The Employee Assembly gathered Wednesday afternoon to discuss the nominations for the Assembly-organized staff recognition award. Cornell Dining, Cornell Health and Cornell IT, among others, are in the contention.
This award was previously awarded until 2015 and is being reinstated this year.
Cornell Dining was nominated by Craig Wiggers, former chair and veteran representative at-large of the E.A. Staff Recognition, Awards & Events Committee, for its continuous service at Okenshields Dining Room during its renovation.
“Cornell Dining prepared a team effort with Cornell Catering, transportation services, and through the Robert Purcell dining facility, providing all meal services uninterrupted to Willard Straight Hall,” Wiggers said.
Nomination of the construction workers on campus was discussed. Andrea Haelin-Mott, the infrastructure, properties & planning representative, noted the difficulty of representing this diverse group of people working in different companies and projects. “Quite often, there are so many different Cornell employees that are managing the construction process. They may be outside groups,” she noted.
Tanya Grove, the division of human resources representative, advised the assembly to be specific about what they were recognizing. “When we are thinking construction, be careful in thinking about the whole Does Cornell Care thing and Maplewood,” she said.
Since mid-August, members of a local construction union group have been gathering in eight locations around campus wearing bright red T-shirts that said “Does Cornell Care” in response to the University’s decision to move away from hiring local workers in student housing projects, such as the construction of Maplewood Apartments, The Sun previously reported.
The nomination for Cornell IT came from Kristopher Barth, research & technology transfer representative at-large. He noted projects such as the implementation of Duo Security, a two-factor authentication tool used to secure logins to Cornell accounts.
“Yeah it might have been painful, you might not like that you have to do it all the time, but it’s protecting your paychecks and your retirement and your enrollment,” he emphasized.
David Hiner, the LGBTQ+ representative at-large who could not be present at the meeting, conveyed to the committee of his nomination of Cornell Health, crediting their staff for doing great work despite being understaffed.
However, Wiggers pushed back on recognizing Cornell Health. “One issue that I think we should be cognizant of with regards to Cornell Health that there are … still some discussions about how mental health issues are being addressed [on] campus,” he said.
Carrie Sanzone, the representative at-large and vice chair for communications, nominated Cornell Brand Communications, a “dedicated in-house creative team committed to university-level communications priorities and strategies,” according to its official web page.
Taking note of the cautionary comments made by Wiggers and Grove, Gina Giambattista, director of the office of the assemblies, reminded E.A. members that “what this award does is that it recognizes our colleagues.”
“I’m speaking from really in the weeds on this because our office is pretty close to a lot of these conflicts. I would ask you to consider the colleagues and your teams separate from any other campus climate issues,” Giambattista added.
The vote for the winner of the award will take place in October, according to Sanzone.