April 3, 2009

Student Assembly Debates the Merits of Optional Transfer House

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Resolution 30, calling for the creation of an optional transfer programming house, was sponsored by Andrew Brokman ’11, transfer representative, and Jared Feldman ’11, vice-chair of the Committee on Transfer Affairs. The two spoke about the struggles of the transfer community at Cornell since the closing of the Transfer Center. Brokman cited statistics, from a survey he conducted, that “88 percent of transfer students [had] a positive experience [at] the Transfer Center.”
The West Campus Residential Initiative, which began construction in 2003, has failed the transfer community, according to Feldman. “Transfer students were not included in the plans.”
“The transfer community needs a house, not only to live in, but to be a resource for the whole community,” Brokman added.
However, many S.A. members were skeptical of the proposed resolution citing both the feasibility of the program in the current economic climate as well as the ambiguity of the language of the resolution.
After lengthy discussion and several votes, the matter was tabled until next week, pending revisions by the resolution proposers.
Following the discussion on Resolution 30, another resolution was debated yesterday. Allen Miller ’11, Greek liaison, Sanjiv Tata ’09, residential student congress liaison, and Rammy Salem ’10, minority representative and incoming S.A. president, introduced Resolution 31 which proposed granting voting rights to liaisons. Miller, Tata and Salem expressed their beliefs that liaisons represent important constituencies of the Cornell community and should be given voting rights like representatives. Despite that proposed increase in power, the resolution includes a clause stipulating that a liaison can neither run for an executive position nor vote during the by-line funding process.
Supporters, led by Salem, believed that all desiring constituencies should have a voice on campus through the S.A. However, dissenters, led by Michael McDermott ’09, director of elections, believed that voting members should be elected in direct democratic elections, not like the indirect, representative democracy that chooses the greek liaison and RSC liaison.
Lavin closed the discussion, promising to address Resolution 31 for voting at next week’s meeting. Resolution 30 will be discussed again as well.