September 4, 2009

S.A. Creates Student Ambassadors To Connect Qatar Students to Ithaca

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After welcoming students to the first Student Assembly meeting of the academic school year, S.A. President Rammy Salem ’10 spoke optimistically of his expectations for the S.A. over the coming year, saying, “If you think right now that the moon is our destination, you’re not thinking far enough.”
It was not to the moon, but rather to Qatar that the S.A. first turned its attention. In a resolution to create two student ambassadors to Weill Cornell Medical College in Doha, Qatar, Maya Dib med ’13, one of the resolution’s sponsors, explained that the student ambassador positions would connect the two campuses, so the students in Qatar could “really feel like we belong to Cornell.”
Though some members of the S.A. expressed concern about the exact responsibilities of the student ambassador positions, Salem quelled their concerns.
“The new ambassadors won’t have any speaking rights or attendance rights but they will have to report twice a semester,” Salem said.[img_assist|nid=37827|title=Speaking up|desc=|link=node|align=left|width=336|height=233]
With relatively little discussion, the resolution passed unanimously.
The outcome of the rest of the major resolutions on the agenda, however, were not so easily decided. Contentious debate resumed from last semester on a resolution, supported by Salem and Executive Vice President Ola Williams ’10, to allow students to vote in S.A. meetings.
After a rewording, the resolution now dictates that student community members who attend three S.A. meetings would be allowed to vote.
In the original guidelines, students who sit in on S.A. meetings would be granted the power to vote. The student audience’s votes would then be tallied up and counted as a total of two votes. However, this allowed for the possibility that a lone audience member could have more voting power than any single member of the S.A.
Salem added, “They would be considered voting members only on body resolutions —this excludes budgetary and administrative decisions.”
Despite the changes to the language of the resolution, S.A. members were unable to come to an agreement and eventually decided to table the issue until next week.