December 5, 2008

Skorton, Hubbell Discuss University's Role in Financial Crisis

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With the nation in a state of economic distress, the Student Assembly devoted last night’s final meeting of the semester to an open discussion of the consequences of the financial crisis and the future of Cornell’s student body, faculty and staff.
Rammy Salem ’10, minority representative of the S.A., introduced Resolution 18, entitled “Supporting Cornell’s New Financial Aid Policy and Calling for Increased International Student Aid.” Salem argued that “international student aid is not taken into account” in Cornell’s new financial aid policy. Later in the meeting, the S.A. passed the resolution, further supporting Cornell’s commitment to making every student’s college education affordable.
The highlight of the meeting was a conversation with President David Skorton and Dean of Students Kent Hubbell ’67. Skorton discussed the impact of the current financial crisis on Cornell and on higher education, noting. “All our peer institutions are having challenges,” he said.
Skorton outlined several goals for the University in this tough time. He described a plan to more efficiently run the University and to continue to lead the nation and the world, in terms of higher education. He discussed using Cornell’s resources to help the developing world have more sophisticated research and learning opportunities.
Through his talk, he remained optimistic, citing Cornell’s success in the past in dealing with crises.
The issue of student housing was also brought to the table. The S.A.’s Residential Life Committee is working to improve the housing lottery system and housing for transfer students. Both of these issues will continue to be addressed by the committee.
Ryan Lavin ’09, S.A. president, discussed his recent meeting with top administrators from Cornell and Ithaca, including Hubbell, the new Ithaca police chief, and other Collegetown leaders. Lavin discussed the need for a committee to address issues important to the Cornell community with more student participation. “When there’s more student involvement, [a program] is more successful,” he said.