April 10, 2009

S.A. Votes 'Yes' on Transfer House

Print More

S.A. members were busy at yesterday’s meeting in the Straight, passing two resolutions and tabling a third.
With a vote of 15 to 1, the S.A. voiced its support of the Collegetown Urban Plan and Design Guidelines, urging the University to follow suit and publicly announce its support as well. The S.A. supports the Goody Clancy version of the Collegetown plan since it raises the maximum height of building in the center of Collegetown to 90 feet.
In an interview after the meeting, Asa Craig ’11, Arts and Sciences representative, emphasized the need for the City of Ithaca to take into account the views of Cornell students.
“We agree with Goody Clancy and the University needs to take a position,” Craig said. “Cornell is a huge part of Ithaca and our voices are not being heard. We recognize this plan and will send it to Skorton.”
Nate Baker ’11, Architecture, Art and Planning representative, whoses views were in accordance with Craig’s, stated, “The S.A., University Assembly, and GPSA all agree and want to officially state that we really favor the Goody Clancy plan. We want to show that students of Cornell overwhelmingly support this plan and the City of Ithaca should take this into consideration.”
Assembly members also called for the reinstatement of an optional Transfer Programming House. The Transfer House, which was shut down two years ago, accommodated about 200 transfers, to make room for the new West Campus house system, which now accommodates more than 300 transfers.
According to a survey performed by the S.A. Committee on Transfer Affairs, 88 percent of students who lived in the Transfer Programming House in the Class ’17 Hall had a “positive” first-year living experience.
Many transfer students attended the S.A. meeting, sporting t-shirts that read “I [love] transfers.”
“There was overwhelming amount support,” Baker said. “I felt positive about it last week but we all decided to think it over for a weekend. The need for transfer housing center was evident.”
While right now there are “pockets of transfers living all over campus,” Baker explained that this resolution would enable “a significant amount of transfers to live in one building. Even if you don’t live there, you will know about the programs going on at the transfer center. It just provides a support center for the transfer community.”
The last resolution, which proposed to grant voting rights to S.A. liaisons from the Resident Student Congress and the Greek community, was “very contentious,” according to Craig.
According to Mike McDermott ’09, director of elections, who has been working on S.A. election reform over this past year, granting voting rights to these two liaisons would go against the Assembly’s attempt to make all its decision’s “truly democratic.”
“We need to make sure the voting process is legitimate so that every person who has the privilege of voting has the backing of their constituency,” McDermott said. “These liaisons were indirectly elected. The main issue is that each person in the constituency can vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ for their elected official.”
“How did that person get there?” Craig asked. “Does everyone have a voice to say that the person deserves that seat?”
The resolution was tabled indefinitely.
At next week’s meeting, Assembly members plan to discuss University Assembly’s decision to change Gorge Safety Campus Code of Conduct to prohibit swimming and bathing in the gorge.
“We will get opinions from the S.A. to give to the University Assembly,” said Craig, who is also a member of the U.A.
In a straw poll, 15 opposed the new regulation, one in favor and one abstention.