November 30, 2007

S.A. Pres. Greenberg Resigns

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Student Assembly President Elan Greenberg ’08 resigned his position last night in a surprise announcement to the S.A. membership, ending his tenure after only one semester in office.
The announcement came during a weekly assembly meeting and included a call for institutional reform within the S.A. itself. Greenberg referred to “discrepancies that exist in our charter, inaccuracies that remain unfixed, holes that remain unplugged,” and hoped that his resignation would underscore the assembly’s commitment to “the reform process we need to continue.”
“It’s in the best interest of the assembly to have someone fresh in the job,” Greenberg told The Sun after his announcement. “I decided [to step down] based on a lot of input from family and friends. It was a long process.”
C.J. Slicklen ’09, formerly executive vice president of the S.A., will replace Greenberg as S.A president for the remainder of the school year. Greenberg will remain on the S.A. as an at-large representative, and plans to focus his attention on the assembly’s institutional inadequacies during his last semester of membership.
“I will no longer have to deal with the administrative burdens [associated with the S.A. presidency],” Greenberg told The Sun, “so I can focus on things that need to be changed.”
In his statement to the S.A. and later in his comments to The Sun, Greenberg referred to a “false stigma that the Student Assembly lacks any integrity,” and said he would work hard to engage the assembly more actively with the Cornell community.
“People say we need to get rid of the S.A., but no one takes the time to fix it,” Greenberg said. “[It has become apparent] that we’re not properly engaged with the community, and that needs to change.”
Slicklen told The Sun he is confident Greenberg will maintain a significant presence on the assembly until the end of the year, and was excited by the changes outlined in the outgoing president’s statement.
“Elan realized the S.A. is a good organization, but that it could also be a lot better,” Slicklen said. “He wants to dedicate a full amount of his time at Cornell to [improving the organization,] and I’m very excited to see [what he will accomplish].”
Slicklen said everyone on the assembly’s executive board was excited by Greenberg’s plan for institutional reform, but some among the S.A. membership were more disappointed by last night’s announcement.
“I feel like there was more [Greenberg] said he would accomplish that he hasn’t done yet,” said Mazdak Asgary ’08, an international representative on the assembly. “It seems like this was just a move by him to allow C.J. to become president, and that’s despicable.”
Asgary also referred to some recent dissent within the S.A. over byline funding procedure, an issue Greenberg himself brought up in his statement of resignation. The contention centered around Greenberg’s interpretation of S.A. charter to require a two-thirds majority for rejection of an appropriations committee decision.
“Byline funding had its challenges,” Greenberg said in his statement. “Our ‘interpretation’ Of Appendix A and our subsequent ‘clarification’ caused quite the uproar for some time.”
Ryan Lavin ’09, who replaces C.J. Slicklen as the assembly’s executive vice president after Greenberg’s resignation, said he thinks the outgoing president made the right decision at the right time for the assembly’s future.
“He’s doing this for the right reasons,” Lavin said. “He’s still going to be able to accomplish what he wants to accomplish, and that’s what’s important.”
An internal election will be held soon to determine the S.A.’s new vice president for internal operations, a position vacated by Lavin. Slicklen will assume the S.A. presidency immediately.