November 3, 2015

Student Assembly Petitions for City Meeting on Cornell Campus

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The Student Assembly released a petition Monday proposing that a City of Ithaca Common Council meeting be held on Cornell’s campus. (Connor Archard/ Sun File Photo)

Correction appended 

The Student Assembly launched an online petition Monday asking students to support a proposal requesting that a City of Ithaca Common Council meeting be held on Cornell’s campus.

Believing that a Common Council meeting on campus would be beneficial to the Cornell community, the S.A.’s City and Local Affairs Committee started the petition because “students make a up a distinct class of constituents that are often undereducated and underrepresented in regards to the City’s policy,” according to the petition.

“What you do not see is direct engagement with local politics and policies,” said Millicent Kastenbaum ’16, chair of the committee. “I want to change this because local government and the decisions that it makes do impact students.”

Kastenbaum intends to bring the petition to a city administration meeting on Nov. 18. If greeted with positive feedback, she said she hopes to have the Common Council address campus next semester in the Willard Straight Hall Memorial room.

Since its launch Monday, the petition received over 50 signatures out of the 400 the committee aims to garner, according to Kastenbaum.

The idea originated from Zach Praiss ’16, who said he conceived of the idea because he believed having a Common Council meeting on campus “would be an amazing opportunity to everyone involved.”

“I thought it would be a terrific opportunity to bring local government officials up to the hill to meet with us students, their constituents,” said Praiss, who is a member of The Sun’s design department. “Such a meeting I believe would get students to think more seriously and thoughtfully about how the city government impacts their life.”

Emma Johnston ’16, executive vice president of the S.A., shared her hope that this initiative will help students become more civically involved.

“While this event seems to bring part of the Ithaca community to campus, hopefully it will encourage them to leave campus to participate in the local community by going to Common Council meetings, volunteering or simply attending events or supporting local businesses on the weekends,” Johnston said.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly referred to the Student Assembly committee that launched the petition as the Civil and Local Affairs Committee, when, in fact, it is the City and Local Affairs Committee.

  • joe

    Applaud the idea. Right vision to see that City Council and students need to be more engaged with each other. BUT WHY put the burden upon Council when you’d be more impressive if you took the burden (of travel) upon yourself?! Dot ask for something to come to you, go get it; Meaning, Don’t ask Council to pack up its people, staff, lawyers, materials, video conferencing equip, etc, etc, BUT INSTEAD you should organize students to pack into vans, cars, busses, bring petitions, talking points, be prepared and go get City Council’s attention.

    Be impressive and be active, ho to them. It’s easier.

    • joe

      Correction: “go to them” (not: “ho to them”; that would be interesting, newsworthy even, but less effective)

    • How About No.

      Students shouldn’t go anywhere to get “attention” from our elected representatives. We live in the city, they represent us. It’s very simple.

      Great idea, Student Assembly!

      • LOL

        Yes, why “put the burden upon the Ithaca council?” Yes, we need to make life as convenient as possible for elected representatives and make sure they don’t have to directly deal with their constituents. In fact, why not put the council atop a tower so that only those with the most strength can reach them and have their voices heard?

      • joe

        You sound spoiled by your parents. Which part of Long Island do you vacation on?

        • you’re no better

          Joe, the city has an engagement problem. It is easy to hear from folks like Schroeder, Hanna, Robertson, Novarr, Hyde, etc…

          Students (from IC in the 1st, TC3 in 2nd, Cornell in 3rd, 4th, and 5th) make up 17,000 out of 30,000 City of Ithaca residents. You have seen the reaction to Elie’s run despite being a mostly student legislative district.

          Getting to the Commons on wednesday evenings isn’t trivial without a car, or if you have other obligations. City government seems mostly directed by wealthy white people who can set their own hours.

          why not try to include a few more people, rather than enforce barriers to entry?

        • How About No

          I grew up in the projects with a single father making minimum wage. But thanks for demonstrating the prejudice that townies hold against students. It appears that there is a significant jealously and anger among townies that is directed at students. This is exactly why the Ithaca Council needs to be more in touch with its student constituents.