Hannah Rosenberg / Sun Assistant Photographer

The S.A. discussed the addition of a students with disabilities representative on Thursday's meeting.

April 23, 2020

Student Assembly Deliberates New Students With Disabilities Rep. Position

Print More

The Student Assembly discussed a proposal to add a students with disabilities representative to the assembly on Thursday afternoon, which will be voted on at next week’s meeting.

The move is intended to increase the representation of disabled students, who make up 8 percent of Cornell’s student population, according to Conan Gillis ’21, president of Cornell Union for Disability Awareness, one of the resolution’s sponsors.

S.A. members widely supported the proposal.

“It’s really important that, as an assembly, we’re always trying to make sure that we’re making the assembly a more equitable space,” said Uche Chukwukere ’21, S.A. undesignated representative and a sponsor of the bill.

S.A. members questioned whether candidates vying for the position would receive support during election cycles, especially for activities like physically handing out campaign leaflets.

“There is nothing that [the assembly] could figure out here that the individual hasn’t thought of, in their 18 years of life before Cornell,” Gillis responded, but added that the S.A. elections committee could use input to ensure equitable assembly campaigns.

By adding a new member, the resolution requires modifying the S.A. charter — the document that guides assembly proceedings. As a result, any change will not go into effect immediately, requiring President Martha E. Pollack’s approval before the S.A. adds the new position to the assembly.

Student Advocate Liel Sterling ’21 also gave a presentation to the assembly on the Office of the Student Advocate’s recommendations for campus code of conduct violation policy changes. The University Assembly is currently in the process of revising the code of conduct.

Additionally, the S.A. approved a resolution calling on Cornell to extend the interest-free grace period for its financial aid loans from six months to a year. The assembly also formally authorized the merger between Class Councils and Seniors Days, which are two year-specific community-building organizations.