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September 16, 1999
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STUDENT ASSEMBLY MEETING
September 16, 1999
4:45 P.M. — 6:30 P.M.
Memorial Room, WSH
President Emanuel Tsourounis called the meeting to order at 4:46 p.m.
M. Hanson stated that last Tuesday applicants turned in their information and that information would be available to SA and Appropriations Committee members after the meeting.
M. Renfrew reminded all candidates that there will be a candidates meeting tonight at 7 p.m. She also stated that there would be a Candidates Forum on September 23, where candidates can speak to the community and representatives from the Cornell Daily Sun. She then announced the names of the 23 New Student candidates and the 5 Engineering candidates. The Fall 1999 Special Elections candidates are:
New Student Candidates
Brittany Balmer ‘02
Elizabeth L. S. Bowen ‘03
Alok Chanani ‘03
Mansoor Chaudry ‘03
Nick Chong ‘03
Matthew A.R. Cohen ‘03
Zachary Beare Conine ‘03
Gina Fornario ‘01
Sameer Gupta ‘03
Brian A. Janos ‘03
Karlos Johnson ‘03
Carl E. Jones ‘03
Jina Kwon ‘03
James Edward Lamb, Jr. ‘03
D. Gershon Leventhal ‘03
Abie Li ‘03
Lisa Janette Martin ‘03
Christine E. Murray ‘03
Kerri Novoshielski ‘03
Justin Peters ‘03
Trina Saha ‘02
Todd Siegel ‘03
Phil Van ‘03
Matt Flahive ‘02
Alon Gorodetsky ‘03
Charles A. Heffernan ‘02
Cynthia A. Kou ‘02
Adam Levine ‘03
Present:M. Brown, S. Gadkar, C. Galvin, M. Hanson, J. Le Vine, M. Kalogiannis, C. Marocco, K. Mayo, K. McNamara, M. Moschella, Y. Pawluck, S. Pitek, M. Renfrew, L. Rudofsky, M. Schaffer, A. Singh, E. Tsourounis
1/2 Absent: S. Merksamer
Others present: M. Burchett, K. Riley, S. Schober, B. Balmer, K. Abrams, J. Farley, C. Rypisi, S. Maguire, L. Yott, E. Cheyanski-Steele, L. Simkin Berke, D. Brown, L. Nowajchik, B. Robinson, F. Lind, M. Ratkovic, E. Poon, E. Fiore, S. Hsu, K. Atkinson, M. Huttenbach, S. Wenze, O. Ramirez, L. Tseng, M. Husain, J. Lamb Jr., R. Hedayati, D. Orcutt, M. Khan, J. Cusleen, P. Ippel, K. Novoshieiski, L. Martin, S. Frazer, J. Malamy, M. Dixon, C. Gualtieri, T. Siegel, C. Kou, B. Detrick, M. Cavanaugh, M. Bersofsky, J. Lustbader, J. Brown, C. Marquis, C. Murray, G. Vilani, T. Cornell, S. Szmulowicz, J. Hamm, J. Stone, S. Murphy, S. J. Semino, H. Ley, K. Dealy, A. Motlagh, C. Gardner
The minutes of the September 9, 1999 meeting were approved.
A. Singh stated that the Staffing Committee met Monday, September 13, 1999 after the Executive Committee meeting. He said that members were staffed to Appropriations, Dining, and ResLife. New members will be notified within the week.
Y. Pawluk stated that the next Res Life meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 22, 1999 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the third floor conference room in Day Hall. He said that some of the issues to be discussed are: the new pet policy, the West/North Campus initiatives, as well as the members of each constituency sharing their projects. He also stated that the last meeting didn’t have a good turnout and he hopes that more people will come to the next meeting.
M. Hanson reported that the Appropriations Committee met last Thursday and dealt with the eligibility of the 17 applicants to the Student Activity Fee. Sixteen applications were accepted while the Slope Fest application was denied because it didn’t obtain the necessary 15% of undergraduate population signatures.
C. Marocco made a motion for the SA to override the Appropriations Committee decision concerning the denied application for Slope Fest.
E. Tsourounis recused from the chair because he was involved with the organizations that are presenting the petition to the SA M. Brown took the chair.
Y. Pawluk asked whether it was appropriate to consider this particular motion at this time?
M. Brown said that it was appropriate and that it would be handled now.
M. Hanson pointed out that the rules say that within one week of the petition’s deadline, the Appropriations Committee will review all applicants to ensure eligibility or to make decisions. He also said that all applicants have the right to appeal the decision to the SA so the motion is appropriate.
