February 26, 2003

S.A.'s Slope Day Discussion Results in Little Consensus

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Last night, students gathered in the Memorial Room of the Straight to discuss their opinions on proposed changes to Slope Day.

Due to low turnout — less than 50 students compared to an expected 300 — the forum format was changed to a roundtable discussion. Since there was no table available, students made a large circle to foster the discussion.

Student Assembly (S.A.) representative Josh Bronstein ’05, currently running on the Cornell Democrats ticket for an undesignated seat on the S.A. and involved with saveslopeday.com, attempted to focus the meeting on the issues of catering and fencing.

Bronstein commented on saveslopeday.com, a website started by the Undergraduate Slope Day Committee of the S.A., an ad-hoc committee formed this semester.

Objections were raised to Bronstein’s opening comments and to the Cornell Democrats’ and Students for Students’ use of Slope Day reforms as a campaign platform for upcoming elections.

While commenting on their Slope Day platform, Steve Blake ’05, who is running for an undesignated seat on the S.A., and Nick Linder ’05, who is running for a College of Arts and Sciences seat, passed around their “Rock the Slope” prospectus.

The circulation of this plan received a mixed reaction. Some congratulated Blake and Linder for having formulated a proposal; an unnamed student said that this was unusual for members of the S.A.

Several were also pleased at the plans to fund the performance of popular urban artist Fat Joe on Libe Slope.

Crumpling the proposal in his hands, Eric Andersen ’03 expressed his intention to use the proposal as a substitute for toilet tissue.

He added, “Allowing catering at all removes part of the Slope Day experience.”

Many at the meeting raised a considerable objection to the political nature that the meeting took from the beginning.

“This is not a political issue,” said Erik Snyder ’03, a member of the Slope Day Steering Committee, a subcommittee of the President’s Committee on Alcohol and Other Drugs. “We’re against catering,” Snyder added, “but [President Hunter R.] Rawlings [III] will not budge. We can negotiate the size of the beers, the times, and consider entertainment options.”

Several students voiced complaints that S.A. and Steering Committee members were using the meeting to argue with one another and not allowing other students to voice their opinions.

“This is not a get-out-of-jail-free day,” said Bryant Tow ’05. “Be willing to pay the consequences.”

Bronstein then accused the Steering Committee members of misrepresenting facts in their presentation to the S.A. but did not delineate the points of contention.

Steering committee members then objected to accusations that they had lied.

Justin McEvily ’03 commented on the purpose of the Steering Committee.

“This committee is a hybrid policymaking body of students and administrators — perspectives that need to be provided,” McEvily said.

“It is 100 percent divorced from the politics of the S.A.,” McEvily added. “Student leaders are trying to make the best of a bad situation because we care.”

Ben Lowe ’04 answered to accusations that the Slope Day issue had become wrapped up in S.A. politics. “The Steering Committee is doing a good job working with a burden,” Lowe said. “But we still feel that it was unfair of the administration to form a body and tell them what they were to decide.”

“This has become political, and it is a shame,” commented Lowe.

Without further explanation, he added, “In two days it will become clear.”

Archived article by Chris Mitchell