A Cornell Sun Exclusive: People Peeing in Public

Dear Cornell Sun: A public urination article? We’re really going to do this? … Fine, then. But let me take a quick Purell shower before we get started, OK?

Cornell University Police reported 13 incidents of exposures of a person and two incidents of public urination on campus last weekend. Cornell Police Chief Kathy Zoner said that more incidents were reported likely due to increased Cornell Police surveillance on campus, not an increase in illegal activity among students and community members.

“It’s actually not that strange a number,” Zoner said. “It comes with the territory of people drinking and not paying attention to what their physical needs are and thinking public peeing is the way to handle it.”

Yes, it’s actually not that strange a number at all. In fact, Cornell students should be working tirelessly to increase their number of public urination incidents. How else will they move up through the ranks on Newsweek’s (completely inaccurate) list of the Best Party Schools in America?

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Recent Cornell Alum One Step Closer to Being King of Ithaca

The icy, remote hellscape of Ithaca, NY, is one step closer this morning to crowning its new mayor, and it’s probably going to be a 24-year-old kid. Democratic Alderperson Svante Myrick, Cornell ’09, ran away with last night’s primary, making him both the youngest and the first African American candidate to ever represent a major party in one of the city’s mayoral contests.

Myrick scored an upset victory over Tompkins County Legislator Pam Mackesey, 20 years his elder, who had harangued him throughout the campaign over his close ties to Cornell (where, until recently, he was employed). Myrick responded by pretending that Cornell is one of those embarrassing things you do when you’re young and stupid, and that he was totally over it — which apparently did the trick.

Eight times as many Democrats as Republicans are registered to vote in Ithaca, according to the Cornell Sun, so Svante is likely a shoo-in at this point. Still, his victory may be surprising to Ivy students who go to school in major cities, where this sort of upset wouldn’t be possible (or, conversely, attend Dartmouth, where state legislators would just as well prefer college kids not be able to vote at all). Does Myrick’s electoral coup speak to his strength as a candidate, or to Ithacans complete lack of faith in their local government? You decide.

Two More Cornell Students Die in Ithaca’s Infamous Gorges

More sad news out of Ithaca (via the Cornell Sun): two members of the Cornell community, Nathaniel Rand ’12 and a visiting international student (whose name has yet to be released), died in separate incidents in the Fall Creek gorge on Saturday. Both deaths were accidental, and brings the summer total of gorge deaths to three.

Cornell University President David Skorton sent out a campuswide e-mail urging “each member of our community and every visitor to our campus to observe the necessary and strict prohibitions that are in place to protect all while enjoying our natural areas.” Skorton also promised additional police patrols and alluded to potential additional safety precautions.

Some clarification on the details: Gawker wrote that the two students “fell to their deaths” and represent the third and fourth such deaths this summer. The Cornell Sun, however, reports that Nathaniel Rand ’12 was trapped underwater while swimming with friends; the unnamed visiting international student apparently lost his footing when walking near a gorge trail. The only other gorge-related fatality this summer was on May 30, when Kendrick Castro slipped in the creek and was swept downstream to his death just one day after he graduated from the University. Read Skorton’s full e-mail after the jump:
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Cornell Student Dead After Massive Blaze Destroys Collegetown House



UPDATE: According to the Sun, Brian Lo, one of the residents of the house that caught on fire in Ithaca on Thursday night, was killed. Lo was a senior in the Hotel school.

EARLIER: A large  fire tore through a house on Cook St. in Ithaca this morning, leaving one student missing in its aftermath. Something in the house apparently caught around midnight, and by the time I arrived at the scene at around 2 a.m., it had built into the inferno you see above. A fog of smoke penetrated through much of Collegetown in the immediate aftermath. (You can click on the images above to see larger renderings of the conflagration.)

Several fire trucks were stationed around the house — which was reportedly rented out by members of the fraternity DKE — blasting it with jets of water in the hopes of containing the blaze. It seemed apparent, though, that efforts to save the house were in vain, and that emergency workers at the scene had little hope of achieving much more than preventing the fire from spreading to other buildings.

