Board of Trustees Resolution Mourns Garrett’s Death

Senior Vice Provost of Academic Affairs John Siliciano has been named Deputy Provost, Acting President  and Provost Michael Kotlikoff announced at the Board of Trustees meeting Wednesday morning. “This is in recognition of John’s terrific oversight of the Provost Office and his involvement in every initiative in the Provost Office,” Kotlikoff said. The trustee meeting began with the board’s adoption of a resolution mourning President Elizabeth Garrett’s death. “She set in motion a process that had long been regarded by university leaders as important but daunting … establishing a College of Business,” Acting Chairman Jan Rock Zubrow said. Following the successfu adoption of this resolution, Zubrow also read the unanimous resolution passed by the University Assembly, expressing condolences and appreciation for President Elizabeth Garrett.

Cornell University Assembly Tables Request for Information on Cost of Carbon Neutrality

Corrections appended
The University Assembly voted 7-1-1 to table a resolution requesting additional information from the University about the costs of carbon neutrality Tuesday. Prof. Ellis Loew, physiology, emphasized the importance of carbon neutrality and its potential impact on the entire planet. “Anything you can do to minimize energy usage will have a financial impact — which will be positive — and a positive impact on our environment by reducing our carbon footprint,” Loew said. Loew acknowledged the financial burden carbon neutrality places on the University, but argued that the value of carbon neutrality was greater. “There is going to be cost to everything,” he said.

University Assembly Honors President Garrett, Discusses Plans for Gannett

The University Assembly broke procedure to pass a symbolic resolution expressing condolences and appreciation for President Elizabeth Garrett at its Tuesday meeting. The assembly then turned to discussion of the construction of Gannett Health Service’s new facility. U.A. Chair Matthew Battaglia ’16 began the meeting with a moment of silence honoring President Garrett and sponsored a resolution expressing the assembly’s willingness to assist the administration “in any way necessary” during the transition after Garrett’s death. Although not enough members were present for a vote, Battaglia broke procedure and motioned for the U.A. to carry out a vote over email. “This resolution is exceptionally self-explanatory, since President Garrett unfortunately and tragically passed away this past Sunday,” he said.

Cornell Moves to Introduce Gender-Inclusive Bathrooms

Single-occupancy gender-specific restrooms will soon become all-gender. By end of March, an online map will be accessible to indicate inclusive restrooms on campus, according to the University. This follows a University Assembly resolution and President Elizabeth Garrett’s show of support. U.A. executive member Ulysses Smith ’14 presented the resolution and said that efforts to begin this process have been a “long time coming.”

“Our efforts were bolstered by the broader LGBT rights social movement and a number of initiatives on the federal level — including President Obama’s Executive Order 13672,” Smith said. “As a world-class institution, we should strive to be at the forefront of inclusion.”

The U.A. passed the resolution last December that called for the conversion of all single-occupancy restrooms from gender-specific to all-gender.

Cornell University Assembly Resolution Urges Weill Qatar Investigation

The University Assembly passed a resolution Tuesday requesting specific information on labor practices at Weill Cornell Medicine in Qatar in response to allegations of labor abuses. The resolution requests that details of any and all previous labor investigations or audits conducted at Qatar be sent to Cornell. It passed with a final vote of 10-0-1. Recent protests have revealed a substantial interest in labor practices and conditions in Qatar among students, staff and faculty, according to the resolution. The motivation for the resolution was a report from the International Trade Union Confederation that raised concerns of labor exploitation in Education City in Qatar, possibly even in Cornell facilities, according to Alexander Thomson ’13, executive vice chair of the U.A.
Qatari labor practices enforce the kafala system — a migrant-labor monitoring process which requires all unskilled laborers to have an in-country sponsor but also allows employers to commit massive labor exploitation with minimal legal repercussions, according to the resolution.

U.A. Votes to Create Gender Inclusive Restrooms

The University Assembly voted 9-0 to expand restroom accommodations for members of Cornell’s transgender community and discussed increasing student and faculty representation in administrative discussions on Cornell’s sustainability policy in a meeting Tuesday. The resolution, which was presented by U.A. executive committee member Ulysses Smith ’14, calls for the conversion of single person bathrooms to be “gender inclusive” and urges Cornell to pursue a formal policy or issue a statement that says “all people can use the restroom that coincides with the gender to which they identify.”
If the resolution is approved by President Elizabeth Garrett, all single person bathrooms at the University would be converted to be “all gender inclusive” by the beginning of the fall 2016 semester, given that it is permitted by law, according to Smith. The U.A. then voted to take action in January to create a mechanism to appoint individuals to represent the interests of students and faculty members in senior-level University discussions on sustainability policies and climate change. Faculty representative Prof. Martin Hatch, music, prompted this vote, arguing that the University has been active enough in shaping Cornell’s climate change policy. Hatch cited the weakness of the U.A.’s sustainability committee, which was created in 2007, and the exclusivity of today’s Senior Leaders Climate Action group in his complaint that the Cornell community has not taken meaningful steps toward addressing sustainability issues.