Jason Wu/Sun Senior Editor

Student Assembly Resolution 16 provides alternatives for Haven from disclosing their members’ names while applying for funding.

September 10, 2023

Student Assembly Passes Resolution Exempting LGBTQ+ Student Union From Disclosing Members’ Names for Funding

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The Student Assembly unanimously passed a resolution that exempts Haven, the Cornell LGBTQ+ student union, from disclosing their members’ names, a new requirement to apply for funding from the University, in a Thursday, Sept. 7 meeting. 

Haven, as a byline organization, receives money from the student activity fee, a mandatory fee which all students pay to fund student organizations. Byline-funded organizations each get a fraction of the student activity fee, which they use to fund their projects or subsidiary campus organizations. Campus organizations applied to receive byline funding for the 2024-2026 cycle until Sept. 8, and funding decisions are made by the Student Assembly by the end of the fall semester.

Resolution 16: Allyship to the Cornell LGBTQ+ Community, was sponsored by assembly members Karys Everett ’25, LGBTQIA+ liaison at-large, Claire Ting ’25, executive vice president and Aissatou Barry ’24, vice president of diversity and inclusion and minority students liaison at-large. The resolution was introduced alongside Piper Kohlenberger ’25 and Nic Oke ’26, co-presidents of Haven. 

Under the current student activity fee organization application — the form student organizations used to request funding from the student activity fee — aspiring byline-funded student organizations like Haven were required to provide all the names of its members in order to verify membership and engagement in the organization. According to the resolution, Haven lacks autonomy of where this information goes or who receives it, which can damage the “foundation of safety Haven has spent years cultivating.”

Ting said that the byline application process, requiring the disclosure of Haven members’ names, can have many unintended consequences on the LGBTQ+ community. 

“Not every member of Haven is publicly out, or comfortable with an affiliation with Haven,” Ting said. “That might cause undue threats to personal safety and other social-economic outcomes.”

While it may not typically harm members of other organizations, Kohlenberger said that disclosing Haven’s membership presents a valid threat.

“In our case, it presents a very real danger to our community,” Kohlenberger said. “I think for many other [organizations] that might seem OK to make sure that people are not fudging numbers or saying that they have more members than they actually do… [but] Haven’s membership list is confidential on Campus Groups and should be confidential for a reason.”

Starting this year, the vice president of finance lost administrative access to the CampusGroups platform — which has been the primary platform holding information about campus organizations, including lists of membership, since fall 2019. In response, the S.A. passed Resolution 10 on Aug. 24, which urged Cornell Campus Activities to reinstate access for the 2023-2024 academic year. According to the resolution, Campus Activities has refused to grant access to the S.A. when previously asked, despite access being provided throughout the 2022-2023 academic year.

Resolution 16 said that this scenario made it difficult to “verify the validity of membership rosters,” which is why the Student Assembly is collecting member names through the application form.

Instead of naming its members in the byline funding application, Haven will instead only be required to provide data on the number of members and attendees at their events to “demonstrate its impact, utility and student engagement at Cornell,” the resolution states.

Oke noted Resolution 16 is important to ensure that alternative methods are used to identify the size of Haven so the organization can get the resources it needs to support members of Cornell’s LGBTQ+ community while still being a byline-funded group. 

“We actually find that [disclosing members’ names] would be setting up a uniquely and disproportionately adverse impact on our ability to conduct future efforts for the organization if it became known by our members that they could not trust that their information and names would not be released to a third party,” Oke said. 

Everett emphasized the role that elected student leaders have in shaping the policies at Cornell before voting for the resolution.

“This is a really great example to remind us that our positions on the assembly at the end of the day are to serve our community,” Everett said. “Even if a rule or phrasing may not affect many students, it still affects the students.”

In a follow-up interview with The Sun, Ting reflected on Resolution 16’s significant impact on Haven members.

“Resolution 16: Allyship to the Cornell LGBTQ+ Community serves to protect the marginalized queer community on campus,” Ting said. “Allyship isn’t purely social, it must also be structural.” 

Matthew Kiviat ’27 is a Sun contributor and can be reached at [email protected].