The Student Assembly put on hold a resolution on Thursday that would create a new spot for a representative from the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, with many members citing concerns over reapportioning representation for each of Cornell’s colleges in the S.A.
Polina Solovyeva ’21, School of Industrial and Labor Relations representative, introduced the resolution after hearing complaints from her friends in Dyson over how the school lacks representation on the S.A.
“In our aim to accurately represent the undergraduate student body in campus governance, it is important that we include the 700 voices of the Dyson school,” Solovyeva said at the meeting.
Representation for schools on the S.A. is based on the student population. ILR, the School of Hotel Administration, the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning and the College of Human Ecology only have one representative due to their smaller student body. The College of Engineering and College of Agricultural and Life Sciences each have two representatives. As the largest of all Cornell’s schools, the College of Arts and Sciences has three spots on the S.A.
S.A. president Joe Anderson ’20 said at the meeting that one school representative typically represents approximately 503 students, but emphasized that this number was only a range.
Even though Dyson was officially recognized as a school in 2010, the school only has representation in the S.A. through the CALS representatives, as Dyson is a member of both CALS and the S.C. Johnson College of Business.
After Solovyeva presented the resolution, some members questioned if creating a new seat for Dyson would lead to redistributing representation for other schools on the S.A.
“Through my time here, the number has always been arbitrary, tied to enrollment, but never updated with enrollment. Is this just for the one seat or does this need to be a discussion among the Student Assembly about all of our academic assigned seats?” Anderson said.
An approval of this resolution would require the S.A. to update its charter — the primary governing document of the S.A., which would then require the approval of Cornell president Martha E. Pollack, according to Anderson. Should both events take place, the charter would be amended and elections for Dyson representative would be held next semester, Solovyeva said.
If the resolution were to be implemented, the constituency CALS representatives serve on the S.A. would shrink from around 3,100 students to approximately 2,400, leading some members to question if the proposal would cause CALS to lose a seat.
For her part, Solovyeva clarified that the resolution only intended to create an additional seat, not take away a seat from another school.
Since Dyson is also considered to be a part of CALS, a few S.A. members asked if Dyson students could still vote for CALS representatives during election season in the event that a separate Dyson seat is approved, to which Solovyeva said no.
Deborah Nyakaru ’20, S.A. parliamentarian, compared adding a separate seat for Dyson students to creating S.A. seats for computer science and global and public health majors, both of which are funded by two colleges, just like the AEM major housed by Dyson.
“The [applied economics and management] major is technically in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences,” Nyakaru said. “That’s more to do with how we fund academic programs here rather than the organizational part at Cornell.”
But Solovyeva countered that Dyson is recognized as a separate school, even though it only houses one major, comparable to ILR’s structure.
The resolution will be presented again at the next S.A. meeting on Oct. 24.