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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. 

Contacts:

Linda Glaser, Publicist

o: 607-255-8942    c: 973-650-8172    lbg37@cornell.edu

Tricia Barry, Communications Director

o: 607-255-7165    c: 607-377-6596    triciabarry@cornell.edu

 

Current press statements from Arts & Sciences faculty:

Ruling on Federal Oil and Gas Drilling

Federal Drilling Ruling Shows ‘Invisible’ Threat of Climate Change Matters Most - Mar. 21, 2019

The Interior Department failed to account for the climate impact of its oil and gas projects in the U.S., according to the ruling of a federal judge on Tuesday — a ruling that could have broad implications for the Trump administration’s energy agenda.

Anindita Banerjee is an associate professor of comparative literature at Cornell University and a faculty fellow at the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future. She says the ruling highlights the importance of invisible threats such as climate change, and harkens back to the 1960s debate over pesticides.

Bio: https://complit.cornell.edu/anindita-banerjee

Banerjee says:

“What is not visible matters the most, like a silent cell metastasizing deep inside the body. While we all accept this as true when looking at economic, social, and political projections, the intangible becomes utterly crucial when it comes to environmental futures.

“Concrete actions in the here and now, such as opening up public land to oil and gas extraction, may not immediately indicate what impact they will have beyond the immediate surroundings. As the ruling shows, however, it is absolutely necessary to take into account that each such site is embedded in extremely complex, often invisible multiscalar ecosystems — systems that connect the natural elements of earth, water, and air with various life forms and human bodies.

“Environmental systems, in turn, affect climate in places and communities far removed from the actual location of the land. Rachel Carson, arguably the most impactful environmental writer of modern times, understood this in 1962. Invisibility was the subject of her enormously influential book Silent Spring, which for the first time made the world aware of the ubiquitous toxicity spread by pesticides through not just human and animal bodies but across all interconnected earth systems. Health and environment could not be separated. To me it is not coincidental that this lawsuit has strong advocates from the environmental medicine community.”

For interviews contact:
Jeff Tyson
Office: (607) 255-7701
Cell: (607) 793-5769
jeff.tyson@cornell.edu

Student Strikes for Climate

‘On the front lines’: Youth show influence, once again, through school strikes for climate - Mar. 12, 2019

School students from around the globe have been skipping school on Fridays to attend rallies — demanding political action to combat climate change. This Friday, March 15, is expected to be the largest international school strike to date, with large numbers of students, including in the U.S., participating.

Noliwe Rooks is professor of American studies at Cornell University and author of the book “Cutting School: Privatization, Segregation, and The End of Public Education.” She says that historically, school students have been leaders of political change, and that their position of leadership in the movement for climate justice isn’t surprising.

Bio: https://africana.cornell.edu/noliwe-rooks

Rooks says:

“It is notable that though unremarked, the push for political change has often come from school children who push beyond what adults and elected officials think of as possible, or even the best.

“The 1970s anti-war movement, the movement to end South Africa Apartheid, the rise of the Black Power movement, the young people’s campaign during the Civil Rights Movement, the Movement for Black Lives, Gun control, and various movements to end Educational inequality have been and are led by students, many still in high school or even middle school.

“Adults often view students as on the passive receiving end of public policy, social justice and humanitarian demands when in fact they are on the front lines and even leaders. It is then not surprising that the same is true in the movement for climate justice.”

For interviews contact:
Jeff Tyson
Office: (607) 255-7701
Cell: (607) 793-5769
jeff.tyson@cornell.edu

White House budget boost to Pentagon

White House boost to Pentagon could shift money to controversial fund - Mar. 12, 2019

The Trump administration released its proposed 2020 budget on Monday, outlining funding cuts for many federal agencies but also increasing funding for defense. As part of the boost in funding for the Pentagon, the budget proposes shifting money into the Overseas Contingency Fund – a controversial account used to finance the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Sarah Kreps, professor of government and international relations at Cornell University, is an expert on defense budgeting and is the author of “Taxing Wars: The American Way of War Finance and the Decline of Democracy.” She says moving money to the Overseas Contingency Fund is a way for leaders to avoid answering questions about open-ended overseas operations. 

Bio:  http://government.cornell.edu/sarah-kreps

Kreps says:

 “The Overseas Contingency Operations fund is meant to be for unanticipated purposes that are ‘sudden...urgent ...unforeseen...and temporary.’ The virtue of this type of funding is that it is exempt from budget control limits set by the Budget Control Act of 2011 and subsequent caps. 

“Although a 1985 Deficit Control Act created the statutory authority for emergency defense spending, the prevalence of its use is primarily post-9/11, and within that timeframe, an Obama creation. The Bush-era ‘Global War on Terror’ label was much maligned, so Obama, in a document entitled A New Era of Fiscal Responsibility, actually did the opposite and made the budget for these overseas conflicts less transparent.

“The Overseas Contingency Operations fund has become a subterfuge, a place that is inoculated from the discretionary spending limits. Moreover, a decade in, it is hard to imagine that activities funded via the account are unanticipated, sudden, urgent, unforeseen, or temporary. But it is politically convenient for the executive and Congress alike because they can avoid the hard questions about the open-endedness of these operations.” 

For interviews contact:

Rachel Rhodes

office: 202-434-8036

cell: 585-732-1877

rer252@cornell.edu  

House Anti-Semitism Resolution

Anti-Semitism Resolution Is ‘Implicit Rebuke of a Sitting Member’ - Mar. 7, 2019

The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on a formal condemnation of anti-Semitism this week that would also include language condemning anti-Muslim bias.

David Bateman, government professor and expert in American political development at Cornell University, says the resolution is part of an historic tradition of expressing the views of the House of Representatives on social issues.

Bio: https://research.cornell.edu/researchers/david-bateman

Bateman says:

“A proposed resolution condemning anti-Semitism, and possibly anti-Muslim bigotry, is part of a long tradition of expressing the position of the House on broader social issues. It will also be, as was the case with racist Steve King, an implicit rebuke of a sitting member.

“The leadership’s decision to advance the resolution reflects their efforts to manage a growing intra-party divide, which for decades has supported Israel despite its increasingly racist and authoritarian policies. The resolution’s proponents insist that Representative Ilhan Omar’s criticism of U.S. policy was phrased in anti-Semitic terms. Opponents construe it as an attempt to delegitimize progressive critiques of Israel, not unreasonable given recent congressional efforts to punish speech against the regime and the claims by members that any questioning of American support for Israel is unacceptable.

“What remains unclear is whether the resolution will be phrased such that those critical of Israel can support it, or whether it will constitute an unambiguous effort to push support for democratization in Israel-Palestine outside the bounds of acceptability.”