In a 21 to 1 vote, with two abstaining, the Student Assembly passed a resolution opposing the potential merger of the School of Industrial and Labor Relations and the College of Human Ecology.
The vote came after a presentation from Ted O’Donoghue, senior associate dean for social science and Judith A. Appleton, vice provost. As the co-chairs of the Committee on Organizational Structures in the Social Sciences, they explained the reasoning behind the committee’s proposed ideas and answered questions from the audience.
Both O’Donoghue and Appleton emphasized to assembly members and those in the audience that the committee had simply offered ideas to President Martha Pollack and Provost Michael Kotlikoff.
“We chose the word ‘ideas’ intentionally. These are not proposals. These are not recommendations,” O’Donoghue said.
“What [the ideas] really are are just very skeletal ideas on the table,” Appleton said.
Audience members were particularly concerned that students and other staff had been largely excluded from the conversation. However, Appleton argued that “this is the input phase,” emphasizing once more that “no decisions have been made.”
The committee offered eight total policy recommendations in its report, including the creation of a Center for Social Sciences, which the committee ranked as the best possible option.
Gabe Kaufman ’18, vice president for finance, suggested amending the resolution to state the S.A’s preference for the creation of the Center, arguing that Pollack and Kotlikoff will “respect our resolution a lot more if we’re thinking proactively.”
However, Joseph Anderson ’20, one of the co-sponsors for the resolution, responded by saying the goal of the resolution was simply to take the idea of a merger “off the table.”
“I think the idea of a merger actually shadows over the more beneficial discussion of improving the social sciences,” Anderson said.
Many students pointed to, what they considered, the failed consolidation of the School of Hotel Administration, the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management and the Johnson School.
“You’re destroying the brand of the ILR school. You’re destroying the brand of Human Ecology, just like you destroyed the brand of the hotel school by merging it with the College of Business,” said Olivia Corn ’19, arts and sciences representative.
In the meeting, the Student Assembly also passed a resolution urging the University to reinstate “the policy of providing public statements when a campus organization is placed on interim suspension.”
S.A. members also voted on new consensual relationship policy guidelines, which include a blanket ban on all relationships between faculty and undergraduate students. However, one policy option proposes a ban on relationships between faculty members and graduate students in the same field or department, while the other policy allows such relationships but forces disclosure of said relationships to the University.
The Consensual Relationship Policy Committee developed the proposal over 11 committee meetings last semester, in an attempt to update the current policy, which has remained the same since 1996, as previously reported by The Sun.
The policy proposal must be voted on by all of the assemblies, including the Faculty Senate, and will be presented to Pollack by May 1.
Ekarina Winarto, the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly president, was in attendance at the meeting and, when asked if graduate students had a preference for either policy, said that opinions are “split.”
“There’s not really a strong preference for either [policy],” she said.
The vote on the proposed policies was done via secret ballot, and the results of the vote were not announced during the meeting.