Michaela Brew / Sun Senior Editor

The University Assembly ultimately decided not to endorse the petition for Cornell to become a sanctuary campus. (Pictured above a previous University Assembly meeting)

January 31, 2017

University Assembly Debates Procedures Amid Inclusion Concerns

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Correction appended.

The Cornell University Assembly deliberated over the speech of which they pass resolutions, using recent resolutions regarding Cornell’s potential status as a sanctuary campus as an example, during their meeting Tuesday night.

“I understand the timeliness of it,” Nathanial Rogers, president and representative of the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, said of the petition. “The GPSA voted to endorse the petition, but we represent the campus as a whole. I think we should spend a little bit more time to try and solicit broader input.”

Kevin Fitch, the health and safety representative of the Cornell Employee Assembly, expressed similar concerns regarding the body deliberating upon the issue of Cornell’s sanctuary status. He said that employees were largely left out of the discussion.

“[We] knew nothing about the sanctuary thing, were never notified and never knew anything about a petition. We, as the Employee Assembly, felt slighted; this came from the faculty and the students and didn’t even consider employees,” he said.

Fitch pointed out that with the risk of losing federal funding, employees ought to have been consulted. However, faculty representative Prof. Ed Baptist, history, pointed out that some staff did sign the petition, that it was never intended to be kept from staff and that news of it spread more from person to person than through official bodies.

The assembly decided that it would adopt no formal language with regard to the timeliness of passing resolutions, as members agreed that “different situations required different responses,” and such an amendment would be too “bureaucratic.”

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly said the University Assembly declined to support Cornell becoming a sanctuary campus. In fact, they were discussing the speed at which they pass resolutions, using a recently-passed resolution, endorsing Cornell becoming a sanctuary campus, as an example.