ByJaelle Sanon, Mayra Valadez, Julia Montejo, Nicholas Karavolias, Matt Indimine and Paola Muñoz |
To the editor:
Resolution #44: Creation of the First Generation Student Representative is, without a doubt, the greatest piece of legislation to go through the Student Assembly during our time on the Hill. This resolution is unique in that it did not come from a member; instead it came from members of the First in Class Advocacy Team. Through meetings with the First in Class Advocacy Team, it became crystal clear that the Student Assembly, our student government that is tasked with representing all students, is inaccessible and excludes many communities, with regards to transparency, communication, engagement and membership. All too many times, we have heard from people who try to challenge that notion, questioning why they (underrepresented communities) “don’t reach out to us more,” “why don’t they come to meetings?” Well, “they” don’t come to meetings because of exactly what you witnessed last Thursday from 4:45-6:30 p.m. When you aggressively defend a viewpoint rooted in hypotheticals that invalidates the experiences of your peers, why would anyone want to be present? When you state that if you hold an open forum the public “might be confused” and might not “understand” what is going on is quite condescending, as it implies that the people who are not elected do not have the capacity to understand how the S.A. works.
Hi friends, how are you? I hope March is treating you well and that prelims and other commitments aren’t taking your sanity like they are mine. I am writing because well, there is something I need to get off my chest and it is important so I hope that as you read these words, you truly take them to heart. Dear White People, marginalized communities need you. I am sure you’re wondering what I mean by that.
Nearly three months ago, Mary Beth Grant J.D. ’88 — Cornell’s former Judicial Administrator — assumed a new position as senior dean of students for inclusion, engagement and community support, following criticism from student leaders last spring about the creation of the administrative position itself. In March, the Student Assembly passed a resolution that opposed the creation of the new position, heeding to the concerns of students about the way it was being funded. “Time and time again we were told that the University has no money to give more support for the resource centers, and here they are creating a high paid position that would simply add to the bureaucracy,” said Karen Li ’15, former director of advocacy for the Cornell Asian Pacific Islander Student Union, in March. Grant — who now oversees student organizations, resource centers and community engagement initiatives — said she understood the concerns about the position when its creation was first announced. “I wanted to better understand the concerns about the position even before I was interviewed.” Grant said.