After our student assembly’s many recent controversies, it’s no surprise that my classmates are up in arms. Our community has been filled with outcry against the study period reduction, the hike in the activity fee, and constant Facebook notifications reminding us to vote for your freshman year roommate. But there is one transgression that nobody will speak up about: when is the Student Assembly finally going to tell me if I can laugh at Holocaust jokes?
Throughout my years at Cornell, I’ve encountered several jokes, a select few of which even referenced the Holocaust. Such precarious encounters have often left me shaking, unsure of myself. Without an authority figure like our student government to provide guidance, what am I to do? Can I laugh at them? If so, how hard?
While many are aware of the significant casualties of World War II, it is a little known fact that a large portion of the dead were civilians! For those readers who are not history majors, the Holocaust refers to the 1940s genocide of Jews amongst other minority groups in Western Europe. The event was generally frowned upon.
However, when it comes to making Holocaust jokes, there is still a great deal of ambiguity. Only an organization that truly embodies the interests of Cornell’s students can be entrusted to navigate such a precarious affair.
Take for example former German leader Adolf Hitler. His time in power was quite controversial. Despite his numerous atrocities and war crimes, he will forever go down in history as that guy who killed that guy that did the Holocaust. What a mensch! Should the legacy of such a man be revered and protected? Or perhaps making Holocaust jokes is how we as a community should celebrate this history?
I don’t have the answers, but I know who does: The student assembly. In times of great peril and uncertainty, who else could we turn to? Fellow Cornellians, I implore you to join me in taking action and holding our Student Assembly accountable. I will not let them stay silent on the issue any longer! The time has come for Cornell’s Student Assembly to give their stamp of approval to Holocaust jokes. If they will not address the real issues, like the hilarity that accompanies the slaughter of innocents, then how can we trust them to decide on anything? Does the Student Assembly stand with Sarah Silverman or Hitler?
Student Assembly President Joe Anderson, if you are reading this, I challenge you to issue a statement clarifying your stance on Holocaust jokes immediately. Do not neglect the people who have elected you any longer!
AW ‘20 with collaboration from SB ‘20