After two controversial rounds of student elections, a fresh panel of Cornell community leaders unmuted their Zoom mics Thursday afternoon to be sworn into the Student Assembly.
As with each new batch of members, the assembly was asked to re-approve the S.A. charter — a collection of all of the amendments made in the past year. In effect, the meeting shed light on the changes undergone in S.A., but also discussed the air of change still to come.
The meeting began with a warm welcome from the senior coordinator of the Office of the Assemblies. Newly elected president of the assembly, Cat Huang ’21, smiled wide as she was sworn by executive vice president of the assembly, Noah Watson ’22. The process of voting — now using the Zoom function yes for approval or no for dissent — was then explained to new members.
The first resolution discussed, Resolution 3 passed 23-0-3. This resolution made representation in S,A. more inclusive, creating a Dyson representative, as well as an at-large reserve for candidates seeking to represent students with disabilities. The resolution also changed the name of LGBTQ+ liaison to LGBTQIA and altered every instance of the word “woman” to “womxn.”
Resolution 4 also passed 26-0-1, ratifying last year’s bylaw amendments, which included adding a vice president to the committee of research and accountability. Now, community members can also vote online asynchronously for meetings. Finally, the S.A. approved a resolution that addressed its own rules..
With all of the talk about changes in the past, however, this new group of voting members already seems to have plans for bettering itself internally, as well as externally with regards to the greater Cornell community.
One voting member brought up a question about line 231 of the charter, which stated that voters may rank all of the candidates on the ballot — this particular rule came under scrutiny during the past election season when the elections directors found out that only ranked ballots would count. Watson said that this will be addressed sometime this semester, as the recent election was the first instance that shed light on this years-long issue.
In an interview with The Sun, Huang said she felt honored to take the helm of the Student Assembly.
“I wanted to be president because I felt like I could do something for the student body,” Huang said.
Huang said she ran for president to see change, specifically regarding racial injustice on campus. This year, she said she is excited to work with student activists, ensure that there is student oversight of the Cornell University Police Department and its budget, as well as abolish the student contribution fee, which she has been working on through S.A. for the last two years.
“I think there is a lot of change that can be done with the Student Assembly … a lot of change that can be done to the Student Assembly … so I am here to see that change come to fruition,” Huang said.