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:
Faced with likely defeat, Netanyahu bets on politics of fear - Sept. 13, 2019
Next week, Israelis will head to the polls in a snap election, where the incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will face off against Benny Gantz, leader of the centrist Blue and White alliance. Netanyahu, who has failed to form a coalition after a narrow electoral victory in April, has mounted an aggressive campaign ahead of next week’s vote including pledging to annex additional parts of the West Bank.
Uriel Abulof, visiting professor at Cornell University’s Government Department and a senior lecturer of politics at Tel-Aviv University, says that despite Netanyahu’s unlikely chances at the polls next week, his influence as a populist may reach beyond Israel.
“Israelis are used to not getting used to anything, except perhaps to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Bibi), and that too might soon change.
“For the first time ever, Israelis will visit the ballot box for a second time in one year. The reason: though appearing to win the April elections, Netanyahu failed to form a coalition, blaming everything and everyone who did not endorse him – including his former protégé, Avigdor Lieberman – for being leftists bent on ousting him in a putsch.
“Recent polls indicate that without Lieberman, or center-left runaways, Bibi has no government, and his reign, beginning soon after the 1995 assassination of Rabin, may end.
“But Bibi, facing indictment on corruption, will not go gently into that bad night. He still has a chance, not merely by re-writing the demagogic textbook, from one spin to the next, and by skillfully deploying the politics of fear. He is also pioneering the populist politics of happiness, a subversive challenge to liberalism, if ever there was one. The upcoming Israeli elections have much to tell us - not just about Israel.”
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White House Cuts to Refugee Program
White House abdicates global leadership with proposed cuts to refugee program - Sept. 6, 2019
The Trump administration is reportedly considering a drastic cut to the number of refugees able to enter the United States. According to the New York Times, proposed changes include eliminating the program entirely, and President Trump is expected to make a decision on Tuesday.
Maria Cristina Garcia is a professor of History and Latino Studies at Cornell University, and studies migration and refugees, including authoring the book “The Refugee Challenge in Post-Cold War America.”
“During the past two years, the Trump administration has reduced the small refugee admissions quota to its lowest levels since 1980. Administration officials are now considering a total ban on refugee admissions which would be unconscionable. If the ban goes through, the administration will abdicate on yet another leadership role – this time on humanitarian issues.
“Will the U.S. compensate by increasing its financial support of the UNHCR’s work in refugee camps? That, too, seems highly unlikely.”
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UK Parliament Suspension
UK parliament suspension sends MPs scrambling - Aug. 28., 2019
Earlier this morning, the UK government suspended Parliament, following a request by Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The move is seen as an attempt from Johnson to push for a no-deal Brexit and even trigger a constitutional crisis. Alexandra Cirone, professor in Cornell University’s department of government and an expert in European politics, says that today’s developments leave the opposition scrambling for ways to challenge the move on legal grounds.
“While it sounds drastic, Parliament is typically suspended when a new government takes over, and the current parliamentary session has been extraordinarily long.
“Still, the timing of this move is extremely controversial — this effectively curtails the role of the elected Parliament, leading up to the most turbulent political decision the UK has faced in decades. Suspending parliament will prevent MPs from debating and passing legislation to change the course of Brexit, and MPs would not be able to hold a vote of no confidence in the government.
“Though the prorogation of parliament is legal, in this case, it’s being seen as a political maneuver to force through a No Deal or perhaps a (yet to be determined) deal negotiated by the prime minister. The suspension of parliament in these exceptional circumstances is perhaps an abuse of parliamentary procedure, and clearly undermines democratic accountability.
“Leaders of the opposition and sitting MPs are now scrambling to challenge the move on legal grounds. In the days to come, it would be still possible to introduce a vote of no confidence in the government, ratify the original withdrawal agreement, or try to revoke Article 50.
“But whatever opponents of Boris Johnson and Brexit do, any moves they make will happen in a high-stakes, restricted timeline.”
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Death of Toni Morrison
Toni Morrison’s moral clarity ‘soothed restless souls’ - Aug. 6, 2019
American novelist Toni Morrison died at the age of 88, her publisher announced Tuesday. Morrison received a master's in English from Cornell University in 1955 and was the first African-American writer to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993. Her work, which centered around issues of black identity and race, was “masterful, purposeful, precise and challenging,” saysNoliwe Rooks, professor in the Africana Studies & Research Center.
“Toni Morrison was a writer whose words seared with their moral clarity and lodged themselves inside of both individual readers and entire nations. Her sanity-confirming wisdom explained troubled times and soothed restless souls. In one work she declared that love that wasn’t thick, was no kind of love at all. In another, she asked us what we were prepared to do with our hard-won freedoms to make them matter. In yet another, she asked us to contemplate the fact that Black people might, if they only believed they could, fly. She was masterful, purposeful, precise, challenging and insightful.
“She was also kind. The first time I met her was roughly 20 years ago when I was working in African American Studies at Princeton. Her office was a few doors down from mine. One of the first events I worked on after arriving at Princeton was a conference in her honor. My husband, Bill, and 6-year-old son, Jelani, both came to hear her closing remarks. Jelani had a question about something she said and afterward my husband told him he should ask Prof. Morrison what she meant. Jelani didn’t know enough to be intimidated in the asking, and I don’t know remember either the question or the answer. What I remember is that she took the time and care to answer him and explain. That is what he remembers as well. Toni Morrison looked him in the eye and explained. That is the feeling I have had over the decades when reading her works. I felt that she looked us all in the heart and explained it all.”
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