October 3, 2001

S.A. Appeal to Decide Future of Renaissance

Print More

The Student Assembly appropriations committee recommended on Monday to deny by-line funding to Renaissance, a student organization applying for a share of the student activities fee for the first time.

Renaissance is seeking $10 from each student’s activities fee, the maximum available for a new student organization which would amount to about $135,000. With the funds, Renaissance would set out to establish late night social events on campus twice during every weekend.

A majority vote is required from the 12-member board for by-line authorization and a fast track to appropriation by the full body of the Student Assembly (S.A.). Renaissance fell one vote short of attaining the required majority.

“[Now,] we are more concerned with 50 cents than $10,” said Renaissance Co-President Alexa Mills ’03.

Should the S.A. approve funding for Renaissance tomorrow — a decision that will need support from 60 percent of the representatives — the denial for authorization may turn into a minor bump in the road for the organization. However, if the group’s appeal before the S.A. fails, the broad goals for Renaissance during the next two years will may be jeopardized.

“If they don’t get the money [from the S.A.], their goals cease to exist,” said Michael Moschella ’01, S.A. vice president of finance and chair of the appropriations committee.

During a committee meeting described by some as contentious, there was noticeably little disagreement with the mission of the organization.

Renaissance will act to break down barriers in a divided campus, Mills stated. Events that the organization makes possible are planned to bring together students from different classes, from within and without the Greek system, or from different cultural or racial backgrounds.

Events funded by Renaissance would also provide a setting in which students who drink alcohol could gather with those who do not.

“Everybody wants it to work. Everybody supports it. It’s just a matter of having something more concrete — a framework for how to make [the Renaissance proposal] work,” Moschella said.

To address the issues raised by the appropriations committee, S.A. President Uzo Asonye ’01, Mark Greenbaum ’01, S.A. executive vice president and other representatives plan to meet today with leaders of Renaissance to determine how best to resolve the procedural disputes that sprung up on Monday.

“I think they are more concerned with the financial issues and guidelines [in the proposal]. We are going to listen to the S.A.’s concerns and respond,” said Robyn Tortorelli ’04, Renaissance secretary and an appropriations committee member. Tortorelli recused herself from the vote Monday to avoid a conflict of interest.

“We are presently looking at the SAFC (Student Assembly Finance Commission) constitution and guidelines as a model,” Tortorelli said.

The SAFC is currently the organization that receives the most by-line funding. The finance commission receives $43 from the Student Activities Fee, and it is requesting $55.

With $10, Renaissance would immediately become the second most by-line-funded student organization on campus.

While the athletics program and the Cornell Concert Commission receive $9 each and the Cornell University Program Board takes in $6, some representatives may argue that Renaissance should grow at a more moderate rate. Tortorelli, however, suggested that the key for Renaissance to succeed is for the group to produce large-scale events with a lot of publicity and involving a diverse body of participants — all requiring a lot of money.

“I am hopeful that this can be resolved and that they can get fair funding and be a force on this campus,” Greenbaum said.

Still, it remains to be determined what the majority of representatives believe will be an appropriate allocation for Renaissance — if they grant authorization to the group at all.

Archived article by Matthew Hirsch