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Skorton Announces 'Hiring Pause'
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Thursday, 30 October 2008

Though he stopped short of calling it a “hiring freeze”—instead terming it a “pause”—President David Skorton has announced that no one from outside the University will be hired into non-faculty positions through March 31, 2009. In a statement released on October 30, Skorton outlined the University’s measures to control costs during the current national financial crisis. “In addition to actions already begun in response to state budget cuts, we will also take careful, collegial, and substantive actions within the contract and endowed colleges and the central administration to streamline operations and redirect resources to those programs that will contribute to Cornell’s future success,” Skorton said, noting that there will be no across-the-board cuts or layoffs.

In addition to the suspension in hiring, Skorton said, the University has instituted a “90-day construction pause to re-calibrate the University’s capital budget in order to align funding sources and uses more realistically.” Its provisions include putting projects that are not under contract for construction on hold; putting projects that are in the design phase on hold once design is complete; and halting all physical infrastructure, local transportation, and housing projects that have not yet been initiated. Cornell will also conduct “a rigorous 45-day, university-wide review of operational effectiveness, financial policies, and procedures to identify specific actions to contain costs, streamline operations, and protect the institution from unintended financial exposure, while optimizing the use of university resources.”

The administration plans to host a series of public forums as it shapes the University’s fiscal future. It has posted an online suggestion box for students, faculty, staff, and alumni to submit their ideas.

Pro-Life Signs Prompt Free Speech Flap Print E-mail
Friday, 24 October 2008

In the early morning on Wednesday, October 22, a staffer in the Engineering college noticed a series of signs espousing pro-life views posted on the Engineering Quad. The signs, including images of human fetuses, had been put up by the Cornell Coalition for Life—which had obtained the requisite permissions from the University. But the staffer assumed the display was unauthorized and took it down; although they were replaced 90 minutes later, the incident caused a flap over free speech on campus. “As an organization, we work hard to follow the rules,” a Coalition for Life member told the Daily Sun, “but it seems like we were found guilty before proven innocent.” The incident prompted a statement from Vice President for University Communications Tommy Bruce as well as a message from Engineering Dean Kent Fuchs. “As a community of individuals, we will always have differing ideas and opinions,” Fuchs said. “I would ask that, as a community of scholars, we discuss those differences in an environment of mutual respect and courtesy.”

Fuchs Named 15th Provost Print E-mail
Friday, 17 October 2008

W. Kent Fuchs, a professor of electrical and computer engineering who has served as dean of the Engineering college since he came to Cornell in 2002, has been named the University’s new provost. The appointment continues Cornell’s longstanding tradition of hiring its chief academic officer from within. “He is a strong and respected administrator who has led the Engineering college with foresight, vitality, and innovation—attributes he will bring to his new appointment,” says President David Skorton.

Fuchs, who takes office January 1, came to Ithaca from Purdue University, where he headed the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He holds an undergraduate degree from Duke, a PhD in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois, and a master’s of divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. “We are blessed with wonderful leadership across the University,” Fuchs says, “and I will devote all my energy and time to helping those leaders enhance Cornell’s stature, scholarship, and teaching.” Fuchs succeeds Biddy Martin, Cornell’s longest-serving provost, who was in the post for eight years before leaving last summer to become chancellor of the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

More from the Cornell Daily Sun and Cornell Chronicle

Body of Alumnus Found in Gorge Print E-mail
Thursday, 09 October 2008

Authorities have identified Jakub Janecka ’98 as the deceased man found in a shallow pool of Cascadilla Creek gorge, directly below the College Avenue Bridge.

The body of the thirty-three-year-old from Lake Ariel, Pennsylvania, was removed from the gorge at about 2 p.m. on Wednesday, October 8. The bridge links central campus to Collegetown. A caller to the Tompkins County 911 Center had reported that a man had jumped from the bridge.

The incident is an “apparent suicide,” said Tommy Bruce, vice president for university communications. Foul play is not suspected, Ithaca Police said Wednesday, and the investigation is ongoing.

“We’re always saddened by a tragic loss of life, regardless of the circumstances,” said Deputy Chief Kathy Zoner of the Cornell University Police Department. “Our hearts go out to the friends and family of this individual.”

Read more in the Ithaca Journal.

Ivy Rivalry Goes Virtual Print E-mail
Tuesday, 30 September 2008

The battle has begun. More than 3,875 Ivy League players are two weeks into an online fight to control the virtual Northeast (see map at left). They’re playing GoCrossCampus, similar to the board game Risk, started in 2007 by friends from Yale and Columbia.

Cornell (represented by the red territories) is currently in sixth place, with commander Joey Zwicker ’10 leading the Big Red troops. They’re holding areas in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. Princeton is in the lead, controlling swaths of Long Island, Pennsylvania, and, of course, New Jersey.

Last fall, Cornell came in second while Princeton celebrated victory. A New York Times slide show reveals how the game unfolded.

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