September 29, 2000

S.A. Passes Crime Resolution

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The Student Assembly, responding to an attack that occurred on Sept. 16, passed a “Resolution Condemning the Hate Crime” at yesterday’s meeting.

Debate lasted a full hour and a half as members of the S.A. and several members of the community discussed the elements of the resolution.

Members stressed the resolution’s importance. “This is immediately on the agenda because we do want the administration to know how strongly we feel about this,” said Arts and Sciences Representative Kira Moriah ’02.

Besides condemning this particular attack, the resolution addressed all similar incidents involving Cornell students. Members recommended that the administration “commission a study into the effectiveness of the current campus safety programs,” as well as making several other recommendations to the University.

A total of nine community members presented their opinions to the S.A. on the resolution, as well as on the assault itself. “It is especially wrong to commit a crime against someone because of their…race or gender,” one community member said.

S.A. members voted to add to the resolution plans for a “vigil by October 20 to be held on Ho Plaza.”

“It does no good for us to hide in our…oak tower,” said Undesignated At-Large Representative Mike Brown ’02. “We got elected, let’s show everyone what we stand for,” he said.

The vigil “puts our words in action,” Executive Vice President Mark Greenbaum ’02 agreed.

As debate continued, members began to argue over the details of the resolution. They spent an hour proposing and debating a variety of word changes and other amendments with community members voicing their opinions on each proposal.

“The S.A. has dragged their feet and argued over small points instead of passing something that would benefit the entire Cornell community,” said Balch Programming Assistant Diane Horey ’02.

After devoting most of the meeting to discussion of the resolution, the S.A. passed their condemnation of the assault 11 to four.

Though the resolution passed by a wide margin, members had mixed feelings about its final form.

“It [the resolution] stopped being something for the community and became something to make the S.A. look good,” said Undesignated At-Large Representative James Lamb Jr. ’03.

Undesignated At-Large Representative Michael Bronstein ’02 countered, “This is a more specific resolution than anything the S.A. passed last year [regarding hate crimes].”

Greenbaum concluded, “The only important thing was that it passed. After a lot of disagreement, it passed.”

Archived article by Maggie Frank