At last Thursday’s Student Assembly meeting, President David Skorton indicated some of the priorities he and his administration will focus on for the rest of his term and asked for help from all shared governance bodies to further develop a common agenda. Skorton expressed his desire to take action on key issues in light of his upcoming departure for the Smithsonian Institution, as well as the departure of several key members of his administration including Provost Kent Fuchs, Vice President Susan Murphy ’73 Ph.D. ’94 and Dean of the School of Industrial and Labor Relations Harry Katz. While we commend Skorton for reaching out to the Student Assembly, we at The Sun hope to see more clarification and direct communication from Skorton with students when that agenda is being set.
At the meeting, Skorton extolled the current student-centered priorities for his administration, which included finalizing a memorandum of understanding over future TCAT funding, addressing sexual violence and ensuring a smooth transition to President-Elect Elizabeth Garrett’s term. However, most of his comments were repeating what has been previously said and were short on new details. We at The Sun ask Skorton to clarify what specific actions the administration will take on the priorities it has set out for itself, especially in regards to making progress on issues which some may perceive the administration to be lagging on, like sexual violence on campus.
We also ask Skorton to reach beyond the structure of the shared governance bodies and engage with the student body itself to generate potential new priorities to focus on and to communicate the administration’s agenda. In this exciting time, when there is a changing-of-the-guard in progress, students are interested in understanding the administration’s priorities now and in the future, and possibly becoming involved in its various strategies. However, the slow and steady process at which the Student Assembly marches on may not be the best method to enact the quick action Skorton may desire. We at The Sun encourage Skorton and his administration to engage directly with the student body, to speed up the process on issues important for us all and allow themselves to leave a mark at Cornell.