C. Marocco suggested that the SA challenge the Appropriations Committee decision and accept the amount of signatures that were obtained.
C. Ackerman said she would like to appeal this decision because it was very difficult to get so many signatures in such a short time and that the group has obtained 1,488 votes. She also said this was a very important event which affects all students because they strongly support Slope Day and Slope Fest since 9,000 students attended Slope Day and 5,000 attended Slope Fest. She said that she hoped to expand Slope Fest with funding and using the SAF for funding is the only way to guarantee that. She stated that the S.A. supported the organization last year by donating money and this year they hope to have better slides, more food, more drinks, and more cameras. She said that she had collected a total of 1,871 signatures.
Diane Horey added that overall Slope Day was a success health-wise as there were fewer emergencies than previous years.
Jill Lustbader said that she went around in the past 24 hours and collected many signatures for the petition. She stated that almost everyone knew what Slope Day was about and they all had a great time last year. She added that people who supported Slope Day were giving their signatures, but more importantly, those who didn’t support Slope Day and wanted a non-alcoholic social event were also signing. She said that there should be a non-alcoholic opportunity for those who don’t want to drink and by funding this event the SAF will provide an opportunity for all its constituents on Slope Day.
M. Brown asked whether there were any comments or questions from the S.A.?
L. Rudofsky stated that he worked with the committees involved with Slope Fest and it was a large success. He also stated that last year they worked in a tri-partisan way, working with the Student-elected Trustees and the Board of Trustees, to come up with rules and finally got those rules approved by the President. He also said that the Appropriations Committee voted unanimously not to fund this group and by overriding this decision the SA’s first official action would be to break its own rules, which would be ridiculous.
M. Schaffer asked why this group was denied?
M. Hanson answered that the group was denied because they could not fulfill the 9th criteria for eligibility, which was to obtain 15% of the student population signatures.
M. Moschella stated that the reason for having the 9th criteria is to make sure that they are truly known to students and that students support it. He also said since they have collected more than 1,000 signatures and that they clearly are an integral part of Cornell University, they should at least be considered for funding.
J. Lustbader responded that the job of the S.A. was to represent the entire student body and a large part of this body showed up to Slope Fest. She also stated that if they had an extended amount of time and extended publication, they could have gotten the 15%, but that the signatures were not the main point. She said that the S.A. has the opportunity to overturn this decision and fund the organization with money that would serve the entire student body and that rules were meant to be broken.
E. Tsourounis said that when the committee made the rules, they made them to be flexible and that they didn’t have a set process. He suggested that the S.A. be flexible now and then revisit the rules during the 2nd semester.
C. Marocco said that the rules are new and that they are still adjusting to them. She also said that the S.A. shouldn’t follow these rules so closely and leave room for flexibility. She said that the S.A. should disagree with the decision because this group is a very important group and it fought harder than any other group to get signatures. She stated that the rules shouldn’t scare the S.A. and that they should make a change.
Briton Holmberg, pointed out that it is very difficult to get 15% or 2,000 signatures and that a quarter of the students present at Slope Day last year have graduated and they couldn’t give their signatures to the group. Instead, he said, there are 3,000 newcomers who don’t know what slope day is all about and it’s hard to get signatures from these people. He suggested that the signatures be taken at the end of the year when most people find out about Slope Day.
J. Halpern stated that Slope Day was one of the greatest things that happened to Cornell University and that when one goes to Slope Day and sees students getting tanked and passing out, they know that they need a break so they take can go to Slope Fest where they could have fun in a non-alcoholic atmosphere. He also pointed out that rules were meant to be broken and by not supporting this group, the S.A. would be giving a giant FU to the students and telling them to go and binge drink on the slope and that’s irresponsible. He said that Slope Fest affects a lot of people so the SAF should be funding it.
J. Lustbader responded that in the rules that were created; there is a flexibility clause which allows for adjustments to the rules. She also said that the S.A. should change its rule to do what’s right to prevent the over-drinking and to acquaint the freshmen with the event and protect them from harm.
S. Pitek said that as a student who’s been involved in the planning of Slope Day activities, he applauds the work and effort of this group who have been examples of students who have shown the administration and the students that they can find alternatives for everybody else. He also said that the S.A. is a compassionate body that allows flexibility in its rules and regulations.
