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Minutes

Minutes
Cornell University Student Assembly
January 27, 2011
4:45pm — 6:30pm
Willard Straight Hall, Memorial Room

I. Call to Order

V. Andrews called the meeting to order at 4:45 pm.

II. Roll Call

Members Present: S. Agard, V. Andrews, A. Brokman, M. Danzer, R. Desai, C. Feng, M. Finn, A. Gitlin, M. Gulrajani, C. Jenkins, J. Kay, D. Kuhr, R. Mensah, A. Nicoletti, A. Pruce, N. Raps, J. Rau, M. Scheff, U. Smith, A. Yozwiak

Members Excused: A. Bajaj

Members Unexcused: G. Block, T. Lenardo

III. Open Microphone — Ray Mensah

No one came forth.

IV. Oath of Office

New representative Matthew Scheff took the Oath of Office after taking over the spot of Scott Pendleton who graduated early last semester leaving his seat vacant.

V. Announcements/Reports

1. Presidential Welcome — Vince Andrews

V. Andrews welcomed everyone back, and was looking forward to a good productive, respectful, engaging semester. There was an email inviting 15 people to a diverse minds matters dinner. President Skorton is the keynote speaker. They need 15 confirmed SA members. Please send him an email.

2. February 3rd and 10th, 2011 SA Meetings — Ray Mensah

President Skorton will be at the SA meeting from 4:45–6:30pm on Feb 3. On Feb 10th, we’re meeting at RPCC in the multipurpose room at the same time.

3. Student Assembly Vacancy — Adam Gitlin

Scott Pendleton graduated early so everyone welcome Matthew Scheff the new engineering representative.

4. Elections Committee Update — Charlie Feng

They met yesterday, talked a lot about how to get more people to run and once the election’s happening how to run. They came up with a lot of good ideas. They’re going to talk to byline funded groups and do a better job promoting. They wanted to make it easier to vote to make the voting easier.

5. Ivy Grams — Chauncey Jenkins

Starting next Wednesday, February 2 through the Wednesday after, they are selling Valentine’s Day Ivy Grams. They’ll be 2 dollars and all proceeds go to charity.

VI. Business of the Day

1. Resolution 52 — Authorizing the Director of Elections to Make Changes to the Spring 2011 Election Calendar

C. Feng has been talking about promoting elections and may need to change some rooms or alter times and didn’t want to bring out a new resolution any time they wanted to make the change. All that they’re doing is shifting rooms and times.

N. Raps asked why you have to do a resolution, it’s a big thing to be able to give you since last semester we voted on the rules. Why do you need a resolution in order to do that if just going to change rooms?
C. Feng said that if they don’t need the SA to approve, it was unclear to change that. N. Raps noted that it would push the week we’re voting into mid-terms week.

R. Mensah noted that the resolution is for only the calendar and not the rules.

U. Smith said that if he only want to change the rooms but it says certain aspects of the calendar. Why didn’t you just change the rooms? Are you adding dates? What exactly are you changing in the calendar?
V. Andrews noted that the discretion is voting on how you think the resolution sounds. It’s up to your discretion.

M. Danzer said that the question is, why bring this instead of a package of all the changes? That would help them understand. Have a problem giving a blank check to change everything. C. Feng said there were very interesting ideas presented last night. They need to work through ideas to see what is or isn’t feasible. They can present it next week but as it stands, packets are going out next week. The idea would be to push everything back one week. That was the initial motion of why. Right now is the first week in March so it would move to the second week in March, 2 weeks before spring break.

J. Kay said that she thinks we need solid dates set and it’s midterms, we’re trying to get people to vote, it’s going to be a conflict of time for running. She thinks we’ve all put a lot of time into the elections stuff last semester and would like to see if we could stick by what we’ve done so that we can get things done for the student body. They need to focus our time on things to make progress as an organization.

A. Pruce called to question. It was seconded. There was dissent. After a question was answered, the dissent was withdrawn. The resolution passes by a vote of 16–0−3.

