Title IX Office to conduct a full and comprehensive review of the handling of cases regarding bias, discrimination, and racism.
As President, I will also ensure that student health, both mental and physical is a priority.
I will push for the creation of a centralized reporting system for faculty/TA's that may be implementing harsh and/or unfair grading policies while in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is important that in these times, we take great measures to protect the most marginalized and affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. I will push for the public release of the annual mental health review and the recommendations based upon them as well as 30-day updates on any actions taken.