Local News for April 18, 2023

Tompkins Ethics Board Finds City And County Violated Policies

The Tompkins County ethics board has finished its investigation of Ithaca’s Re-Imagining Public Safety process. It reports that Ithaca and Tompkins County officials violated existing policies when selecting the consultants and advisors for the city’s public safety initiative. The County Ethics Advisory Board issued its report on Monday. 

The board spent over a year investigating allegations brought by Ithaca Alderperson Cynthia Brock. The report also concluded that then-Mayor Svante Myrick did not properly disclose conflicts of interest relating to his paid consulting work for an organization he now works for. And the report says he created an appearance of a conflict of interest in other instances.

The report criticizes city officials for refusing to cooperate with the investigation. The city has said all along that the county board was illegitimate. Instead, the city hired an outside attorney who conducted a separate ethics investigation. She concluded there was no wrong-doing.

Ithaca Mayor Laura Lewis and the city attorney issued  a response to the county report on Monday. They repeated earlier claims that the board violated state laws and had no right to investigate the city. And they say the city’s outside investigation was thorough and impartial.

Pollack Announces Cornell ‘23-’24 Academic Theme Will Be ‘Freedom Of Expression’ 

Cornell President Martha Pollack announced on Monday that the academic theme for the ‘23-’24 school year will be “Freedom of Expression”. The Cornell Daily Sun reports events are being planned to help students learn how to lead controversial discussions  as well as the history of freedom of expression and academic freedom. The announcement about the theme comes a week after Pollack rejected a Student Assembly resolution to require trigger warnings for courses that contain sensitive material.

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