KRAVITZ’S KORNER | Trump Was Right To End DACA

President Donald Trump is in many ways the antithesis of former President Barack Obama. In the beginning months of his presidency, Trump has attempted to do away with many of Obama’s signature policies, including the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Paris Climate Accord, and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Trump’s recent decision to end DACA has come under fire for endangering childhood illegal immigrants. Much of this criticism, however, is misguided, since the termination of DACA restores the limiting of Constitutional powers while motivating Congress to pass robust immigration reform. DACA was introduced by Obama after the Senate failed to pass the DREAM Act—legislation that would have provided a pathway to citizenship for alien minors.

KRAVITZ’S KORNER | The More Important Issue of Charlottesville

The violence that erupted in Charlottesville, Va. this August turned the idyllic town on the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains into ground-zero of the debate on statues and white supremacy in America. There’s been much discussion on what to do with Confederate statues across the country. But, more interestingly, there is much public confusion over the motives of the rally organizers and their connection to Confederate statues. Despite the rally organizers opposing the contemplated removal of a Robert E. Lee statue from a Charlottesville park, the rally really wasn’t about the Confederacy or statues.

KRAVITZ’S KORNER | The Casual Stereotyping of Affirmative Action

One of the most frequently cited arguments in favor of affirmative action practices at universities is that they help those with societal disadvantages succeed. Yet, by propagating stereotypes about the relative achievement of certain classes of individuals, affirmative action policies have perpetuated discrimination on the basis of race. Affirmative action assumes that groups such as African Americans and Hispanic Americans are uniformly underprivileged and that all other groups are uniformly privileged. In order to correct for these differences in background, affirmative action makes it easier for African Americans and Hispanic Americans to gain admission and, since college admission is a zero sum game, more difficult for all other groups to gain admission. A big problem with this system is that not all African Americans and Hispanic Americans are poor and underserved, and not all other groups—such as Asian American and white American—are privileged.

KRAVITZ’S KORNER | The Health Insurance Pre-Existing Conditions Folly

Over spring break, I had the opportunity to purchase my first car. The salesman at the dealership told my father and me that if I was the sole owner of the car, I would have to pay a lot of money for automobile insurance—compared to a “normal” adult. My dad and I eventually decided to be co-owners of the vehicle in order to save money through the insurance plan, since my father is cheaper to insure. Historically, insurance plans were created to cover serious accidents that seldom occur. Property insurance arose in the 17th century in order to protect landowners from fire damage. Life insurance policies emerged a century later as a means of financially protecting families against the unexpected deaths of family members.

KRAVITZ’S KORNER | Ditching The Two-State Constraint

Part of President Donald Trump’s unorthodox approach to his presidency is his perspective on the Arab-Israeli conflict. He recently declared that the conflict may be solved in ways other than a two-state solution, bucking several decades of U.S. policy. Many groups, both inside and outside Israel, have blasted the president for his views. A two state solution may sound like a reasonable resolution to the problem since it establishes two states for two peoples. However, the realities on the ground prevent such a solution from being implemented smoothly.


On January 25, the U.S. Department of Education initiated its sixth inquiry into alleged mishandling of sexual assault investigations by Cornell University, in accordance with Title IX of the United States Education Amendments of 1972. While seemingly well-intentioned, the Department of Education’s aggressive application of Title IX is a disquieting assault on the United States Constitution and individual rights. Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity. In 2011, the Office of Civil Rights heavily expanded Title IX’s interpretation by disseminating the “Dear Colleague” letter. This communication, which was distributed with the noble intention of reducing sexual assault on college campuses, directed universities to evaluate sexual assault cases based on the “preponderance of the evidence” standard, as opposed to the “beyond reasonable doubt” standard, which is used for all other criminal cases.

KRAVITZ’S KORNER | A Better Approach to Education

President Donald Trump is arguably the most controversial and polarizing figure in politics today. Take Trump’s Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. She was the first Cabinet-level appointee in U.S. history to require the Vice President to cast a tie-breaking vote during the Senate confirmation. Lost in the mud-slinging confirmation process was a fact-based discussion of Republican ideas about education, particularly compared to those of Democrats. It is important to understand that DeVos’ predecessors at the Department of Education were not able to markedly improve the state of public school education in America.

KRAVITZ’S KORNER | The Strawman Illegal Immigration Argument

The Strawman Illegal Immigration Argument

One of the most devious tactics employed by seasoned debaters is to give the impression of refuting an opponent’s argument, while actually refuting an argument that was not advanced by that opponent. Deploying this rhetorical strategy is precisely what many have done when it comes to illegal immigration. This tactic may be effective political theater, but it does nothing to address this important issue. The argument is commonly made that the United States should not increase border security nor defund sanctuary cities because that contradicts the central notion that the United States is a nation comprised of immigrants. This is a prototypical example of a strawman argument.

KRAVITZ’S KORNER | We Need to Rethink First-Year Diversity Programs

Cornell University recently decided to replace Tapestry of Possibilities — the diversity event that has been presented to incoming first-year students for the past 11 years — with the Identity and Belonging Project. This change was due to a host of complaints leveled against the old program, particularly the failure of the old program to encompass enough topics. The University’s decision to modify this decade-long program brings into question the efficacy of diversity programs, and whether they are really needed.  

Diversity programs instill in students the belief that anything that can be remotely perceived as offensive (i.e. microaggressions) is indeed offensive and should therefore be prohibited. On today’s college campuses, speech that is innocuous in mainstream society is often misconstrued as offensive.

KRAVITZ’S KORNER | Liberal Intolerance at Cornell

Evelyn Beatrice Hall, in her biography of Voltaire, famously coined the phrase, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” This should be a universally accepted principle at Cornell. But sadly, it is not. On November 30, Cornell Republicans hosted former U.S. Congressman and presidential candidate Rick Santorum. As a Republican known for his unabashed support of social conservatism and of Donald Trump, Santorum was met with fervent protest outside the event, which is allowed per University policy. At the beginning of the event, the president of Cornell Republicans kindly asked that audience members do not interrupt Santorum and defer all questions until the end of the speech.