Corinne Kenwood / Sun Staff Photographer

The Student Assembly convenes for their weekly meeting on Thursday evening in the Memorial Room.

October 20, 2016

Student Assembly Creates Restructuring Committee, Plans to Seek Community Input

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After four weeks of extensive discussion, the Student Assembly finally passed a resolution to create a new committee to tackle restructuring the assembly at its meeting Thursday. The measured passed by a final vote of 18-1-3.

The resolution is responsible for “studying and investigating the S.A.’s current membership and operational structure and issuing a formal set of recommendations to the S.A. on how to improve representation.”

The movement to restructure, Resolution 11, was originally presented four weeks ago, but on Thursday Akhilesh Issur ’17, international student liaison at large, motioned for an amendment to be added to the measure. This change moved to include the context of Resolution 12, recognizing the need for student input in the restructuring process.

This second resolution “seeks to empower all students in the restructuring of the Student Assembly” by hosting an open forum where undergraduate students can share recommendations,” its text says.

Several members recommended merging the two resolutions for time’s sake, especially considering number of weeks that the first resolution had spent on the table. This decision also helped to appease many, who felt the original version foreclosed the prospect of adequate community input.

Miranda Kasher ’19, women’s issues representative at large, opposed this move, arguing that keeping the resolutions separate could be advantageous.

“It would allow us to have more extensive conversation about them,” she said. “As long as there is nothing in Resolution 11 that limits Resolution 12, it is fine to pass them at different times.”

Alexander Iglesias ’17, College of Human Ecology Representative, voiced concerns in line with the opinions of several other representatives when he noted that the second resolution had not yet been subject to the same level of debate as the first.

“I do agree that it would be a good idea to merge the two resolutions, but we need to have the discussion of Resolution 12 since we have not had it yet,” he said.

To increase the ease of jointly implementing the resolutions, S.A. members passed amendments the second resolution to take out all date and time oriented language, so that the restructuring committee can be staffed before the open forum is held.

To more equally represent the general student body, amendments were also made to the first resolution to allow additional slots for community members on the resolution committee.

The Senior Leader Climate Action Group representatives also discussed the group’s most recent report at the meeting, which outlines three new tools for evaluating projects aiming to make Cornell’s campus carbon neutral. The report also calls for the creation of a culture of sustainability across campus.

Gabriel Kaufman ’18, undergraduate representative to the University Assembly, questioned how this goal could be fiscally prudent, given Cornell’s negative endowment return.

Members of Climate Justice Cornell also attended the meeting, sporting signs saying “It’s our future!” and “#2035 keep us alive.” These students raised questions about where carbon neutrality funding will be derived from and whether changes will come at students’ expense.