As snowfall resumed outside Willard Straight Hall, the Student Assembly deliberated on a range of 11 proposals on Thursday afternoon in its third meeting of the year.
These resolutions encompassed everything from organization funding requests to a letter of support to the newfound Ithaca Tenants Union.
The meeting began in a disjointed fashion, with Bryan Weintraub ’21, School of Hotel Administration representative, calling for a change in the order the resolutions were discussed. Resolution 30, calling for the University to fund a program to waive the student contribution fee was subsequently placed on the top of the agenda.
The student contribution fee, a flat rate of $2,700 to $3,700 charged to students, and increases with class year, has been criticized for its burden on lower-income students. The fee cannot be reduced through grant aid or University scholarships.
The resolution, presented by Kataryna Restrepo ’21 and Yana Kalmyka ’21 representing the People’s Organizing Collective, as well as Cat Huang ’21, S.A. executive vice president, is a continuation of an effort to abolish the student contribution fee that began in October 2018. The POC is an on-campus student group dedicated to creating a “safe(r) space for students to mobilize against oppression at our university and beyond,” according to their website.
Moriah Adeghe ’21, S.A. vice president of finance, described the contribution fee as “classist,” and noted that it was “detrimental” to the student body.
The resolution was tabled for next week in a unanimous vote.
Next on the agenda was resolution 35, sponsored by Student Advocate Liel Sterling ’21 and S.A. President Joe Anderson ’20, which aimed at persuading the Assembly to issue a letter of support for the recently established Ithaca Tenants Union.
S.A. members were quick to voice their support for the union.
“The landlord situation is terrible, in Collegetown, not only for students,” said Jacob Feit ’23, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences representative. “The Tenants Union is extraordinarily necessary.”
The resolution was moved to the business of the day and proceeded to pass unanimously.
The Assembly then approved three funding requests: $800 went to the Tenants Union for a call center and promotional materials; $2,000 to the Cornell Fashion Collective to set up ramps and changing rooms compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act; and $1,600 to the Cornell American Institute for Architecture Students to undertake a project aiding a disability center in Detroit.
The S.A. also addressed a pair of resolutions that aim to reform campus life. The first, resolution 34, sponsored by Gavin Martin ’20, S.A. vice president of research and accountability, and Uche Chukwukere ’21, undesignated representative, would add an S.A. representative to the Cornell Incident Managing and Leadership teams.
The teams are staffed by administration and can provide a recommendation to close down Cornell in cases of inclement weather. On February 7th, the University waited until 10 a.m. to cancel classes and delayed shutting down school offices by an additional two hours.
“We have shared governance,” Martin said. “We deserve a seat at the table.”
Resolution 32, sponsored by Jakob Youngblood ’20, College of Engineering representative, addressed the “continual challenges related to transportation that Cornellians face every day,” by calling for the implementation of a “Campus Circulator” system, a proposed mass-transportation alternative to TCAT that would offer “more frequent transit to more locations across campus.”
Both of these resolutions were tabled for discussion at next week’s meeting.
Also discussed was a proposal to allow S.A. president and executive vice president candidates to run on a single ticket, changes to the titles of the LGBTQ+ representative and the women’s issues representative as well as an evaluation of the Cornell ACT/SAT requirements.