September 1, 2000

New S.A. Members Hold First Meeting

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Holding its first meeting since May 4, the Student Assembly (S.A.) welcomed a new semester in student legislation. It also received the new make-up of student representatives as a welcome change from what many called a partisan division that cleaved the last representative body.

“My number one goal was to retain respect, dignity and a cordial atmosphere in the Assembly,” said Uzo Asonye ’02, S.A. president.

“I am especially pleased [that the S.A. has been operating smoothly], because we have a void in the Assembly office,” Asonye said, referring to the absence of long-time Office of the Assemblies Director, Cristen Gardner, who retired before this Assembly convened.

The University’s proposed academic calendar figured prominently among the issues confronted at this meeting.

“Normally what happens is the calendar comes before us, we look at it, and we approve it,” said Michael Bronstein ’02, S.A. vice president of public relations.

This time may prove different however. S.A. members spoke yesterday in support of a University calendar that would observe holidays such as Labor Day and Martin Luther King Day.

They will subsequently vote on the next academic calendar at the S.A. meeting next week.

“There’s a good shot that there are going to be resolutions to have those days off,” Bronstein said.

Recalling the elections that placed Bronstein and many of his peers on the S.A., holiday recesses — such as those discussed yesterday — represent an issue that drew support to the successful campaigns of some current representatives.

The S.A. also heard from Dan Orcutt ’03, a representative on the dining committee, in regards to dining difficulties on campus.

“The major problem is trying to erase the damage done last year,” he said, adding that the Assembly’s dining committee aims to arrive at a new meal plan system by November.

A proposal emerged yesterday as well on the topic of student activism. Debates focused on the appropriate line of demarcation between an activist’s right to petition on campus and other student’s rights to retain their limits of privacy.

S.A. representatives weighed in with various different positions, and they will resume their Bill of Rights discussion as applied to Cornell students next week.

To maintain unity and improve on the often divisive nature of the 1999-2000 Student Assembly, the President offers a simple suggestion for how to keep the ship afloat and moving in the right direction.

“We just need to pass the things that need passing and not vote for things that we think will hurt students,” Asonye said.

Archived article by Matthew Hirsch