November 3, 2015

Student Assembly Petitions for City Meeting on Cornell Campus

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The Student Assembly released a petition Monday proposing that a City of Ithaca Common Council meeting be held on Cornell’s campus. (Connor Archard/ Sun File Photo)

Correction appended 

The Student Assembly launched an online petition Monday asking students to support a proposal requesting that a City of Ithaca Common Council meeting be held on Cornell’s campus.

Believing that a Common Council meeting on campus would be beneficial to the Cornell community, the S.A.’s City and Local Affairs Committee started the petition because “students make a up a distinct class of constituents that are often undereducated and underrepresented in regards to the City’s policy,” according to the petition.

“What you do not see is direct engagement with local politics and policies,” said Millicent Kastenbaum ’16, chair of the committee. “I want to change this because local government and the decisions that it makes do impact students.”

Kastenbaum intends to bring the petition to a city administration meeting on Nov. 18. If greeted with positive feedback, she said she hopes to have the Common Council address campus next semester in the Willard Straight Hall Memorial room.

Since its launch Monday, the petition received over 50 signatures out of the 400 the committee aims to garner, according to Kastenbaum.

The idea originated from Zach Praiss ’16, who said he conceived of the idea because he believed having a Common Council meeting on campus “would be an amazing opportunity to everyone involved.”

“I thought it would be a terrific opportunity to bring local government officials up to the hill to meet with us students, their constituents,” said Praiss, who is a member of The Sun’s design department. “Such a meeting I believe would get students to think more seriously and thoughtfully about how the city government impacts their life.”

Emma Johnston ’16, executive vice president of the S.A., shared her hope that this initiative will help students become more civically involved.

“While this event seems to bring part of the Ithaca community to campus, hopefully it will encourage them to leave campus to participate in the local community by going to Common Council meetings, volunteering or simply attending events or supporting local businesses on the weekends,” Johnston said.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly referred to the Student Assembly committee that launched the petition as the Civil and Local Affairs Committee, when, in fact, it is the City and Local Affairs Committee.