The Student Assembly (S.A.) conducted its final meeting yesterday, a wrap-up session where they considered several resolutions tabled all semester. They moved through and voted on all but two of them.
Their first order of business was to recognize John Ford, the Robert W. and Elizabeth Staley Dean of Students, for his “26 years of exceptional service.” Ford will leave Cornell after this semester to accept a vice-presidential position at Emory University.
The S.A. passed a resolution honoring Ford and presented him with a plaque.
“I can’t think of a better gift and a better way to remember Cornell,” Ford said.
He has served as Dean of Students since 1992.
The S.A. then debated whether or not to refund The Cornell Lunatic for revenue stolen from the humor magazine’s office in the Straight.
“We had stayed out on Ho Plaza after the banks closed [to sell copies of the magazines], which is why we put [the money] in there in the first place,” said Lunatic editor Jim Jazwiecki ’01.
“I don’t know whether the S.A. wants to become some sort of insurance agency,” said Student Trustee David Mahon ’02.
But Mike Moschella ’02 disagreed, stating, “This was clearly not preventable.”
“I have never seen such a clear-cut [appropriations] case” that the S.A. should approve, Moschella added.
The S.A. approved the appropriations request, 15 votes to five, and will provide the money from its “Special Projects” fund, according to Vice President of Finance Kira Moriah ’03.
The S.A. then discussed and passed several resolutions in rapid succession.
The first was a move to create a committee, comprised of six students, two faculty members and Lisa Harris ’88, director of the College of Arts and Sciences’ career center, to improve the center’s services. It passed after limited debate.
Next on the agenda came one of the most hotly contested issues of the semester, which has been internal.
Resolution 14, a resolution to define the role of the executive archivist, has been brought up several times since mid-October.
The resolution proposes that “the archivist shall … remain unbiased and neutral, publicly expressing no viewpoint on any issue before the assembly.”
“The resolution is a job description, not a life description,” said Moriah, one of Resolution 14’s sponsors, adding that it was alright for the archivist to express opinions to S.A. members outside meetings.
“All this is saying is that when you’re at this meeting, you act a certain way,” assembly member Amy Gershkoff ’02 said.
Some members wondered about disallowing the archivist to express personal opinions.
“Presumably, we want someone to take this position, however, we are usurping their right to speak,” said assembly member Mike Brown ’02.
“It’s bad policy for the S.A.,” he added.
“I pretty much feel that it’s wrong to tell someone they can’t speak,” said assembly member Tom Mendez ’02.
There has been controversy as to whether the resolution was motivated by personal bias against the current archivist, who is personally close to a member of the S.A.
“If you’re that person [the archivist], you may interpret that as personal,” said S.A. President Uzo Asonye ’02.
“The way that it was written came off malicious,” Mendez said.
The resolution, which required a two-thirds majority to pass, failed by a hair, 12 to seven to one abstention.
The S.A., which moved the meeting to another room after running for two hours and 15 minutes, quickly approved its last resolution of the semester, to install 55 new bike racks around campus.
“All the bike racks in this resolution will be installed,” said Carl Cohen, the assistant director for commuter and parking services.
“We’re glad we can work with the students on this,” he added.
The new bike racks will be added near Trillium, Carpenter Hall, Goldwin Smith Hall and several other academic buildings.
Archived article by Maggie Frank