NOWACKI | A Whole New Cornell

Photo credit: David Navadeh '19.

By: A concerned citizen

I’m dreaming of a new Cornell – a Cornell where I can walk more than 20 yards without feeling I have to check my privilege in light of stark microagressions oozing from the narrow-minded puss that is this campus and this school.

Everywhere I look, I see atrocities committed against those without a voice – the voice that the strong arm of the patriarchy – continues to silence.

When I walk up Ho plaza in the late afternoon, the shadow of a symbol so demeaning makes me want to denounce my masculinity all together. Phallic symbols like McGraw tower are a lasting reminder of the ubiquity of the oppressive and tyrannical patriarchy aforementioned, and its control over free-think and gender equity.

Thank goodness they tore down that eyesore of a pseudophallic monument on the arts quad this Fall, else I’d surely have been disposed to taking matters into my own hands – through strongly worded posters and insipidly-lead grassroots campus activism.

In my efforts to evade the chauvinist silhouettes of McGraw Tower, I search frantically for a safe space.

I must take shelter in the Amit Bhatia Libe Café in Olin Library, as Willard-Straight Hall is so brazenly heteronormative.

There I meditate quietly over a soy latte.

But my minute of meditation is interrupted by a couple of neocons trying to rationalize aloud how the ethnically and racially diverse Republican presidential field somehow counters the bigoted platform of the Republican Party.

The nerve!

And so again, I’m forced to leave my once thought safe space in search for a less ignorant atmosphere.

Outside, I cannot walk more than 30 feet without feeling a tad bit guilty – guilty of perpetuating the sexist agenda of the establishment school administration. I walk briskly with my head down, ashamed of the very ground I traverse.

Heart pounding I think to myself, “How can it be 2015 – nearly a century after the passing of women’s suffrage – and it still be socially permissible to label a campus common space ‘Ho Plaza’?”

Common space, but clearly not safe space, so I decide to remove myself from the oppressive ‘old guard’ side of campus and sample something a little more ‘new age.’

I walk up to the Ag quad and am delighted to see a pair of students enjoying themselves with a slack line – my favorite recreational activity next to tossing a frisbee.

Surely this is the hidden gem of Cornell, my progressive boon.

I look ahead to a formidable looking edifice at the foot of the quad. Fueled by new-found hope and sense of whimsical discovery, I elect to check it out.

But my smile quickly turns to a mouth wide agape when the letters on the door clearly read “Mann Library.” And I soon then realize, this nightmare – unlike my dreams of a new Cornell – is but an inconvenient truth.

1 Comment on NOWACKI | A Whole New Cornell

  1. Oh, SNAP! Very funny piece, and very effective. As the old saying goes, “Sacred cows make good hamburger.” Keep up the good work.
    Dave Williams, ’75, ’94

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