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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

o: 607-255-8942    c: 973-650-8172

Tricia Barry, Communications Director

o: 607-255-7165    c: 607-377-6596


Current press statements from Arts & Sciences faculty:

Proposed change to child detention policy

Immigration facilities win in proposed change to child detention policy - September 7, 2018

The Trump administration’s Department of Homeland Security has proposed changes that would expand the government’s ability to hold minors in migrant detention centers.

Maria Cristina Garcia is a professor of History and Latino studies at Cornell University, and says that the predominant winners of a change in policy are the immigration detention centers.


Garcia says:

“Ever since the administration announced its ‘zero tolerance’ policy regarding border entries, immigrant advocates have expected the administration to find some way to get around the Flores Settlement agreement.

“The proposed policy allows for the indefinite detention of children, with or without their families, in inhumane conditions that have not been—and probably never will be-- addressed. The only winners in this policy are the detention facilities, many of them privately run, which must expand to accommodate the growing number of people who can now be detained indefinitely. Is it any wonder that immigration detention is a multibillion dollar industry?”

For interviews contact:
Rachel Rhodes
office: 202-434-8036
cell: 585-732-1877  

Swedish Elections

Far-right poised for big win in Sweden, where ‘nationalism runs deep’ - Sept. 5, 2018

Swedes will go to the polls on Sep. 9 to elect a new parliament in a historic contest characterized by the rise in popularity of the Sweden Democrats, a nationalistic anti-immigrant party. The election is occurring as the European refugee crisis has fueled the salience of right-wing nationalists.

Mabel Berezin is a professor of sociology at Cornell University and an expert on the history and development of populism and fascism in Europe. She is the author of “Illiberal Politics in Neoliberal Times: Cultures, Security, and Populism in a New Europe?” and says that long held nationalism in Sweden explains the rise of the far-right Sweden Democrats.


Berezin says:

“Viewed as an anti-immigrant nationalist party with roots in Sweden’s Nazi party, the Sweden Democrats are likely to come in second or third on Sunday with between 15 and 20 percent of the vote. Since its founding in 1988, the Sweden Democrats regularly garnered from one to three percent of the vote – this began to change in 2010 when the its share of the vote jumped to six percent and in 2014, when the political establishment began to take the Sweden Democrats seriously after they won 13 percent of the vote.

“Swedes have seemed the most welcoming to refugees in contrast to other European countries. However, a 2016 Pew poll suggested that about 88 percent of Swedes are unhappy with the European Union’s handling of the refugee crisis – only citizens of Greece are unhappier. The perception of trans-European inefficiency has helped the Sweden Democrats, as well as latent xenophobia.

“On the morning of September 10, the international media will no doubt focus on how the Sweden Democrats could do so well, but they will be missing a key point. Nationalism runs deep in Swedish culture—as it does in all of the Nordic countries—and the infrastructure of Sweden’s government has been a strong mono-ethnic society. Sweden has never been an exception, and this is what accounts for the rise of the Sweden Democrats.”

For interviews contact:
Rachel Rhodes
office: 202-434-8036
cell: 585-732-1877  

Trump's NAFTA Deal with Mexico

Former Mexican official: New NAFTA approach weakens Mexico, gives victory to Trump - Aug. 28, 2018

Leaders from the United States and Mexico agreed on Monday to a revamped North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) after months of disagreement and negotiation on issues including agriculture and the automobile industry.

Gustavo Flores-Macias is an associate professor of government at Cornell University and the former Director of Public Affairs in Mexico’s Consumer Protection Agency. His research focuses on the politics of economic reform, taxation and state capacity, and he says that the bilateral approach to the new trade deal weakened the Mexican negotiating position and signaled victory for Trump.


Flores-Macias says:

“Some of the main changes included in the agreement between the U.S. and Mexico are an increase in rules of origin for the automobile industry, from 62.5 percent of North American content to 75 percent; the requirement that 40 percent to 45 percent of auto content be manufactured by workers making at least $16 an hour; a ‘sunset light’ clause that allows reviewing the agreement every 6 years, after an initial 10-year period; and the watering down of existing dispute resolution mechanisms.  

“The announcement marks a political victory for President Trump.  Even if most of the substance of the trade agreement remains the same, the White House will point to the deal as evidence of his ability to both revamp NAFTA and extract more favorable conditions from Mexico.

“Mexican negotiators seemed pleased that at least some form of bilateral trade deal has been salvaged, but the new terms appear to favor largely the U.S. after Mexico conceded to positions it had originally characterized as unacceptable. Mexico’s strategy of bilateral, rather than trilateral, negotiations reduced Mexico’s leverage to counter the ambitious U.S. proposals.”

For interviews contact:
Rachel Rhodes
office: 202-434-8036
cell: 585-732-1877  

Opportunity Rover

Mission leader, colleagues await signal from Opportunity rover - Aug. 21, 2018

The solar-powered Opportunity rover has been in a state of hibernation since being swept up in a massive dust storm on Mars, but NASA engineers sending daily signals to the explorer robot hope that it will wake as the storm begins to clear this week.

Cornell University professors, researchers and students designed, built and outfitted Opportunity’s scientific instruments and mission accoutrements. Since Opportunity landed on Mars in 2004, the Cornell Mars Exploration Rovers Team analyzed the extensive data returned from the rovers and provided new research insights into the composition of Mars and the possibility of water on the red planet. More information is available here

The following Cornell researchers are available for interviews:

Steven Squyres is the scientific Principal Investigator for the Mars Exploration Rover Project, which includes the Opportunity and Spirit rovers. He is an expert on robotic exploration of planetary surfaces and the history of water on Mars.


Don Banfield, a senior research associate specializing in planetary sciences, monitors dust storms and atmospheric science on the red planet.


Banfield says:

"I am hopeful that Opportunity will get enough solar power to wake back up and communicate with home. The dust storm is abating, similar to storms seen in the past. There will likely be a lot of air-fall dust on everything, so that too may be hampering collecting solar power on Opportunity, but occasionally we’ve had winds or dust storms blow the solar panels clean, increasing power. Hopefully that will happen this time too.”

For interviews contact:
Jeff Tyson
Office: (607) 255-7701
Cell: (607) 793-5769