February 22, 2008

S.A., Grads Compromise on Funding for Slope Day

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As the Student Assembly prepared for Slope Day, some of its members expressed discontent about the social loafing of Cornell graduate students. Yesterday, the S.A. came together along with representatives from the Office of the University Registrar in search of a compromise concerning Slope Day funding.
They concluded that the Cornell administration would bear the cost of getting the information of attending undergraduates and graduates through ticketing. With this data, undergraduates could then determine an appropriate role for the GPSA in funding Slope Day for years to come.
Student representatives present at the meeting included Liz Rapoport ’09, chair of the Slope Day Planning Board, Adam Gay ’08, S.A. vice president for finance and CJ Slicklen ’09, president of the Student Assembly. Members of the administration included Joe Scaffido, assistant dean of student activities, Kent Hubbell, dean of students and members of the office of the vice president for student and academic services.
For years, Slope Day, Cornell’s annual spring event featuring live concerts, catered food and beverages on Libe Slope, has been attended by both Cornell undergraduate and graduate students. Although graduate students participate in the festivities, the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly (GPSA) does not take an active role in funding the event.
While the undergraduate Assembly agreed with the compromise to institute ticketing, there was dissatisfaction with the decision amongst some of its members. Ahmed Salem ’08, at-large representative, said, “Undergraduates have to bear the cost of Slope Day. It’s a shame for us to compromise. Why not have the GPSA pay retroactively? It just doesn’t cut i … It’s a cop out.” While Gay agreed, he felt that the refusual of this compromise was not appropriate for the Student Assembly at this point in time.
The idea of graduate students paying for Slope Day retroactively, which means that the graduate students will reimburse the Student Assmbly depending on the their participation in the Slope festiviities. However, this idea was not met well by everyone.
Holmes advised the Assembly to place things in perspective and cooperate with each other in order to host a succesful Slope Day.
“The University is paying 50 percent of the event,” Holmes said. “Let’s try and move forward and work with all parties so this is an event for all to enjoy.”
Gay agreed with the practicality of taking a hardline stance in the compromise with the graduate students and Cornell administration.
“We have to accept this portion,” Gay said. “We don’t have the authority and the logistics are not possible. Retroactive funding can be discussed in the future but we have to accept this compromise.”
Vince Harman ’08, Arts and Sciences representative, viewed this system as impractical to Cornell graduate students.
“I am not in favor [of] retro-active paying,” Hartman said. “It seems unfair to have the future graduate students pay for the present students’ Slope Day.”
After the meeting, Slicklen said he did not view this compromise as a setback. Instead, he saw it as part of a process and a step in the right direction.[img_assist|nid=28092|title=Good listeners|desc=Slope Day Representatives Joe Scaffido, Liz Rapaport ’09 and Catherine Holmes appear before the Student Assembly yesterday to discuss Slope Day plans.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“I think it’s great that we will have a record of everyone, graduates and undergraduates, attending Slope Day,” said Slicklen. “It will be an important tool for future assemblies to use to establish an equitable compromise so that graduates pay their fair share in partaking in the Day’s events.”
Slope Day Representatives Joe Scaffido, Liz Rapaport ’09 and Catherine Holmes appear before the Student Assembly yesterday to discuss Slope Day plans.
Shifting the discussion away from funding, Mark Coombs ’08, director of elections and The Sun columnist, brought the S.A.’s attention to efforts to decrease Cornell students consumption of alcohol on Slope Day. On behalf of of Student Assembly, he offered the Cornell administration support in their attempts to stave off any health injuries during Slope Day due to heavy dreaking.
On the subject, Catherine Holmes had positive news to bring to the Student Assembly.
“There was definitely not as much heavy drinking, [which includes] fifteen or more drinks, as in previous years,” she said. “Greek life has helped by taking hard alcohol out of the fraternities. It seems we are moving in the right direction.”