Interim President Hunter Rawlings shared a plan to unite Cornellians through curriculum and across different campuses at a Graduate and Professional Student Assembly Meeting Monday.
In response to questions from graduate students, Rawlings presented the concept of “One Cornell,” which has two aspects — one related to curriculum and another aimed at Cornell’s three New York Campuses.
To establish the curricular half of the concept, Rawlings said he intends to “do a curriculum review for all our undergraduate colleges, focused on the College of Arts and Sciences, but involving perhaps the other colleges as well.”
Besides focusing on curriculum solely within each of the seven colleges, Rawlings’ concept of “One Cornell” aims to connect them all — extending beyond the undergraduate colleges to Weill Cornell Medical College and Cornell Tech.
“My concern is that we keep those three linked very well together, rather than let them just fade apart,” Rawlings said. “My idea is to put a fair amount of emphasis on ‘One Cornell’ in that sense.”
GPSA members also asked for commentary concerning administrative involvement in the unionization of Cornell Graduate Students United, following an Aug. 24 National Labor Relations Board ruling that graduate students are workers with the right to unionize.
Over the summer, the administration collaborated with CGSU to come to an agreement designed to ensure a cooperative and successful process, according to Rawlings.
“The reason it’s especially important is that this is an issue that could affect all graduate students — all graduate students, not just the ones who decide that they would like to have a union,” he said. “So as we see it, our responsibility is to ensure a really good process in which every possible graduate student votes, if it comes to it.”
Rawlings added that he would refrain from speaking in depth about the issue because, per the terms of their discussion with CGSU, the administration is only permitted to release one official statement.
In response to concerns about whether the University will address several issues the GPSA raised last year — regarding sexual assault and the disparity in appeals processes for students and faculty — Rawlings only emphasized the gravity of the situation.
“I take this really seriously and I’ve been dealing with it for the last three years on a national scale,” as the head of the Association of American Universities, he said. “And we’ve got to do a really good job at Cornell.”
The GPSA concluded its meeting by passing a resolution in support of the renaming of Cornell Plantations the Cornell Botanic Gardens. The organization’s support of the name change aims to encourage the Board of Trustees to include the change in its meeting agenda in October, according to Alex Loiben grad, student advocacy committee chair.
“[The renaming] cannot go forward until they approve it,” Loiben said. “We, as the GPSA, are stating our strong approval of the rebranding, standing with the director and a significant portion of the student body.”
The assembly also passed a resolution expressing support for the Maplewood Redevelopment Project, which would provide additional housing on East Hill.
“We want to express our support to the Town of Ithaca Planning Board that the development as it stands — as it’s being proposed by the current developers and architects — that we are strongly in favor of it and we urge them to pass it immediately,” said Nate Rogers, the president of the GPSA.