Category Archives: Uncategorized

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Week Events

Celebrate the legacy and impact of Martin Luther King, Jr. with a week full of events.

Monday, January 15:

9 a.m.-5 p.m.:  Day of Service on the OC – Make items to donate tot the University of Iowa Hospital.  Sponsored by Intercultural Life and Civic Engagement.

5 p.m.:  MLK Vigil in the Thomas Commons – Join the Spiritual Life Office for a brief program of candle lighting and recollection.

Tuesday, January 16:

11 a.m.: Marathon Reading on the OC of Dr. King’s address during his visit to Cornell College.

Wednesday, January 17:

6 p.m.: Showing of the movie “Detroit” in Hall-Perrine.

Thursday, January 18:

11 a.m.: Radio Tribute to Dr. King by Intercultural Life.  Turn in online at or on the radio at KRNL FM 89.7.

6:30 p.m.:  Hilltop Chronicles – Series sponsored by the Social Justice Initiative, where we hear stories on what social justice means to them from members of the Cornell College and surrounding community.

Friday, January 19:

9 a.m.: Refugee Simulation – Join the Social Justice Initiative for a simulation of a family seeking refuge from a war torn land.

Questions?  TWestern

Meet the New Staff for 2017-18!

Over the summer several new staff members have joined the Cornell College campus.  We wanted to make sure you were familiar with some of them before you arrive, so take a few moments to meet a few of them!


Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach, John Androus

John Androus is joining the staff as the assistant men’s basketball coach.  He’s an alum of Luther College and grew up in Lindenhurst, Illinois.  John’s excited for the opportunity to be at Cornell and interact with students.




Head Tennis Coach Peter Dumas

Head men’s and women’s tennis coach Peter Dumas attended Hartwick College, a liberal arts school in his home state of New York.  He’s excited about the people at Cornell and how devoted and dedicated they are to the students.  Strike up a conversation with Peter by asking about music: singing, playing, or listening to it.





Athletic Director Keith Hackett

Keith Hackett is the incoming Athletic Director at Cornell.  Growing up 30 minutes north of New York City, Keith has lived on opposite ends of the United States, coming to Cornell from Alaska, where he was Athletic Director at the University of Alaska Anchorage.  During the course of his career in higher education, he has always had the interests and concerns of all students in mind and their success and direction are very important to him.






Coordinator of Civic Engagement, Samantha Hebel

Sam Hebel returns to Cornell as the coordinator of civic engagement.  Since graduating in 2012, Sam attended graduate school at Michigan State and has worked in civic engagement work on two other campuses.  Being involved with the Civic Engagement Office as an undergraduate changed the course of her life and she hopes to cultivate those opportunities for current and incoming students.  Sam insists she’s here to help, whether you are looking to become an active citizen, or you aren’t sure where to go, she’ll help navigate your questions.




Head Softball Coach, Jackie Sernek

Jackie Sernek is the new head softball coach at Cornell.  She’s from Chicago, Illinois and is a Cornell alumna.  After leaving Cornell, she went to graduate school at Eastern Illinois University, but she is excited to return to the family atmosphere she experienced at Cornell.  If you have a good book recommendation, pass it along to Jackie, because she loves to read.






Head Men’s Lacrosse Coach Lane Zierten

Lane Zierten joins the athletics staff as the head men’s lacrosse coach.  After growing up in and attending college in New Jersey, Lane is excited to join the coaching staff because he could tell when interviewing at Cornell that the culture was one that was set up for success.  He misses getting a good, quality New York slice of pepperoni pizza while living in the Midwest, so if you want to discuss that more, find him to have a conversation.

Campus Climate Concerns

Dear Members of the Cornell Community,

It has been a difficult week on the Cornell campus.  A series of events and anonymous statements by a few individuals have left some students, especially our Latina/Latino students, feeling hurt, fearful, and unwelcome at Cornell.  Last night, an anonymous harassing statement was found in a residence hall bathroom.

First and foremost, I want to make it clear that all members of our community; students, faculty, and staff; belong here and deserve to feel welcome and supported.

We are all members of a community with a core value celebrating the dignity and worth of each individual in a diverse community. Anonymous statements written in the middle of the night, whether they be on our Kiosks or on a bathroom wall, that aim to demean or frighten groups of students on our campus are not consistent with the values of Cornell College.

Further, harassment, threats and intimidation are not tolerated on our campus and are being investigated and students involved will be held accountable.

