Emma Hoarty / Sun Staff Photographer

Anna Waymack and Jesse Goldberg at the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly meeting on Monday, November 13th, 2017.

November 14, 2017

GPSA Passes Recommendations for Student Activity Fee, Strategic Plan

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The Graduate and Professional Student Assembly recommended on Monday evening that the graduate and professional student activity fee be set at $84 for the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 academic years, a $1 decrease per student from the previous cycle.

The recommendation will need to be approved by President Martha Pollack, said graduate student Tyler McCann, who is the GPSA appropriations chair.

The fee, which all graduate and professional students must pay, funds organizations that serve the graduate and professional student community.

Also on Monday night, GPSA called for the development of a strategic plan, throwing the body’s support behind a University Assembly resolution that urges the Cornell administration “to engage with not only all assemblies but also the larger Cornell community” in creating a strategic plan.

A strategic plan would serve as a guide for the University’s institutional decisions, outlining how to best to invest its time, effort and money, the resolution says. Cornell’s last strategic plan was completed in May 2010 and was for the period of 2010-2015. The University did not implement a strategic plan after 2015.

GPSA also endorsed seven nominees to serve on Pollack’s presidential task force who were recommended by the Office of Inclusion and Student Engagement Leadership Council. The task force has been charged by the president with investigating and addressing persistent “bigotry and intolerance” in the Cornell community.

The GPSA also voted for one individual to represent the body on an ad hoc hate speech working group formed by the University Assembly’s Codes and Judicial Committee.

The working group is tasked with sending a recommendation to the CJC regarding how or if hate speech should be dealt with on campus, and whether any addition or change to the Campus Code of Conduct is warranted, said Matthew Battaglia ’16, grad and chair of the CJC.

If there was an amendment to the Code, Battaglia said, the working group would send it to the CJC, which could “tweak” or “rework” the proposal as it sees fit. At that point, a proposal would go to the U.A. and, after any changes, would, if passed, go to Pollack for final approval.

“If all those are a yes, then the Campus Code of Conduct would be amended,” Battaglia said.

The presidential task force will also presumably work with the CJC, as any proposed changes to the Code would require CJC and U.A. approval, Battaglia said.

“The Code right now follows the First Amendment, and to tweak it would be a large change on speech,” Battaglia told The Sun. “Because of the magnitude of this and because of the complexity of the issue, … the community needs to understand that.”

Altering the Code would be a complex and layered effort, by design, in order to ensure the inclusion of adequate community input in such a critical and impactful process, Battaglia said.

“There’s multiple layers, and the key is to really take the time to ensure people are aware, take time to make sure the assemblies are included, the community’s included and to then move forward so we have the best outcome for the entire campus community,” he said.