March 6, 2009

S.A. Votes on Illegal File Sharing Surveys

Print More

Despite a hectic week of quarter-carding and campaigning, the issues surrounding the Student Assembly election barely made it to the agenda of the S.A.’s weekly meeting last night in Willard Straight Hall.
The S.A. announced at the meeting that 14 challenges have yet to be resolved before the election results can be posted. According to the S.A., the turnout this year — 4,432 votes — was significantly larger than last year’s turnout.
As reported by The Sun on Feb. 19, the current S.A. election is at its most competitive since 2006, boasting 43 candidates running for 19 available positions.
The S.A. also passed Resolution 27, which allows the University to conduct surveys with students who were previously involved with illegal file sharing. Information from this survey would be made public to the entire Cornell community.
A draft of the survey from Feb. 26 states a dual purpose: keeping students informed about sharing files and educating those who may receive settlement notices in the future. Cornell Information Technologies will be responsible for distributing these surveys, which will be kept confidential.
According to S.A. President Ryan Lavin ‘09, such a survey will offer a pre-emptive learning opportunity for University students. “I see absolutely no reason why we shouldn’t [vote to approve this survey],” Lavin said.
The resolution was sponsored by S.A. Engineering Representative Michael Heinz ’09.
Furthermore, discussion arose regarding an amendment to the two-week-old Resolution 24, which calls for slight changes in the guidelines for the allocation of the student activity fee. No definite conclusion was reached at the end of the discussion.
According to this amendment, campus organizations applying for funding from the Student Assembly Finance Commission would be required to provide information regarding their organizations’ sustainability practices for the last two academic years, as well as projections for the next two years.
Although some emphasized the importance of sustainability, claiming that such a clause in the SAFC guidelines would promote environmental awareness across campus groups, others disagreed.
“Sustainability needs to be a choice,” Industrial and Labor Relations Representative Rebecca Stein ’09 said. “No campus group should ever feel that funding depends on how sustainable its practices are.”
Vice President for Finance Gregory Mezey ’09 joined the opposition, calling the proposed amendment “very subjective,” as some campus groups and organizations are more geared toward sustainability practices than others.
Some responded to Mezey’s comments, arguing that SAFC funds on a “case-by-case scenario,” so that student groups that do not exhibit particularly sustainable practices will not necessarily receive less SAFC funding.