January 27, 2011

Student Assembly Postpones Votes on Proposals to Improve Groups’ Sustainability

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Cornell’s sustainability movement came to a crossroads at Thursday night’s Student Assembly meeting, as student activists debated a campus sustainability initiative. On the docket were two resolutions aimed at monitoring the sustainability of Cornell’s student groups. The first, Resolution 45, proposed that all 900 organizations registered with the Student Activities Office describe their commitment to sustainability in a written report. The second, Resolution 37, would bind only the 25 by-line funded groups to this proposal.Although Resolution 45 fell just one vote short of the two-thirds majority it needed to pass, the S.A. decided to combine the two resolutions and reconcile common elements so they can pass a similar measure next week.“The resolutions are complementary rather than mutually exclusive,” said LGBTQ Rep. Matt Danzer ’12, who motioned to combine the two resolutions.Danzer blamed poor communication for the first resolution’s failure.“People didn’t communicate as much as they needed to beforehand, so rather than have two resolutions with holes in them, the hope is that the sponsors of each resolution will sit down with one another and try to figure out a way to resolve their differences,” Danzer said.This wish, however, may be ill-fated. Mike Walsh grad, sponsor of Resolution 37, said he cannot support a top-down command for all organizations to detail their commitments to sustainability, which he said will hamper student groups’ right to assemble.Although Walsh said that such a formal commitment to sustainability is necessary for by-line funded groups, which have budgets of $10,000 to $100,000, he said that small-scale groups at the undergraduate and graduate level — many of which do not receive funding from the finance committees — should not have to deal with this bureaucracy.“I am very passionate about sustainability, but I don’t think that a sustainability requirement should be required for recognition,” Walsh said. “Such barriers to entry for people or organizations are generally not a good idea.”Walsh’s resolution to ensure by-line funded groups’ commitment to sustainability was passed at the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly on Monday, and it will go into effect next application process.If the Student Assembly passes the combined resolution, Walsh said that he would probably take his name off because he does not support the all-inclusive sustainability commitment. However, Walsh said he would like to see by-line funded groups dealt with in the same fashion in both assemblies, as both must approve the appropriations of by-line funded groups.

Original Author: Sam Cross