The University Assembly (UA) invited members from the Department of Transportation, Religious Affairs, Health Service and the Campus Store to their meeting in Willard Straight’s Art Room on Tuesday with the hopes of facilitating a dialogue that would raise questions and concerns that would ultimately be addressed in these programs’ yearly reports.
In the past, this agenda was reserved for the spring but the twenty-one students, graduate students, faculty and employees that comprise the UA felt that saving this discussion for the end of the academic year was not the most effective way for changes to be made. The UA has legislative authority over the policies which direct the actions of the departments that were present.
“Historically, this had been a May meeting, citizen participation in the eleventh and a half hour. Moving toward another approach made sense, so we tried a mid-year progress report in hopes of hearing some input that we would be able to follow up on and move forward with,” said Ken Reardon, a Professor in the City and Regional Department and the Chair of the UA.
The representative for health services was the first to speak and she touched on a variety of initiatives with which Gannett has been involved. The most important issues addressed were the medical amnesty program, mental health services, and Gannett’s ability to respond and organize to an emergency scenario. Throughout her presentation, she reiterated that Gannett is open to new ideas and that this meeting might be even more affective in the fall.
The director of the Cornell United Religious Works, Rev. Kenneth Clarke, Senior, talked about the challenges and current tasks that the organization currently faces. The main dialogue centered around how to attract more students to the 11:00 a.m. Sunday service at Sage Hall since there has been a steady decline in attendance.
Clarke asked the assembly, “How can we create an audience or perhaps tap into a new audience for Sage?”
In response, Umair Khan ’03, a member of the assembly, said, “The venue may be a deterrence, but you can counter this by saying that this is a spiritual place. A place of spiritual renewal.”
Next, the Cornell Store’s representative discussed how the establishment’s main goals are to serve the academic needs of Cornell’s campus and to provide the lowest cost products to consumers.
The final presentation was given by David Lieb, charge of marketing for Transportation Services ’89. He discussed plans of working with CIT so that parking renewals and ride boards could be easily accessible online.
The meeting was held in order for new ideas to be heard and the programs’ progress to be reported before these various organizations had completed their final reports and would be resistant to change.
“What we really want to do is we wanted to impact in a positive way the environment which these programs operate and we are very thankful to the program directors for coming,” Reardon said.
Patrick Savolskis, chair of the Transportation Advisory Committee, felt that this setting may not be the best way to facilitate better communication and improvement within these programs.
“I think you are worried about communications… but you need to focus on liaisons. Emphasis should be made on liaisons that report more back (to the UA),” Savolskis said.
The UA still has more meetings throughout the academic year as well as conversations with Cornell’s central administration during which the UA will be able to explore these issues with President Rawlings and Provost Martin.
Archived article by Dana Rosenberg