November 9, 2001

S.A. Denies Request From Cornell Cinema

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The Student Assembly continued its funding process yesterday as it struck down proposed increases in funding by Cornell Cinema and approved funding increases for Cornell Concert Commission and the Cornell University Programming Board.

Cornell Cinema Director Mary Fessenden asked the S.A. to increase funding to $9, the amount the organization initially requested. The Student Assembly Finance Commission (SAFC) recently approved a byline funding increase to $8.

“The reason why we are recommending $8 a student is because the cinema has not raised ticket prices in nine years,” said Michael Moschella ’02, vice president of finance for the S.A.

“The general consensus of the committee is that normal economic readjustment will dictate that in time they raise prices. Having a level of funding at $8 and a $1 increase in ticket prices would be the best general compromise,” Moschella said.

If Cornell Cinema were to raise its ticket prices as suggested by the SAFC to make up for the lacking $1 in funding, “there will no doubt be a drop in attendance,” Fessenden countered.

The extra dollar would go towards a number of costs, including paying for movies and maintaining equipment, among other costs, according to Fessenden. She also said that the dollar per student requested (approximately $13,000 total), is needed “so we can maintain our current quality and quantity of programming and not spend even more time than we already do fundraising.”

Esther Tang ’04, School of Hotel Administration representative, supported Cornell Cinema’s request.

“They play cult classics, documentaries, independents, [and] they make a point of having this variety because they are a repertoire theater. I’m afraid that for the sake of demand, they will have to move away from that culture of being so distinctive,” Tang said.

They say it is so rare to find this [variety] on a campus anywhere,” she added.

The S.A. voted to uphold the SAFC’s recommendation of $8 per student from the Student Activity Fund.

In addition to this decision, the S.A. also voted to uphold the Cornell Concert Commission’s (CCC) request for byline funding in the amount of $9 per student. The CCC previously was funded at $6 per student.

John Wiseman ’02, CCC executive vice president, said the money would be used to secure more talent and to find more venues for shows.

CCC is “hoping to keep ticket prices at their present level or perhaps lower them and also include the addition of a new free show,” Wiseman said.

To these ambitious plans, representatives were responsive.

“This organization holds a special place on this campus,” said Mark Greenbaum ’02, S.A. executive vice president.

In addition, “there is a tremendous rising cost of talent, and Cornell is at a disadvantage already because we’re in Ithaca, which is very hard for good concerts to access,” Greenbaum added.

The S.A. also voted to uphold the Cornell University Programming Board’s (CUPB) request to increase its byline funding to $6 per student.

One of the reasons that the SAFC voted to allow this funding is because “the quality of speakers that we receive at Cornell is not really on par with the quality of our institution,” Moschella said. “We felt that reaffirming commitment to bringing in quality speakers would enhance the reputations of our school.”

The deficiency Moschella spoke about, Greenbaum said is due in part to the funding, “but more importantly to the administration’s indifference to bringing in speakers.”

“They just don’t think it’s a priority. That said, by extending full funding to this group, we help them as much as we can to bring in speakers,” Greenbaum said.

In additional funding decisions, the S.A. also allocated funding from its own special project fund to the Model United Nations, an organization that represents Cornell at various simulated United Nation conferences around the country. The funding will assist members in the costs of attending conferences.

Archived article by Kate Cooper