Cornell’s Office of Community Relations held its annual regional town-gown conference last week, with a focus on transportation. It was a spectacular success.
In welcoming remarks with City of Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick, Joel Malina, Cornell’s vice president for university relations said, “Transportation is so critical to the work that Cornell does in partnership with the city and with our surrounding communities. We’re pleased so many of you are traveling to be here today to celebrate partnerships and to learn from each other.”
Among many stellar conference components, with a local connection:
Willard Straight Hall occupation – 50th anniversaryOn April 19, 1969, dozens of members of Cornell’s Afro-American Society and several Latino students occupied Willard Straight Hall for 36 hours to call attention to what they perceived as the university’s hostility toward students of color, its student judicial system and its slow progress in establishing an Africana studies program.
Fifty years later, the university community will examine the event’s significance and its part in the broader civil rights movement. A series of events are being coordinated by a steering committee consisting of faculty, staff, students, and alumni. For a full list of events and details, visit the 50th Anniversary of the Willard Straight Hall Occupation site.
The featured events, which are free and open to the public, are:• A film screening of “Agents of Change” by filmmakers Frank Dawson ’72 and Abby Ginzberg ’71, April 16 at 7 p.m. at Cinemapolis, which touches on Cornell ’69. Dawson and Ginzberg engage in a Q&A following the screening.• “Social Justice: A Conversation with Harry Edwards,” April 18 at 8 p.m. in Bailey Hall, will feature Dawson, who participated in the occupation as a first-year student, in conversation with Edwards, Ph.D. ’73, who at the time was a sociology Ph.D. student.• Students and alumni will lead a commemorative walk and reception, “A Cultural Remembrance of the 1969 Occupation of Willard Straight Hall,” April 19 at 5 p.m. at the Africana Studies and Research Center. The narrated walk will stop at the nearby Wari House and the former site of the Africana Center before proceeding to Willard Straight Hall. East Hill Notes are published the first and third Wednesdays of each month in Tompkins Weekly.
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