Local News: November 17, 2023

- Write-in candidate wins seat on Ithaca Common Council -

Cornell undergraduate Patrick Kuehl appears to have won a seat on Ithaca’s Common Council. The Ithaca Voice reports that Kuehl has defeated incumbent Jorge DeFendini after absentee and affidavit votes were counted on Thursday. He got 49 to DeFendini’s 40 votes. But because the margin is less than 20 votes a manual recount must be done. Kuehl did not publicly announce his candidacy. It became clear he was running on election day. Kuehl will represent the Fourth Ward. DeFendini has called for him to step down and accused him of “hiding his campaign and lying to the press.” Cornell Daily Sun reports that Kuehl told them he was not running for office when asked in October. He said he didn’t decide to run until later that month. 

In another close Council race, Cylde Lederman defeated Jason Houghton for the Fifth Ward seat on Council. Lederman first beat Houghton in the Democratic primary. Houghton stayed in the race on the Ithacans for Progress line.

Lederman is also a Cornell undergraduate. The new mayor and members of the Council will be sworn in on January 1.

- Over 400 Cornell faculty, students, and alumni sign onto a letter on free expression and policing -

Over 400 Cornell faculty, students, and alumni have signed a letter calling for greater administration protections against doxxing and harassment. The signers express support for President Martha Pollack’s public condemnation of the recent threats against Jewish students. But they say she should also make a strong public statement denouncing all threats and intimidation against all members of the campus community “especially Palestinian, Arab, Muslim and other BIPOC students, staff, and faculty.” The letter says there is a larger climate of “racism”, “harassment”, and “intimidation” on the campus that is stifling free speech. They say the administration should take action to protect people from doxxing and offer supportive care options, not more policing. We asked the University for a response to the letter. They referred us to President Pollack's statement after the recent threats against Jewish students 

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