According to the Cornell Sun, police are searching for a missing student in connection with the fire. Others at the scene said they witnessed fire fighters carrying a body bag out of the building. (I’m fairly certain I saw someone being loaded onto a gurney sometime shortly before 2:30 a.m. — but couldn’t speak to any specifics beyond that.) In all honesty, I’m rendered nearly speechless by the staggering scene on Cook St. It’s seared into my memory in the hours afterward. Hard to say much more except to express my best wishes to those living in the house, and the sincerest hope that hearsay about a fatality is incorrect.

James Franco to Arouse Yale PhD Program

There are two universal truths: life is long and arduous…and everyone drools over James Franco. Pull on your rain boots and expect a flash flood upon his first steps into New Haven this September. That’s right, Franco’s coming to Yale… for an English PhD. The Green Goblin’s son, after an MFA-stint at Columbia, is officially an IvyHopper! (copyrighted by IvyGate). Franco’s decided to cruise from New York to New Haven, bringing with him the wrinkled eyes of celebrity.

This begs a few questions. Is he a divine prophet sent down to radically improve Yale’s College Prowler sexy rating? Will he smoke a ‘dragon bong?‘ Will he need security from the eager Asian tour groups who will track him down for giddy pics? What about the cougar gays, looking for a real-life remake of Milk? And, wait…is he even that smart? This man–correction, this prayer-answered–has a history of…well…being attractive. In other words, does he really belong on any Ivy campus?

Then again, New Haven deserves a little eye candy for once. Sex Week isn’t all that relevant when one’s only choices are seedy Quinnipiac nymphomaniacs or prudish bulldogs. It seems Franco’s aim is not to christen himself with some throwaway Columbia English MFA or Yale English PhD, but rather, to bring some much-needed levity to academia. He’s taking the Ivy League on a night out, rounding up the freaks and geeks and introducing them to Mary Jane. I predict a lot of broken smoke alarms and billowing pillars in Yale’s future.

But let’s get dirty – what will Franco even do in a seedy little backwater town like New Haven? It’s no coke-laced New York City, but he’s got a plethora of options. Get mugged and then universally humiliated by soon-to-retire Yale Security Chief James Perrotti? Check. Shame all the undergraduate theatre majors into realizing that looks do matter? Check. Go streaking? *Girly moan…* I mean, Check. That’s about it. At least he’s not stuck in grey, prison-camp Ithaca. Or wrapped in the folds of Princeton’s popped collars. Or in the all-around fail of Harvard’s party scene. It seems he actually got lucky! In, you know, an academia-sense.

Though realistically, if he’s looking for his biggest fans, he should’ve run to Providence. A holy Brunonian cross would have been erected in his honor…and then smoked.

Ithaca: Still Gorges? Cornell Erects Suicide Barriers

In response to the tragic suicide spike plaguing Cornell’s campus, the school has taken up a more aggressive approach than counseling, pamphlets and smiley-face posters. The administration has set up 7-foot metal fences on the sides of its highest-risk bridge in an effort to deter would-be jumpers.

The aesthetics-conscious have cried foul, arguing that Cornell’s no-higher-than-average suicide rate does not merit robbing the campus of its natural, vertiginous beauty: the suicidal will just find another way to do the deadly deed. We’re inclined to disagree. Psych-research indicates that removing the immediate means of self-destruction may, in fact, be the best preventative tool of all. When stopped in the impulsive act, the desperate generally don’t turn elsewhere. Indeed, the dark romanticism of the beautiful bridges themselves may prove tantalizing to the lonely and confused. As Kant wrote, (wow, IvyGate’s quoting Kant):

“[Anyone seeing] deep gorges with raging streams in them, wastelands lying deep in shadow and inviting melancholy meditation, and so on is indeed seized by amazement bordering on terror, by horror and sacred thrill. [He is] diminished to insignificance, [and sees only the] misery, peril, and distress that would compass the man who was thrown to its mercy.”

As hard as it is to speculate, we can’t help but think that perhaps one of the six confused students who took their lives at Cornell this year could have used a moment’s more reflection, peering up at near-insurmountable metal bars, or a short walk away from the unbearable heat of the moment. For now, IvyGate’s in favor of the suicide barriers. Your take? A necessary evil or useless eyesore? Take a look at our pictures after the jump and judge for yourself.