Y. Pawluk made a motion to previous question.
P. Ippel, speaking in favor of the motion, stated that if the students are given what they want and what they don’t think they can have, they will respond. He paralleled Slope Day to a regular fraternity party, with just alcohol, and Slope Fest to a theme party with music, food, drinks, and fun events. He said that in order to make Slope Day enjoyable to everyone, there is need for both kinds of parties.
D. Orcott, speaking in favor of the motion, pointed out that it is wrong to stick to newly made rules and not support a worthwhile cause. He also said that to get 15% of signatures, the group needed to get 1 out of every 6 or 7 students and that it was very difficult to do so. He added that such a figure is to high and that the S.A. needs to look out for its constituents.
Mufazzal Hussein, speaking in favor of the motion, stated that the rule asks for 2,000 signatures and that the group has obtained 1,871, which is 95% of the requirement. He also said that it would be a waste of time and effort to throw out these 1,871 signatures.
Y. Pawluk asked whether the vote needed to overrule the committee is two-thirds or one-half?
M. Brown answered that, as stated in the S.A. Charter, the vote needed is two-thirds.
A roll call vote was taken on whether the S.A. would override the decision of the Appropriations Committee and provide SAF funding for the Slope Fest group. The motion passed, 13–3−1.
L. Rudofsky reported that the Univ. Calendar was discussed last week and since then there have been a number of objections to it and that the legislative archivist has looked into the objections and will give the SA his report.
Derick Zandpour, SA Archivist, stated that the calendar was introduced and passed on 9/11/97; it was required to be passed, however, there was great debate about the calendar. He said that on 2/19/98, it was recommended that MLK Day should be a day off; there was a letter sent to the President and it received no response. He said that on 2/4/99, the MLK Day was again recommended as a day off, along with Labor Day and Veterans Day; again a letter was sent and again it was ignored. He also said that on 4/22/99, there was a resolution that the SA would solicit and provide input when presented with the University Calendar to aid in the accommodation of religious observances of all faiths; none of these resolutions we taken into consideration in the calendar that is before the SA today.
L. Rudofsky made a motion to disapprove of the University Calendar.
E. Tsourounis pointed out that the calendar under discussion is not the immediate calendar, but the calendar for the academic years of 2002–2004. In accordance with the Charter, the SA has the opportunity to review the calendar before it is published.
Y. Pawluk stated that the SA shouldn’t rubber stamp this calendar. The SA should send a message that the SA will not accept the actions of the Dean and the President who keep brushing off the SA. He also suggested that the SA send a report along with its disapproval which explains why the SA has disapproved of the University Calendar and that this action of the SA isn’t just a hollow disapproval.
M. Brown stated that the University Administration has been sending the student body and the S.A. messages by ignoring the SA’s resolutions concerning religious holidays. He asked the S.A. to send the administration a message, that we will not allow them to ignore the SA any longer by disapproving this calendar.
J. LeVine asked what would happen if the S.A. didn’t approve the calendar?
E. Tsourounis answered that there would be a message and a report sent to the administration but that the administration does not have to act.
J. LeVine asked whether the S.A. was objecting to the calendar as a whole or just certain dates?
E. Tsourounis answered that the objection was to the calendar as a whole.
The motion to disapprove of the University Calendar was passed by a vote of acclimation.
M. Brown reported that on Sunday, September 12, 1999, the draft copy of the Standing Rules was reviewed and edited; some of the changes made were in: section 1.07, the word professionally was changed to appropriately, section 2.01, etc.
Y. Pawluk made a motion to amend by striking section 2.02, “deleterious …outside of the SA’s jurisdiction” because the Executive Committee is not the monarchy and that the SA should be given ample opportunity to introduce new legislation.
M. Brown asked whether the objection was to strike “is deleterious”?
Y. Pawluk answered that the objection was to strike everything after “is” in that sentence.
A vote was taken on whether to amend the Standing Rules by deleting “deleterious …outside of the SA’s jurisdiction” from section 2.02. The motion was passed 8–5−1.
M. Schaffer made a motion to amend 3.08 by allowing the S.A. to overturn Orders of the Day by a simple majority so one person can’t just end the meeting because they’re tired, while the others want to go on.
E. Tsourounis suggested striking the word not.
E. Tsourounis stated that a two-thirds vote was needed to sustain Orders of the Day by Roberts Rules and that the motion was to sustain Orders of the Day by a simple majority.
A vote was taken on whether to amend section 3.08 by making it read, “Orders of the Day shall require a second and a vote.” The motion passed 11–4−1.
