In a time when there’s always something new popping up on our news feeds, it has become harder to both keep up with the news and know how to distinguish the important from the sensationalized. Only in today’s climate will you see Kylie Jenner’s pregnancy generate more buzz than pressing issues facing the world. Many of these stories are ongoing, necessary, conversations that need to be maintained, as opposed to read and then swept under the rug. So with that here are five things to know this week in the news:
1. Trump and the NFL Player Protests:
In a speech made Friday, Trump declared that athletes who kneel during the “Star-Spangled Banner” at football games should be fired. Since then, true to form, he has gone on Twitter spree. One standout:
Though ratings for NFL have decreased since 2016, there is no true correlation between this decline and NFL player’s conscientious objection, a concept which Trump clearly doesn’t understand. On Sunday, in defiance of Trump, several NFL teams linked arms and knelt during games during the national Anthem. Trump has again taken to Twitter retweeting “You can boycott our anthem WE CAN BOYCOTT YOU! #NFL #MAGA.” Additionally, Trump has received criticism from not only NFL players, but also team owners. People are using #TakeAKnee to support NFL Players. Updates for the NFL protests can be found here.
2. Trump (again) and North Korea:
By “Little Rocket Man,” Trump is referring to North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un. In his speech to the United Nations last week, Trump stated that, “They won’t be around much longer,” intimating US intentions to “totally destroy” North Korea. Since then, there was reportedly a tremor in North Korea–not likely to be a nuclear test, though one was in held in Pyongyang on September 3rd. In response to Trump’s tweet amongst other threats, North Korea held anti-US rallies in Pyongyang on Saturday. More info here!
3. What’s up with ObamaCare?
Republicans most recent repeal and replace plan for Obamacare has been the Graham-Cassidy Bill proposed by GOP senators Lindsey Graham (South Carolina) and Bill Cassidy (Louisiana). The Bill would essentially turn over control of healthcare to the states, which could then that money to implement their own healthcare system; Affordable Care Act regulations would become optional. More info on the bill here and here.
The Bill currently lacks many votes in the Senate, and Republican senators such as Susan Collins and Ted Cruz have come out in opposition to the Bill. The deadline to try to pass the bill is at the end of this month.
4. DeVos and Title IX:
In a statement earlier this month, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and crew disparaged the Obama-era legislation claiming it does not provide protection for the accuser. On Friday, the Education Department withdrew sexual assault guidance on how schools should handle sexual assault enacted under Obama. Many are finding the whole thing offensive, as it flagrantly endorses victim blaming amongst other things. Of course, the Twitter-sphere is reacting:
You can learn more info about the situation here.
5. And last but not least, “Any student, any study…”?
Last Friday, a white male Cornell student—now identified as John Greenwood ’20—was arrested for physically attacking a black male affiliated with Kappa Sigma and bombarding him with racial slurs. Just a week prior, a member of Zeta Psi fraternity spewed racist chants outside of the Latino Living Center. Greenwood was part of the—now-defunct Psi Upsilon fraternity, whose recognition was revoked as a result of sexual assault allegations.
In an statement sent out to the Cornell community via email, President Martha Pollack noted that Psi U will not be reinstated and declared that she will be convening a “Presidential Task Force” to examine problems of bigotry and intolerance of Cornell. After delivering demands to President Martha Pollack, Black Students United (BSU) occupied Willard Straight Hall. The demands stem from the creation of an anti-racism institution to a larger black presence on campus. On Friday the Student Assembly passed a resolution condemning hate speech. Details here.
Clearly, the story doesn’t end here. We students at Cornell need to take responsibility and recognize the privileges that we often take for granted. We need to realize that race issues such as these are not limited to the events that make big news. As an administration, Cornell needs to do better and work harder. Cornell and its students cannot simply just react to the crises at hand but work to dismantle a system that has always catered to white people. We need to do better; we cannot for an another assault to be active.