After a debate-filled meeting yesterday evening, the Student Assembly (S.A.) passed resolutions regarding Slope Day and Cornell’s application for undergraduate admission, among other issues.
In an effort to better represent student opinions to the administration, the S.A. voted on a resolution to form an ad-hoc committee “to evaluate the undergraduate student body’s desires for Slope Day.”
This resolution was proposed in response to the feeling shared by many members of the S.A. that student insight and opinions on Slope Day have been largely ignored by the administration, especially when “contradictory to the president’s charge,” according to the resolution.
“I hope students get angry. I hope they get interested in this committee,” Student-Elected Trustee Leslie Barkemeyer ’03 said.
Last November, President Hunter R. Rawlings III sent a charge to the Slope Day Steering Committee to overhaul Slope Day so it would conform to all alcohol regulations, be a safe and fun event and fulfill Cornell’s value of “freedom with responsibility.”
“I think this is an important resolution that will allow the student body to give input on Slope Day. It is a big step in the right direction,” said Stuti Mandala ’04, S.A. vice president of finance.
Though most members agreed that it is important to keep the student body informed and seek its input on the issues surrounding Slope Day, concerns arose about the effectiveness of creating a new committee.
“Just creating a new committee doesn’t mean we’ll be heard by the administration,” said Ari Epstein ’04, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences representative.
Despite this misgiving, the resolution passed by 14 votes.
In a move that will affect future prospective Cornell students, the S.A. also passed a resolution supporting an additional question on the application for undergraduate admission.
The question, which asks applicants to “discuss an event or situation you have experienced that was influenced by the input of people from other backgrounds and/or perspectives,” is meant to reaffirm and strengthen the University’s commitment to “Open Doors, Open Hearts, Open Minds.”
“It is a good solution to giving meaning to the statement,” said Minority Liaison-At-Large Jermaine Gause ’04, who proposed the resolution last semester.
The question has been approved by the committee in charge of the admissions application and will appear in the application for next year’s freshman class.
“This question really asks something compelling of prospective students. It deals with part of the Cornell experience,” said Sai Pidatala ’04, S.A. executive vice president and minority liaison.
On a different side of the diversity issue at Cornell, Lynette Chapell-Williams, director of the Office of Workforce Diversity, Equity and Life Quality, presented the Committee on Special Education Projects’ (COSEP) report on bias-related incidents at Cornell and effective techniques used by other universities to deal with incidents.
Chapell-Williams reported that although there was one more bias-related incident this fall semester compared with the fall 2001 semester, last year the majority of incidents were verbal while last semester most incidents involved graffiti.
“This year the majority of bias activity occurred in the residence halls,” she said. Last year’s bias-related activity was split between the residence halls and the campus.
Archived article by Elizabeth Donald