May 6, 2005

S.A. Meets for Last Time This Semester

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The Redbud Woods controversy escalated another step yesterday when the Student Assembly passed a resolution urging the administration to salvage the woods. The meeting, which was the S.A.’s last of the school year, ended after the group passed three resolutions and deferred one to be covered in the fall.

The main purpose of the woods resolution was to call for Cornell to research and derive alternate options for creating parking to solve the current deficiencies on West Campus. Other stipulations in the resolution included granting amnesty to all “redbuddy” offenders who acted in a non-violent manner and calling on the entire community to create a master plan to reconstruct a productive parking plan that will satisfy parking demands for years to come.

While the majority of the assembly agreed that alternate parking areas should be researched, granting amnesty created controversy and almost prevented the resolution from passing. “When you break the law you are subject to the ramifications of those laws,” said Raj Shah ’06.

Though most members agreed that the “redbuddies” broke the law when they invaded President Jeffrey S. Lehman’s ’77 office and refused to leave, the notion that their intentions were wholesome and actions were non-violent persuaded the committee to recommend amnesty.

“The administration didn’t negotiate with us in good faith,” said Patrick Young ’06. “This issue with the ‘redbuddies’ has been an issue of democracy on campus.”

In addition to the woods resolution, the S.A. made a statement in support of Cornell’s ROTC program and urged Cornell to establish an ad hoc committee to explore the legal status of the Cornell Police. This committee will investigate the police force’s current status and consider changing their qualification from peace officers to police officers. If this new status is given, the police force will be able to investigate more thoroughly and have more standard police powers.

S.A. member Joseph Rudnick ’08 created and provided the impetus for the passing of the police resolution. While the status change won’t physically give the police more power, Rudnick emphasized that they will have more basic abilities such as the right to perform background checks and issue missing persons reports.

“It’s an issue of campus safety,” Rudnick said. “The goal of the committee will be to bring the officers and administration together to discuss and analyze the functions of the police and the safety of the campus.”

The final resolution presented called for amending the current S.A. election rules. This issue was pushed back and will be covered by the S.A. in the fall.

Archived article by Carl Menzel
Sun Staff Writer