VII. Unfinished Business

1. Resolution 45 — Spending Student Money Sustainably

R. Desai pulled his name from the resolution.
A. Brokman said that this has already heard it before and got questions about supporting documents. The guide runs four pages. There is a sample of an environmental impact statement. This is a technological possibility. He wanted to re-emphasize how important it is as an assembly. It gives the SA a new charge to see how money is being spent sustainably. No new powers are in this resolution. This gives the environmental committee framework and a mission.
U. Smith asked how many student organizations he communicated with across campus.
A. Brokman has done nothing formal. He hasn’t sent an email to student groups.
U. Smith forwarded this to student organizations within AAP. The response was, this is well intentioned, but they didn’t agree that it was the best way to go about it. They were apprehensive about what you wanted from it, it’s unclear. Some organizations don’t hold huge events, some are interactions between people so he wanted to figure out their place in this. They learned that a lot of well-intentioned policies cause more harm. As a college, they are on the fence about it.
A. Brokman said that it’s good to know people who know something about the statements. Most student leaders don’t know much about these things. The intent is to make this campus wide because they want them to at least be thinking about it. This is an infrastructure to look at and examine it. I.e. a concert from Cornell Concert Commission having no recycling bin to throw out tickets when you walk in. People could complain to us and we have the authority to talk to the heads of the CCC and have the duty to explain a simple fix to make more sustainable.

M. Finn asked exactly what criteria will you use to decide if they’re complying or not complying and also if the only way to penalize a group is to issue through an official resolution, isn’t that a time consuming process for the SA next year?
A. Brokman said that it is not time consuming for the SA, but for the Environmental Committee. The wording in the resolution is legal wording. What they do see is a mandate to talk to the organizations.

A. Nicoletti said that there are a lot of good things but he focuses on the putative nature. He appreciates the new standards. It is important to encourage environmentally sustaining thinking. He disagreed with the method going about in the punitive nature. It might be burdensome but to encourage them to be environmentally sustainable is good but not to use the power of the purse. He would be in support of a version that didn’t have that in it.

Chris Heckman , voting member of GPSA came to speak not in an official capacity but was a co-sponsor of one of the resolutions passed last Monday. This one is significantly more substantial and he wanted to speak briefly. He is not certain how they’re going to affect grad students. Changes affecting funding through SAO will affect grads inevitably. In the past we’ve worked collaboratively. They need policies in place to say compliant vs. noncompliant. It’s better to do it without money.

D. Kuhr said that this is a little extreme. There are groups with trouble in gray areas. Much of SAFC has hearings and helps you fill them out. Will there be hearings with the environmental committee?
A. Brokman thinks they’re clear enough to not hold sessions. It’ll be considered.

V. Andrews was mentioning he didn’t know if it was feasible to make it required to become a student organization. Are you still working on that?
A. Brokman said that it didn’t seem like the technological stuff would be an issue. V. Andrews asked if he was expecting the activities office to force groups to fill it out or are you going to review it?
A. Brokman said that they’d get it from the SAO and send it to the group.

S. Agard said that a lot of groups don’t know what they’re going to be doing in the remainder of the year and don’t have to register for the entire school year. How do you go about making sure they’re compliant for an event in April if they filled this out in September.
A. Brokman said that they can’t enforce that except if they speak in generalities or a community member checks into it.
S. Agard called to question. It was second. There was dissent. It was withdrawn.

M. Danzer asked how badly do you want there to be financial penalization options. The only situation he can imagine is if they’re using their SAFC money to buy toxic chemicals and dumping it on the arts quad.
A. Brokman said that it’s either financial penalization or revoking registration. Chances are you won’t even see this type of resolution. Don’t see the harm in emailing.
M. Danzer said that it is to see where it lays, motion to amend by striking it from “If the student org… to student org…”
A. Pruce called to question. It was seconded. There was dissent. It was withdrawn.

J. Kay said that she want to say that this resolution is good as is. Doesn’t think it’s unreasonable to have the option of penalizing. Don’t think they mean the committee will wipe out funding. Should be promoting sustainability on campus and this is a great way of showing the student body and community that it’s an imp initiative.

