From Vice President Olamide Williams’s ’10 State of the Multicultural Community address to a lengthy debate over Campus Life’s decision to reassign Ujamaa Residential Housing Director Ken Glover, Cornell’s multiculturalism became the focus of yesterday’s S.A. meeting.
As a preface to a resolution overturning Campus Life’s decision, Williams provided an address on Cornell’s multicultural community.
“I’d like to point out certain specifics about the multicultural community at Cornell that aren’t often talked about here. It’s not as if the majority students or the administration is putting [minority students] in a corner ... but it’s just that the multicultural community’s needs are hardly being met ... The place we’re supposed to get it from, the S.A., they’re not there every day. That’s why in the next two weeks you’ll see a lot of the multicultural community resolutions coming into place. It’s not that [the multicultural community] is being a pest — it’s that these issues have been here the entire time and members of the multicultural community have two things they can do; they can either stop or they can start fighting back now.”
Along with Ebony Ray ’10, Williams proposed Resolution 22 to the S.A. As Ray explained, “Resolution 22 is, in a nutshell, a resolution to reinstate Mr. Glover to Ujamma Residential College until a just, democratic mechanism can decide the fate of Mr. Glover.”
“I actually came to the S.A. earlier with this concern and this issue has actually grown [since then] and now it includes a lot of minority communities including the multicultural community and the LGBTQ community.” Ray continued, “I think that the ideology of Students for Ken Glover is the same ideology that's behind the S.A. — that students should have a say in things that directly affect their lives.”
Williams added, “When someone is doing such a good job for 20 years and is helping the Ithaca and the Cornell community and there is no reason to remove him we feel that’s not right [to do so]. Mr. Glover is the epitome of support.”
While the resolution eventually passed by an overwhelming majority, the debate regarding the resolution got quite heated.
“I just kind of worry about the resolution as it's worded because it doesn’t really say much,” Idris Akinpelu ’10, Hotel School representative, said in response to the resolution. “It kind of sounds like the Student Assembly is just supporting what is going to happen anyway. I’ve been talking to a lot of people this week and a lot of people aren’t in agreement with you. I think a lot of people are making this an Ujamaa issue instead of a Ken Glover issue and if Ken Glover actually feels that he’s been wronged, then that’s an employee’s right issue.”
“It kind of seems like you’re acting like Mr. Glover is dying [when] he’s just moving to another residential hall. It’s not as bad as you guys are making it out to be,” Akinpelu concluded.
In response, Williams said “I think that you should think about what you’re saying a little more because the resolution says more than you think it does. I’m bringing this to the S.A. to override a decision by the Department of Campus Life and that wasn’t going to happen already.”
As mentioned in the resolution’s wording, “The Student Assembly Charter states the Student Assembly ... will have legislative authority over the policies of the Department of Campus Life and the Office of the Dean of Students, and have the authority to review the budgets and actions of said departments.” Williams explained, “That means that the decision to remove Ken Glover is subject to the review of the Student Assembly. It’s a system of checks and balances.”
Vce President of Communications Vincent Andrews ’11 expressed his support, “What I like about this resolution is that it doesn’t just reinstate him; it calls for a review.”
The final vote on Resolution 22 was 14-2-1.
“S.A. meetings and resolutions like 19 and 22 are an important step but they're only a first step we need to reach to the next level,” Vice President of Internal Operations Nikhil Kumar commented.