April 4, 2003

S.A. Addresses Men's Hockey, Funding

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In an unusually poorly attended Student Assembly (S.A.) meeting last night, members passed resolutions regarding the Cornell men’s hockey team’s recent victories, the contract college funding crisis and Slope Day.

The S.A. officially congratulated “the entire men’s hockey team for their successes [and wished the team] luck in the upcoming Frozen Four tournament” yesterday. In a related resolution, the S.A. called on the athletic department to provide transportation to major sporting events, specifically to the Frozen Four in Buffalo, N.Y.

Last year the S.A. passed a similar resolution, but the athletic department “wasn’t especially willing to work with us,” said Josh Roth ’03, College of Arts and Sciences representative.

“The athletic department is the most difficult and obstinate department to work with. … We give them $100,000 and it’s not clear what we get in return,” he continued.

In response to the approximately $26 million of support Cornell stands to lose from the New York State Assembly, the S.A. expressed “its ardent support of the University’s lobbying efforts to secure the monies typically granted to Cornell.”

The resolution further encouraged students to “voice their support” in obtaining this funding by contacting their New York State representatives.

Although State University of New York (SUNY) schools will lose funding due to budget cuts this year as well, they will be able to make up the difference with an approximately $1,200 in tuition increases, according to Undesignated Representative Jackie Koppell ’05.

“The other universities can make up the difference by raising tuition; Cornell can’t” because of the large sum the University has the potential to lose, Koppell said.

Even if contract colleges increase tuition by the same amount as the SUNY schools, it would only cover a fraction of the loss.

While the University has been waging a lobbying campaign to recover the funding, the State Assembly has not heard much from constituents on the issue.

“The constituents need to speak. … The Assembly has only heard from the top,” Koppell said.

Though some members felt the issue had already been addressed in a previous resolution, the new one passed.

“We have to figure out what we can do as students to help resolve this problem,” said New Student Representative Tim Lim ’06 in support of the resolution.

The S.A. continued its debate on Slope Day as well, passing a resolution that essentially supported the plans made by the Slope Day Steering Committee but protested the commercial regulation of alcohol on the Slope.

Though the resolution passed, the issue still finds S.A. members divided. Several members thought the resolution compromised with the administration too much, especially since it resolved to “continue with the Slope Day Steering Committee’s fencing of the Slope” in order to check identification.

“[Students] are tired of the administration forcing demands down [their] throats. … The administration is slowly phasing out Slope Day,” Lim said, after expressing his view that the S.A. should take a firmer stand against the catering of the event.

Members also took up the opposing view as well.

“The University has made it clear that they want to preserve Slope Day and that they are concerned for student safety,” said Ari Epstein ’04, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences representative.

“They’re trying to change student mentality about Slope Day” from a celebration with a focus on alcohol to alcohol playing a small role for people over the legal age, Roth added.

Some Cornell students think the S.A. is spending too much time debating this issue.

“I don’t think the S.A. realizes there are other things going on. … The safest Slope Day is no Slope Day and the safest Cornellian is a sober one,” said audience member Elliott Reed ’05, vice chair of the College Republicans.

Archived article by Elizabeth Donald