L. Rudofsky asked whether in section 3.07, the chair’s vote could decide the outcome of a decision in a two-thirds and a three-fifth vote?
E. Tsourounis answered that it would be whenever the chair’s vote could alter the outcome.
J. LeVine asked whether in section 1.02, the 3 days prior notice would be by phone, e-mail, or another method?
E. Tsourounis answered that it would be by e-mail.
A vote was taken to approve the Standing Rules. The motion was passed 14–3.
M. Hanson stated that back in 1990, there was rule which said that employees may not be paid through the SAF; in 1997, the SA violated this rule by funding two organizations which directly used the SAF to pay their employees. He said that in April 1999, the Appropriations Committee revised its guidelines to allow the SA to override this section by a three-fifth’s vote; the Appropriations Committee made a recommendation on this resolution and voted unanimously against it because it would not be good to change the rule because it was violated in the past and that it would open up the opportunity for all other organizations to fund their employees using the SAF.
C. Marocco said that she supported this resolution strongly. She said that voting against this resolution would close many doors in the future, doors that the SA isn’t prepared to close. She said that the Women’s Resource Center has used the SAF money in the best way possible and it has done a great job for the community. She also stated that the WRC has great support and gives a lot back to the students and SA should keep this open on a case-by-case basis.
C. Galvin stated it would be inappropriate to ignore the large portion of students that support the WRC. He said that he supported the use of the SAF for employees in this particular case.
M. Schaffer pointed out that the SA should not leave the WRC standing by itself, without any funds, just because it has ideological differences with the issue and that not passing this resolution would be quite unfair.
M. Renfrew Stated that less than two years ago the SA made an investment in the WRC. The WRC needs to be strong before it can stand up on its own; one and a half years is not long enough for the WRC to stand on its own. She also said that the WRC has very strong support among students and for the amount of money it receives it gives back a large return. She also pointed out that funding is needed for a full-time staff person and a full-time staff person is needed for the WRC to survive.
Y. Pawluk said the S.A. was too concerned with rules and regulations and that everything was overly political. He stated that not passing this resolution would de-fund the WRC, and it would prevent them from even making a request to the S.A. He also pointed out that this issue was ignored for two years and now it was so important and the reason for this was the hidden political issues that the community doesn’t know about. He said this resolution should never have been brought to the floor, but since it has the SA should vote in favor of it because the SA shouldn’t apply a double standard to the WRC.
L. Rudofsky said the SAF should be going back to the students, but this money can be used in better ways than paying staff. He said he was tired of being a dumping ground for the administration because every time they don’t want to pay for something they send it to the SA. He said that by voting against this resolution the SA could show the administration that they also are also in some way responsible for the students.
A. Singh said that the people who are afraid that passing this resolution would open the doors and allow other groups to get funded through the SAF are wrong in their fears because the SA and many other organizations have checks over such things so that will not happen. He also asked for the SA to pass this resolution.
M. Moschella stated that the SA was elected by the students and for the students. He said that if anyone votes against this resolution, they will hurt the WRC, Cornell, and themselves. He urged the SA to vote for this resolution and asked the members to act as trusted representatives to their school.
M. Kalogiannis said that if the SA votes against this resolution the WRC will still exist and that there are other ways to run the center (i.e. volunteers).
K. McNamera said the WRC does a wonderful job and the coordinator, Candace Rypisi, is an integral part of the organization and she has helped the community, the WRC, and Cornell University. She stated that if the SA votes against the resolution, they will not only hurt the WRC, but they will also close the doors to many other groups that might ask for funding in the future.
S. Merksamer stated that a vote against this resolution does not kill the WRC, but that it only sends the decision to the Assembly and not the Committee.
J. Halpern stated that the rules sucked and they need to be changed. He said that the SA represents the student body, 50% of which are women who are affiliated with the WRC. He added that the WRC does a lot of good and that it will struggle without a staff so anything that helps such a great organization should be encouraged.
K. Dealy said that the WRC has outstanding programming outreach for all the students and not just women. She pointed out that if before the SA meetings, the agendas aren’t ready on time, in the SA office, many members flip out and complain. If the SA doesn’t want to pay for any kind of staffing payments, are they willing to take on the responsibilities of the SA office staff? She also addressed the fear that giving funding to one group will open up a Pandora’s Box by saying that the SA should let other groups come for funding because there are many steps and checks on the way and it won’t be very easy for any group to get funding. She also urged the SA to vote in favor of this resolution.
