September 14, 2001

S.A. Allocates Relief Funds

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In response to Tuesday’s terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington D.C. and the plane crash in Pennsylvania, the Student Assembly (S.A.) passed three resolutions last night condemning the tragedy and offering sympathy to the Cornell community.

Resolution 4 includes statements condemning the terrorists attacks and expresses sympathy for those Cornellians who were deeply affected by Tuesday’s events. The document also praises the relief workers and officials’ efforts.

“We did this for the future, so that if people look back, they can see that we made a response,” S.A. President Uzo Asonye ’02 said. “This resolution is modeled after the one passed by Congress yesterday [Wednesday] with insertions for the Cornell community,” he added.

The resolution, which Asonye and S.A. Executive Vice President Mark Greenbaum ’02 drafted, expresses the Assembly’s encouragement for unity and coping. The document also stresses the need for blood donation and understanding.

Several S.A. members expressed their support for the resolution.

“I recognize that we refrain from making comments on issues like this, but [the resolution] good,” Joshua Roth ’03 said.

S.A. members unanimously voted for an amendment to Resolution 4, urging the administration to set aside a day for reflection once the full extent of the destruction is known.

Asonye said that several professors were in favor of a day of reflection.

“I see anger among my friends for the tragedy,” Lindsay Patross ’02 said. “I don’t think that everyone fully realizes the impact of this tragedy. We should take a day to reflect, to mourn the tragedy.”

There were also concerns that professors weren’t using class time to effectively discuss the impact of the tragedy on students.

To help students financially hurt by the attacks, the S.A. established the Students Helping Students (SHS) fund in Resolution 5.

All students can petition for emergency grants during this school year due to financial difficulties incurred from the terrorist attacks. The S.A. allocated $45,000 towards the fund. Members also set aside $500 to advertise the grants to the students. Asonye sent an e-mail to University officials asking them to mention the fund in any future university-wide e-mails.

The SHS fund was established through money obtained from the student activity fee and will be administered through the Financial Aid Office. Students apply for the grants and the Joint Assemblies Financial Aid Review Committee is required to respond to each request within 24 hours of receiving it.

“This [emergency fund] is meant for a strategy when you need to get home but can’t afford it, or you need to send something home,” Asonye said.

Michael Moschella ’02, vice president of finance, also commented on the matter.

“It’s part of the package of being responsible to the community,” he said. “It’s great that we can do this to help people.”

One audience member questioned the anonymity of students petitioning for aid.

“People may not want to reveal the severity of their problems, so how can they do this?” Khary Barnes ’02, student-elected trustee, asked.

Applications for the SHS fund are confidential. The only people who see the recipients’ names are officials in the Financial Aid Office.

The S.A. finished their responses to the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon as well as the plane crash in Pennsylvania with resolution 6, urging the Cornell community to unite and calmly discuss their feelings in a respectful manner.

“I’ve seen a number of students who have been threatened, perhaps by the country they come from, perhaps by their religion,” Dean of Students Kent Hubbell ’69 said. “There have been some uncharitable e-mails and messages left on answering machines. The Cornell Police has been on the look-out.”

Patross commented on the harassment.

“Any form of harassment is unacceptable,” she said.

The S.A. responded by adding an amendment condemning intolerance on campus, and encouraged the construction of a memorial at Cornell in memory of the victims of the attacks.

Resolution 6 was also co-signed by Rebecca A Abou-Chedid ’02, member of the International Students Programming Board and Daniel M. Kasell ’02, president of the Cornell Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Asonye praised the two’s signature of the resolution.

“It shows a lot,” he said.

Archived article by Kelly Samuels