After much debate on the issue, the Student Assembly yesterday stood by their $8 per student allocation for the Cornell Cinema from the Student Activities Fee (SAF) the original figure it had decided to give earlier in the budget process.
The representatives also approved Appendix B, which cemented the rules SAF funded organizations have to follow to keep their allocation, effective starting this fall. Cornell Cinema petitioned to receive $9 per student via the SAF, but the S.A. approved $8. Supporters of the Cornell Cinema went to yesterday’s meeting to lobby for the extra $1 per student that they requested.
The S.A. increased Cornell Cinema’s funding by $1 per student and suggested that the cinema increase their ticket prices to $5 per student to make up for the difference. Some students had concerns over the effect of ticket price increases.
“Speaking as a worker of Cornell Cinema, people won’t come to as many [movies] if the price is increased,” Tamera Stover ’02 said. “The cinema provides for people a place to escape, to have some quiet time alone. People have financial concerns.”
However, some S.A. members believe that ticket sales won’t fluctuate in response to an increase in ticket prices. “I think that students will go to Cornell Cinema due to convenience,” Scott Toussaint ’05, new student representative, said. “If the cinema is more dependent on revenue, then they will show more movies people will see.”
Many S.A. members tried to persuade their peers to rescind the previous decision and to give Cornell Cinema more funding. “[The Cornell Cinema] is essentially a one-screen cinema,” Ari Epstein ’04, CALS representative. “They bring movies we wouldn’t ordinarily see.” Cornell Cinema sponsors film series on such topics such as international issues and independent films. The cinema also shows popular, mainstream movies.
Some representatives believe that many of these lesser known movies will be first to feel the effects of the funding problems. “The minority and international programs will be the first to go,” Funa Maduka ’04, minority representative, said. “The risk of losing the minority and international programs should be enough to rescind the decision.”
Joshua Roth ’03, Arts and Sciences representative, believes that many of the quality programs will suffer as well. “If we don’t increase their funding, I think that some of the educational movies will be the first to go,” he said. Several representatives feel that the different genres of movies shown on campus help to promote and enlighten the students. “I think that they promote education and diversity in such an unique way,” Erica Kagan ’05, Lesbian, Gay, Transgender Questioning (LGBTQ) representative, said.
However, other S.A. members believe that $8 per student is enough funding for the cinema. “The cinema is in a deficit, and they need money to get out of debt,” Nick Linder ’05, new student representative, said. “The S.A. isn’t a bank — you don’t get money from us to pay your debts. I think that drawing more revenues will help [the cinema], and more people will come to [cinema] programs.”
Linder also mentioned that the funding issue might motivate cinema workers to advertise more and increase student attendance and responsiveness. “It creates a burden for [the cinema] to get people to go [the] movies,” Linder added.
There were concerns that changing the decision will cast doubt on the effectiveness of the S.A.
“I love Cornell Cinema,” Michael Matly ’03, vice president of public relations, said. “I don’t think in any way this vote shows our opinions on the Cornell Cinema. I’m fond of Cornell Cinema, but if we rescind this, it says that we made a mistake.”
Some members felt that changing the decision wouldn’t cast any doubt on the S.A. In the end of debate, the S.A. voted not to rescind their previous decision, keeping the Cornell Cinema at $8 per student via the SAF They approved the SAF for the next funding cycle and Appendix B.
S.A. members voted to set the SAF at $124.00 per student, which will be the amount paid by students each year for the next 2 years, if President Hunter Rawlings approves the fee. S.A. members allocated $123.51 per student to organizations, and the extra 49 cents would go to the Student Assembly Finance Commission (SAFC), if the SAF is approved.
Setting the Calendar
Other business covered by the S.A. was setting the elections calendar for spring elections. There were concerns about the time allotted for campaigning, which conflicts with Passover. Members also endorsed the UNICEF Dance for Afghanistan. Dance for Afghanistan will raise money to aid Afghan relief projects. The fundraiser will be held in the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art on Dec.15 from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.
The S.A. also approved a resolution commending the efforts of their student clerk, Courtney Bolger ’02.
Archived article by Kelly Samuels