We are taking the following actions over the next few days:

  • Today I will be meeting with the Cornell faculty to discuss these issues and develop strategies to improve our campus climate.
  • In addition, I will be available today in Cole Library, room 310, from 2-4 PM to talk with any student or group of students who wish discuss any issues with me.
  • There will be an increased presence of Campus Safety on campus over the weekend.
  • President Brand will be meeting with student leaders over the weekend.
  • We are planning a meeting of the entire campus with President Brand.  Details will be forthcoming.



Bias Incident

Members of the Cornell Community,

Last night there was an incident that resulted in a report of targeted personal harassment directed towards a group of Latinx (Latina/Latino) Cornell College students by a group of other students.  Both Campus Safety and local law enforcement responded to the incident.  Immediately, we began an investigation that will include getting details from the students involved.

Direct threats and targeted harassment and intimidation of students are not tolerated by the Cornell College community.  The college takes reports of incidents very seriously.

Students found responsible for harassment and intimidation, or other violations of the Compass, will be held fully accountable for their behavior.  We are also working with law enforcement as they investigate this incident.

On behalf of the college community, I am deeply disappointed with any acts of personal harassment or intimidation of members of our community.  Our campus values the dignity and worth of each individual.  We are a campus strengthened by the diversity each member brings.  We all have a responsibility to be active participants in a welcoming learning community and I challenge each of us to step up to that responsibility.

If you are a student in need of support, please reach out to Gwen Schimek, Rev. Catherine Quehl-Engel, Mark Winder, or other faculty and staff members.  Please watch your email for more information about a gathering to demonstrate our support for each other.

In the spirit of community,


Kiosk Message Concern

Dear Campus Community Members,

A message written on the kiosks this morning, “Build A Wall/Make it Tall”, caused a range of reactions on and beyond our campus, including, but not limited to:

–          questioning whether Cornell is a welcoming, inclusive campus

–          feeling unsafe

–          supporting the concept that students are free to express their opinions

–          wanting the administration to punish the individual(s) who wrote the message

First and foremost, we want to affirm that our students, faculty, and staff members belong here. We have a place, together; albeit a place that feels imperfect at times.

Second, finding a balance of the ideal, always comfortable, campus environment, while upholding inherent individual rights to expression, is an ongoing challenge without a perfect solution. Free speech can, at times, cause frustration, anxiety, and fear, especially among groups who have felt marginalized.

As members of this community, we must bear in mind how our words and actions impact those around us, whether the impact was intentional or not. When a message is considered offensive, the hope is that counter speech and civil discourse emerge to rebut it. The ultimate power is more speech, not less.

This afternoon and evening we have engaged in conversation with student leaders on this matter, and will continue to do so. We encourage you to continue the conversation with those around you. Also, our offices, as well as those of Dean of Students Gwen Schimek, and Chaplain Catherine Quehl-Engel, are here for you to visit.

In the spirit of community,

John W. Harp

Vice President for Student Affairs


Schvalla R. Rivera

Assistant Dean of Students/Director of Intercultural Life

How Cornell Increased My Knowledge and Reasoning Skills

While Cornell offers so much to it’s students outside of the classroom, it’s important to remember what has brought us to this campus from the start: the opportunity to learn and grow. Here to talk about two components of that growth and learning are PAs Angie Mendez ’17 and Rose Andre ’16.  Continue reading How Cornell Increased My Knowledge and Reasoning Skills

Know Your Cornell Lingo!

“Do you know how to get to–?” Early on in your time at Cornell, you’re bound to have to ask that question a few times at least. As a head start in getting to know Cornell, it will be helpful to know campus-specific vocab. With a crash course in Cornell Lingo, you’ll save a lot of time and confusion early on. Acting as your Cornell linguist with insights into Cornell’s own vocab is Nina Kahn, a rising sophomore and PA, to introduce you to–first off–the Hilltop (campus’s most common nickname!).

Every college has their own unique vocabulary that pertains to the individual school community; Cornell is no exception. Most people have probably heard the term block plan since it is Cornell’s biggest identifier, but it is doubtful that they know the term ‘third week’. Students and teachers like to use the term ‘third week’ to describe the homestretch of the last full week of classes or the tired feelings that happens around that week. “My brain is in third week mode,” or “it’s third week, cut me a break.” Although ‘third week’ is sometimes met with mixed feelings, students push through it because they know fourth week is right around the corner, which means late night breakfast and block break! Continue reading Know Your Cornell Lingo!