Alice Song / Sun Staff Photographer

SA candidates speak at a forum Thursday night.

March 25, 2018

Student Assembly Candidates Critique Past S.A. Decisions, Promote Diversity and Accountability

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Student Assembly candidates criticized previous Assembly decisions and promised to increase campus diversity and accountability if elected, in a Thursday candidate forum.

When candidates were asked to answer which past Assembly policies they disagreed with, most candidates answered that they disagreed with the decision taken last semester to defund Cornell Cinema.

Tireniolu Onabajo ’19, candidate for undergraduate representative to the University Assembly, said that many candidates criticized the Cornell Cinema decision because, due to S.A.’s lack of accessibility, they are unaware of most other Assembly decisions.

“I think students at the least need to know who their representatives are and how to contact them,” said Shraddah Harshvardhan ’20, candidate for undesignated representative at large. “The main way for students to make policy happen on campus is through Student Assembly, so students who aren’t on S.A. need to able to do that.”

Marco Antonio Peralta-Ochoa ’21, candidate for College of Arts and Sciences representative, criticized the Assembly’s funding decision for Slope Day.

“I sit on the [S.A.] Appropriations Committee, and was unhappy with the recent decision to a lot half of the money that Slope Day asked for to fund ‘Alternative Slope Day,’ [which is] for students who don’t enjoy Slope Day for the drinking or party environment,” said Peralta-Ochoa.

Candidates also repeatedly stressed the need to increase diversity on campus and communication between students and administration.

Khaddy Kebbeh ’19, also a candidate for arts college representative, said that CUTonight’s allegedly discriminatory funding decisions reflected the need for greater diversity initiatives on campus.

Olivia Corn ’19, candidate for and encumbent arts college representative, hopes to facilitate conversation between students and administrators in light of the arts college’s recent proposal to restructure its curriculum.

“I think it’s important that the faculty and higher administration hold office hours, so that students can sit down with the dean without waiting six months for a meeting,” Corn said.

Other proposals candidates brought up included increasing access to LGBTQ resources like gender neutral bathrooms and facilitating the transfer of credits from other institutions.

Catherine Li ’21, candidate for undesignated representative at large, said her platform’s main focus is “not to stay silent.”

“I want to change classroom and campus culture to better acknowledge and facilitate diversity,” Li said.