The Student Assembly upheld a recently passed resolution yesterday, despite urgings from some members to rescind the resolution and allow further discussion.

"Resolution eleven" was unanimously passed by the S.A. on Sept. 27. The resolution changes the election process for the Student Assembly elected new student seats. Previously, the charter required that three freshmen and one transfer student be elected for these seats. The resolution changes this requirement and allows the four new student seats to be held by any new student, freshman or transfer, therefore allowing the four students with the most votes to win, regardless of class year.

Ari Epstein '04, agriculture and life sciences representative, proposed the motion to rescind resolution eleven. Epstein first explained the need for transfer representation in the S.A. According to Epstein, the transfer student experience "differs markedly" from that of a freshman, and transfer students have "perspectives distinct from freshman that ought to be represented on the Assembly."

In addition to concerns about properly representing the transfer community, Epstein also raised the issue that the date on which the resolution was approved may have been inappropriate. "It was approved on a day when one third of the members were absent for Yom Kippur, the holiest and most austere of holidays in the Jewish religion" he said.

According to Epstein, the S.A. should have given some thought to the students absent due to the religious holiday. "I would hope that somebody would entertain the notion that someone from among that one-third of the Assembly that was absent might have something significant to say, not to mention the incoming new student representatives who were not yet sworn in at that time," he said.

According to Epstein, "there was no concern shown for the students who were absent."

Epstein said that his main concerns about the resolution, however, were that it was placed in new business and passed on the same day it was proposed, instead of being reviewed and discussed over a longer period of time.

"It was introduced in one day and passed on the same day. That's not acceptable procedure. Things get railroaded through and people might be absent because they're sick or because of religious events, so this is one [problem] that could have easily been avoided," Epstein said.

Several S.A. members spoke in support of keeping resolution eleven. Mark Greenbaum '02, executive vice president, said that the decision to pass resolution eleven was a "pragmatic move. You can't win with sixty votes and have someone lose with 300. That is totally unfair. That personally offended my sensibilities that this continually happened," he said.

Greenbaum said the fact that the "[the resolution] passed by acclimation without a single objection in two minutes shows that a lot of these objections here were uncalled for."

Nick Linder '05, new student representative, also voted against the motion to rescind. Because new student representatives were not sworn in at the time, they were not able to vote on the actual resolution eleven.

Linder said that he voted against rescinding during this meeting primarily "on the grounds that two-thirds of the Assembly passed the resolution

December 2, 2015

TCAT Will No Longer Face Potential Cuts

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The Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit will not face budget cuts as the Senate and House have agreed to restore 5340 transit program funding and give New York almost $100 million for its various transit operations.

The provision has been added to a transportation bill that will be voted on later in the week. Originally, an amendment proposed to the bill would cost New York transportation nearly $100 million each year, according to a press release by U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

TCAT will no longer face potential budget cuts, as the Senate and House have agreed to restore funding worth $100 million to transit operations across New York state. (Dan Salisbury / Sun File Photo)

TCAT will no longer face potential budget cuts, as the Senate and House have agreed to restore funding worth $100 million to transit operations across New York state. (Dan Salisbury / Sun File Photo)

The proposed amendment would have cut transit funding, costing TCAT $207,000 annually, The Sun previously reported.

Schumer led the fight against the amendment in the bill passed by the House only a few weeks ago, advocating the replacement of the bill with the 5340 transit provision. This provision provides funding to several agencies throughout the state, according to the release.

“Our regional transit agencies have been lifelines for our communities and major drivers the New York State economy for a generation,” Schumer said in the release. “This deal will ensure they can continue humming as that collective economic engine for upstate New York in the years to come.”

In 2013, federal government funds accounted for 10.6 percent of the TCAT’s budget, according to its website. The TCAT will now receive that money without much issue, said Patty Poist, communications and marketing manager for TCAT.

“So long as we follow federal guidelines, and we do, such as adhering to federal procurement regulations, equal opportunity and civil rights law, we receive these funds,” Poist said.

Without this funding, TCAT would have significantly less funds to cover daily operations and servicing costs, including bus replacements and facility maintenance, Poist said. With money from the federal program, the TCAT can continue to focus on its service to the community.

Jazz Munitz ’19, who said he uses the TCAT weekly, was relieved to hear that TCAT federal funding was restored.

“Compared to other colleges and universities located in rural areas similar to Ithaca, the ability for us as students to access nearly every sector of the 14853 life is an invaluable resource to have,” Munitz said.

Poist said she and other TCAT employees have felt the pressure of the economic downturn and appreciate the continued funding.

“We are extremely relieved that the funding will be restored, particularly at a time when we need more money, not less, especially for capital needs to replace our aging fleet of buses,” Poist said.

As time continues, TCAT expressed a desire to acquire more funding, enabling them to improve their service in the area.

“We are not out of the woods yet as TCAT, and transit agencies all over the country, have many underfunded needs,” Poist said. “TCAT has identified that it will need at least $5 million over the next five years for bus replacements and other capital needs.”