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The College of Arts and Sciences' communications office works closely with Cornell's Media Relations Office. As the College's representatives to media, we connect faculty experts and thought leaders to local, regional, national and international media organizations.
Linda Glaser, Publicist
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Tricia Barry, Communications Director
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Current press statements from Arts & Sciences faculty:
Voyager Mission, 40 years later
Cornell’s Carl Sagan Institute director talks Voyager Mission, 40 years later - August 14, 2017
Voyager 1 and 2 will reach 40 years of operation and exploration later this month and in early September. Despite their distance, they continue to communicate with NASA daily and are still exploring the final frontier.
Lisa Kaltenegger is the director of the Carl Sagan Institute and professor of astronomy in the College of Arts and Sciences at Cornell University. Kaltenegger remarks on the beauty the Voyager spacecraft exposed to the world, and why the Golden Record continues to have an impact beyond science.
“The Voyager spacecraft showed us the incredible beauty of our solar system and gave us a glimpse into the secrets of the planetary system we call home. Besides the daring exploration of our solar system, Voyager 1 made a snapshot of our own planet – our ‘pale blue dot.’ This image is breathtaking. Our ‘pale blue dot’ is suspended in the vast darkness of space. It is beautiful, fragile, thought provoking and it is home.
“The Golden Record is a frozen moment in time, encompassing the world. It reminds us of all the amazing achievements of humankind and that among all conflict in this world, the beauty we create is mesmerizing. It is humankind's message to space – a time capsule of our culture traveling between the stars, and a message that will outlive us all. The impact the Golden Record has is vast, and well beyond science.
“We have already found thousands of worlds orbiting other suns and some that could be like our own ‘pale blue dot’, maybe even more colorful. The next step is to find out how we fit into this fascinating universe and whether we are alone in the universe.”
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New US Immigration Guidelines
New US visa definition of family strict, but soft on sensibility - June 29, 2017
The State Department issued new immigration guidelines aimed at clarifying the Trump administration’s travel ban, which limits visas for citizens of six predominantly Muslim countries. The guidelines outline the meaning of “bona fide” relationship, one of the visa requirements for foreign visitors from those countries attempting to come to the U.S.
Maria Cristina Garcia, professor of history and Latino studies at Cornell, says that the U.S. government’s strict definition of ‘bona fide relationship’ runs contrary to what many around the world consider family.
"The U.S. government has long tried to define ‘family’ for purposes of immigration and travel, and its definitions often run contrary to what many around the world consider family.
“The Trump administration’s definition is more rigid than appears in immigration law but it does have precedent. In 2004, for example, the Bush administration placed restrictions on family travel to Cuba, and Cuban-Americans were only allowed to return to the island once every three years to visit parents, spouses, and children.
“While there is a precedent for travel policy, it is inhumane to limit refugee visas solely to those who already have immediate family members in the United States.”
Sergio Garcia-Rios, professor of government and an expert on immigration, Latino politics, race and ethnicity, says that the State Department’s “bona fide” standards is inconsistent and does not fulfill the travel ban’s stated goal of border security.
“One of the main problems with the Supreme Court’s decision is that it allows, even if temporarily, for further discretionary use of the executive power when it comes to immigration and border security.
“As such, in the very first display of such discretionary power, the so-called ‘bona fide relationship’ standard shows an alarming level of inconsistency and it is hard to understand the logic behind it.
“It is not clear why in-law relationships would constitute a ‘bona fide relationship’ but not grandparents. When it comes to immigration and politics, definitions matter. Let’s not forget that the initial motivation for the ban was security and every decision should be evaluated under that scope.
“This inconsistent definition could be brought up this fall when justices will be holding hearings for the ban.”
Senate GOP healthcare bill
Senate GOP healthcare bill path to geographic inequality - June 23, 2017
Details of the Senate version of the GOP healthcare bill are prompting vigorous debate on the Senate floor and beyond. Jamila Michener, an expert on poverty and racial inequality and assistant professor of government at Cornell University, warns that the bill’s proposed cuts to Medicaid will imperil many Americans.
“The Senate health care bill has finally been revealed and it is no wonder the Republicans fought so hard to keep it a secret; it should have remained buried in a dark place. The bill entails devastating cuts to Medicaid that will imperil the health of the most vulnerable Americans. Just as troubling is that after gutting Medicaid fiscally, Republicans intend to give states even more flexibility than they already have, so that they can fashion the program as they see fit. This is a sure path to geographic inequality and draconian retrenchment that will lead to massive disenrollment from the program while making life harder for those who remain enrolled.
“This bill will cause economic and physical suffering for families that rely on Medicaid. Worse still, it’s bad for democracy. Policies like this send a strong message to Americans in need: you’re on your own, your government does not care, and your citizenship is second-class.”
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Trump's decision on DREAMers
Trump OK for Dreamers to stay won’t protect parents - June 16, 2017
President Trump’s decision to reverse a campaign promise to repeal the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals(DACA) is a relief for those children of undocumented immigrants. Maria Cristina Garcia, professor of History and Latino studies at Cornell University, says that Trump’s decision, while a relief to many DACA children, will not impact the status of their parents.
“President Trump seems intent on reversing all of Obama’s policies and programs, so this morning’s news that the administration will not repeal the 2012 Deferred Act for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is both a surprise and a welcome turn of events.
“The continuation of the DACA program will allow an estimated 800,000 young people in the United States to study and work without fear of deportation unless they violate the terms of their DACA status. Whatever relief these young people feel today is tempered by the news that their parents will not be offered similar protection, since Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly also announced a formal reversal of Obama's legally-stalled Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents.
“As ICE raids escalate across the country, DACA recipients will continue to fear that their parents will be picked up at any moment – on the way to work, church, or the supermarket – all because they had the audacity to want a better life for themselves and their families.”
Trump and Erdogan
Trump-Erdogan is an oft-repeated summit between rivals - May 16, 2017
Today’s scheduled meeting between Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Trump at the White House will take place amid a general chilling of relations between the two countries. Barry Strauss, professor of history at Cornell University and author of the several books about military strategy and leadership, likens the occasion to many summits between rivals in history, when leaders put disagreements aside to focus on potential rewards.
“When U.S. President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meet in Washington later today they will be playing one of history’s oldest and most dramatic games – a summit between rivals.
“Trump recently outraged Turkey by deciding to arm Kurdish soldiers in Syria, troops the Turks consider terrorists and a threat to their homeland. Nor is Trump likely to yield to Turkey’s request to extradite a political opponent now sheltered in the U.S.
“Yet from Hannibal’s pre-battle meeting with his Roman foe Scipio to Cold War summits, leaders who vehemently disagree have been delighted to meet anyhow to reap rewards in intelligence, future deals and domestic political prestige.
“Today’s meeting is just the latest in a long tradition. In spite of or maybe because of various disputes, Erdogan and Trump each expects to come out ahead.”