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Ithaca “Is” The Best “College Town” In “America”

ithaca-commonsHey prospective college students! Are you struggling to decide which college is the right one for you? Well have no fear, because USA Today has come to your rescue with their brief write-up of some researcher’s rankings of the nation’s best college towns.

The college town is one of the most important factors for prospective students in making their college decision. After all, in a typical freshman’s week of studying, crying, and having sex (not necessarily in that order), he or she has a massive two hours of free time to spend in the town. And when that student is in said town, it must contain the resources necessary to allow the student to fulfill his or her important tasks of running to Wegmans and buying pot (not necessarily in that order). Determining suitable college towns is not something to be taken lightly. That is why dozens of researchers and statisticians spent months laboring to identify the towns with the most optimal sketchy bar-to-student ratios.

And in the end, Ithaca came out on top! This is truly a great day for Cornell (and to a lesser and more communications-based extent, Ithaca College). Take that Columbia and Harvard! Ithaca truly is gorges, just like your mom.

Oh, and about those quotation marks in the title. First, Ithaca technically was the best college town in America. This article was written back in the beginning of September–well before the great Pig Microbe Armageddon of 2009. We didn’t know about this article until now because, well, it was in USA Today and we haven’t stayed in any hotels in the past month.

Secondly, a “college town” is defined in this instance as a metropolitan area with a population of under 250,000 people. There were four categories in total, with the other four consisting of metropolitan areas with over 250,000 people, over 1 million people, and over 2.5 million people. In that last category, New York was number 1 and Boston was number 3. So Columbia and Harvard may not necessarily agree to “taking that”.

Finally, the towns Ithaca beat in its category include State College, Ames, and Iowa City. This competitive situation is known in economic game theory as the “guy with one leg versus the three guys with no legs in the Tour de France” condition.

Okay, so maybe its not so great a ranking for Ithaca. Cornell recognizes this, as they didn’t even mention the article on their website. Though that may be due to this ranking’s lack of wizarding movie tie-ins.

Heretics! Sinners! ‘Bears’! Oh My: Homo-haters Show Face at Cornell, Then Leave

Heretics! Sinners! 'Bears'! Oh My: Homo-haters Show Face at Cornell, Then LeaveIn a previous post, we told you that a well-known group of, uh, “religious” people came all the way from Topeka, Kansas to stir the ‘ol pot o’ hatred in front of — but not actually within — Cornell. Well the good old reporters at The Ithaca Journal have come through again with the first posted pictures of the congregation in action in Ho Plaza yesterday, so I felt I should pass it along to all you concerned folks on the ‘Gate.

(no, I’m not going to venture into a “Ho” pun.)

Hot, steamy pictures of homo-haters after the jump: Read the rest of this entry »

Ithaca: All Your Trekkies Are Belong To Us

I CAN HAS TREKKIEZI swear, I was in complete agreement with Newell about no more nerd postings…but I didn’t want to send you off to a weekend in the heat unfulfilled.

According to a recent article in The Ithaca Journal, STARFLEET, a non-profit “Star Trek” fan association, has announced that it will hold its annual conference in the land of the gorges in 2008.


Apparently, the organization has 200 chapters and 3,800 members worldwide — with about 200 expected to attend the Ithaca event. Best of all, the chairman for the 2008 International Conference is none other than an IT security engineer at Cornell:

We’re hoping to get a lot of people from out of town to come and check out the Ithaca area and sharing the joy that is ‘Star Trek’ geekiness,” said Daniel Adinolfi in the article.

Apparently he’s not the only Cornellian in on the act, as Rick Kline, data manager for Cornell’s Spacecraft Planetary Imaging Facility and self-professed Trekkie, will be giving a tour of the solar system.

(As you can see, this is exactly the place where one might apply the aformentioned virginity figures in the Ivies.)

According to the conference’s website, the theme of the conference is “Back to School” and the chapter will “be taking full advantage of Cornell University.”

Umm…I’ll leave that for you to decide what that means. 

If you’re in town and want to attend, the conference is June 27-29 at the Ithaca Airport Ramada Inn. Just don’t forget that Ithaca’s bragging rights include beating out Greensboro, N.C. and Oklahoma City, Okla. to host the conference. What now!?!