A. Singh asked that the SA members refrain from personal remarks and stay away from hostility towards one another.
K. Dealy apologized.
M. Hussein, speaking in favor of the resolution, stated the WRC needs funding and the SA should be more flexible. He suggested an agreement to a timeframe after which the WRC will act independently.
C. Marquis, speaking against the resolution, stated the SAF is intended to be used for student activities and not for bureaucracy. He asked the SA not to tax the students for staff and he also asked the SA to enforce their rules or abolish themselves.
S. Windts, the VP of the WRC, speaking for the resolution, stated that all the money that is put into the WRC is put right back out for the students. She added that a full-time director is needed for the WRC to function at a high level. She urged the SA to vote for the resolution and stressed the fact that such a vote would support the ideological and financial investment that they have made. She also pointed out that this is not an opportunity to send a message about student funding to the administration; it’s a chance to support an organization that is indispensable to the Cornell community.
Stephanie Hsu, the President of the WRC, speaking for the resolution, stated that if the resolution is not passed, the WRC might cease to exist. She pointed out that with the help of the money received from the SAF, the center has made a great transformation in the past year and it has proven its worth to Cornell University. She said she hoped to expand the WRC in the future and such an expansion would need the help of a full-time director. She said that the WRC is a center which supports 50% of the students on campus and that no other group has this kind of report; the WRC affected 5,378 students last year.
E. Tsourounis stated that voting yes would mean that the SA is making an exception to the Appropriations Committee Charge and Guidelines to allow employees to be funded through the SAF.
Y. Pawluk asked what percentage of votes would be needed for this resolution to pass and what the logic is behind this percentage?
E. Tsourounis answered that the rationale is unknown but the vote requires three-fifths of the SA votes, which in this case would be 11 members.
Y. Pawluk stated that he was under the impression that a resolution only needed a simple majority to pass and asked why this resolution was different?
E. Tsourounis answered that the rules state that the SA can make an exception by three-fifths.
Y. Pawluk asked to appeal the decision of the chair and treat this like a resolution.
E, Tsourounis said that the S.A. would follow the rules as written in this case.
A roll call vote was taken on whether the SA would pass R.1, Resolution Regarding Employees Use of the Student Activity Fee. The motion passed 13–3−1.
Resolution Regarding Employees Use of the Student Activity Fee
Whereas, Article Three, Section B.1.c.i of the Appropriations Committee Charge and Guidelines (SAA-506 approved on October 4, 1990) stated “Employees assisting funded organizations shall not be paid through the Fee.”; and
Whereas, During the Fall Semester of 1997, the Student Assembly violated this guideline by approving funding for employees through the Fee; and
Whereas, The Appropriations Committee Charge and Guidelines (SAA-932) was updated in April of 1999; and
Whereas, Article Four, Section B.1.c.i of this current document states “Employees assisting funded organizations shall not be paid through the Fee. An action of three-fifths of the seated Student Assembly membership shall override this section.”; so be it
Resolved, That if this action is approved by three-fifths of the seated membership, the Student Assembly permits that Student Activity Fee recipients may use a percentage of their 2000–2002 Student Activity Fee allocation for the purpose of funding (an) employee(s) which assist(s) the organization; and
Resolved, That this action of the Student Assembly shall override Article Four, Section B.1.c.i of the Appropriations Committee Charge and Guidelines for purposes of the 2000–2002 Student Activity Fee funding cycle.
Michael J. Hanson ‘01
Representative, College of Engineering
As passed by the Student Assembly by a vote of 13–3−1 on September 16, 1999.
S. Merksamer made a motion to disband the Appropriations Committee because the SA isn’t following any of their advice now.
E. Tsourounis denied the motion citing section 7.2 of the SA Charter.
S. Merksamer appealed the ruling of the chair.
M. Hanson made a motion for a 1-minute recess. The motion was approved.
M. Brown stated that the rules were changeable rules and that he was in favor of the chair.
J. Lamb asked whether it was safe? He then added the SA looked like a pit of vipers fighting over food. He reminded the SA that they were a body working for their constituents and they should remember themselves and the students.
Y. Pawluk stated that he was offended and he was tabling all resolutions.
E. Tsourounis asked that everyone act with integrity and responsibility to each other.
Orders of the day were called and approved.
The meeting was adjourned by E.Tsourounis at 6:30 p.m.
Ali Motlagh, student clerk