As Student Assembly elections approach, representative candidates discuss their platforms.

Candidates Vying for 5 S.A. Spots Make Case at Forum

Fifteen candidates spoke on issues ranging from mental health to laundry in the Memorial Room of Willard Straight at a candidates’ forum Thursday evening, hoping to successfully make their case to fellow students as Student Assembly elections near. Currently, the S.A. has five vacant spots — four for freshman representative and one for College of Arts and Sciences representative. There are currently 13 candidates running for freshman representative and two for College of Arts and Sciences representative. Previously open spots —  transfer, LGBTQ liasion at-large and Art, Architecture, and Planning representative — were recently filled as each of the candidates for those positions ran unopposed. Noah Watson ’22 will serve as transfer representative, Tomás Reuning ’21 is the LGBTQ representative and Aram Cass ’23 is the AAP representative.

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BROWN | Climate Change Isn’t the Only Reason to Divest From Fossil Fuels

Hundreds of Cornellians and millions of young people worldwide walked out of school or work on Friday, Sept. 20 to protest government inaction toward climate change and demand divestment from fossil fuels. The case for divestment has never been stronger: The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded last year that a radical transition away from fossil fuels in just over a decade is necessary in order to avoid irreversible disaster. Yet inaction is precisely the strategy of Cornell’s Board of Trustees and President Martha Pollack, defying the wishes of the Student Assembly, the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly and the Faculty Senate. The Board of Trustees states that it will divest only in the case of “morally reprehensible” activity in which “the company in question contributes to harm so grave that it would be inconsistent with the goals and principles of the University,” as if an existential threat to human civilization in the near future is not morally reprehensible.

Student Assembly members take a vote at the Student Assembly meeting on September 19.

S.A. Votes to Increase Byline Funding for EMS, MGFC, ISU

The Student Assembly approved Thursday increases in byline funding for Cornell University Emergency Medical Services, the International Students Union and the Multicultural Greek and Fraternal Council Thursday, kicking off its funding cycle of 2019. If these increases are approved by the S.A. at the end of the semester, they will go into effect in 2020.

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SULLIVAN BAKER | The S.A.’s Secret Divestment Ballot Hurt Campus Democracy

The Sun reported last semester that “for the first time in recent memory,” the Cornell Student Assembly had “approved a motion to vote by secret ballot” on Resolution 36, which “urged” Cornell to divest from companies “profiting from the occupation of Palestine.” Weeks of student lobbying led up to a high-stakes vote, which drew hundreds of Cornellians to Willard Straight Hall. These students hoped to see their elected representatives take a stand on an issue of great moral, political and historical importance. Instead, attendees watched as their representatives hid behind the secret ballot, an impermissible and anti-democratic political trick with a corrosive effect on student governance. As we start a new term, the Cornell community has to reckon with the consequences of the S.A.’s secrecy and prevent the elected body from doing further damage to campus democracy. Most strikingly, the vote by secret ballot was an egregious violation of the bylaws that are supposed to bind the S.A. These bylaws state “secret ballot votes shall be reserved for executive sessions,” a type of closed-door session the S.A. did not enter during the divestment showdown.

Joseph Anderson '20, Student Assembly President, and Heather Huh '20, co-chair of SAFC, speak at the S.A. meeting on September 5th, 2019.

EDITORIAL: How to Fix Cornell’s Least-Liked Organization

If you want to make a club treasurer flinch, you need only whisper the letters S-A-F-C. The Student Activities Funding Commission is the student-run organization that acts as a gatekeeper for over 500 Cornell clubs’ funding. And it is among the most bemoaned bureaucratic hoops on campus. Complaints range from nitpicky rule enforcement to perverse incentives. Some gripe that applying for SAFC funding involves far too many fine details — which, if done improperly, can give the SAFC a reason to pull funds.