End of semester message

Dear Students,

As we enter the final days of this semester, we celebrate our successes and experiences that have deepened our knowledge of the world, expanded our horizons, and allowed us to make connections with others who have challenged our assumptions and often provided support as we wrestle with deep questions. As part of an intellectual community with a long-standing commitment to public service, we have considered how what we learn in classrooms, studios and laboratories around our campuses can change the world.

However, we also recognize that stress is an inevitable part of final classes, final exams and getting ready to leave for a long break. Many members of our community have experienced extra stress this year because of troubling events across the country, on university campuses and around the world. These upsetting occurrences have prompted discussion on our campus about issues of racism, bias and discrimination at Cornell and throughout the nation. The conversations have been enlightening and important, yet also difficult, raising issues that are challenging to discuss, even as they are vitally important to our campus and country. We will definitely continue these conversations, engaging respectfully with one another and listening with empathy as we strive to move our university closer to Ezra Cornell’s founding egalitarian vision of any person, any study. As president, I am committed to that vision and will continue to work each day, with each of you, toward its realization.

During these final days of the semester, I encourage you to reach out for help and support if you feel that stress or any other physical or emotional distress is interfering with your ability to do academic work or interact productively with others. Now is an especially important time to demonstrate that we are a caring community. We need to look out for one another and, if we see someone who is struggling, actively help that individual connect with the right people. I have included ways to reach out at the end of this message.

I wish you a successful conclusion of the semester and an enjoyable, restful break. For those who are completing your time at Cornell this semester, I hope you will stay engaged and in touch as you move on to new opportunities. For those who will be returning to campus in January, I look forward to continuing to consider with you the most important issues of our day, including how to better realize our commitment to diversity and community and to expand that commitment to other institutions through our engagement.

Elizabeth Garrett

Students may consult with counselors from Gannett Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) by calling 607-255-5155. They may speak with a peer counselor by calling EARS at 607-255-3277. The Ithaca-based Crisisline is available at 607-272-1616. For additional resources, visit caringcommunity.cornell.edu.