M. Gulrajani said that speaking as someone who is part of a committee, if you don’t have the power to punish afterwards, you won’t have as much weight. It will tie into the SAORC very well and promotes collaboration. Takes SA being a funding board.

A. Yozwiak is in agreement with the amendment. The resolution is a bit wordy and confusing. Anything to take it out is beneficial. Since the committee already has the power, it’s not necessary to be written again.
A. Brokman said that it helps with the emails.

R. Desai thinks it’s pointless to debate the amendment. If you take out the wording, they can do exactly what it says. Every committee has this. Call to question. It was seconded. There was no dissent. It fails by a vote of 3–14.

Back to the main resolution.

A. Gitlin is concerned that some groups wouldn’t have the expertise.
The committee mentioned that they really get students to think about how their clubs can affect the environment in any way. They can always email. And provided four pages of ways to do so.

Mike Walsh said that it don’t think it goes far enough. This only focuses on student organizations and misses 2 big organizations that would have a huge impact. 1) Athletics. This only refers to student organizations. It has ~5% of dept of cornell. Much bigger impact than all others combined. Is an opportunity to say that to athletics. One additional benefit. That’s what the second resolution does. 2) new student orientation. Again, not a student unit but under the dean of students office. Second would require them to either.
A. Brokman noted that the second resolution is good too but his covers 900 organization, other covers 29.
It doesn’t mean you won’t vote for the next one. Not a cause to vote down ours.

Mike Walsh said that in a second resolution it also covers SAFC which requires the SAFC to be the one to set up anything. It could be the same mechanism on SAFC. Could be something more positive like a resource allocation. The reality is to integrate sustainability at grass roots. This is too chopped down. Allows them to act independently without oversight.

There is a call to question. It was seconded. By a vote of 11–6−3. The resolution fails by 1 vote because it’s not 2/3 majority.

2. Resolution 37 — Addition of Environmental Impact Statements to By-Line Funding Process

Mike Walsh came to speak with Roneal Desai and Chris Heckman to speak to environmental impact statements of byline funded organizations in funding processes. They are social, economic, and environmental. The GPSA and SA already make decisions on social and economic grounds. They need to integrate environmental impacts into that. They chose byline funded groups because they’re big and have actual power. It brings sustainability to this body and allows them to highlight the good work they’re doing.
R. Desai beyond cooperation, it is a step towards pushing groups to think themselves about what they can do and not punish them.

M. Danzer asked how many groups does this hit.
The 29 byline funded.
M. Walsh asked if it would mandate that the SAFC does so somehow.
M. Danzer thinks it was underhanded because the two weren’t mutually exclusive.
M. Walsh was surprised because we started this conversation and took a completely different form. This is focused on appendix b, byline funded. They don’t conflict but by trying to work collaboratively, this is a starting point.
C Heckman said that the GPSA has a different environment. Makes the byline funded orgs and they can come to us rather than install new apparatuses to decide if they’re meeting compliance efforts. Different methodology.

The version sent to the office was not the correct version. They amended the resolution to have the proper version. There was no dissent, the amendment passes and this is the new resolution.

S. Agard said this only affects the 29 org that SA gives money to directly. How does this go about reaching the other student groups?
This was designed this to let the SAFC and GPSAFC consider this in their own way. There is plenty of room and some great starts. More work that needs to be done.
S. Agard said his only issue is that this is a little too loose. By having them think about it, it doesn’t force them to be changed.

U. Smith said they are all here to help and everyone supports sustainability. Same issue as with Brokman’s. He thinks it fails to detail what they expect the impact statements to be. Feel as if you’re sending people out and telling them to create. In all honesty, think Brokman’s hit the grass roots.

M. Danzer motioned to amend resolution to add the entire text of resolution forty-five. There is a second.
Chris Heckman said that first to address the comments because those were very good points. For the SAF, it adds the issue of how sustainable the group is and changes the dynamics of the decision to make sustainability come to the decision to give money.
Mike Walsh said that they were aiming at the big groups to start out. Can’t write a formula to evaluate all organizations on the same criteria. All have unique attributes. Want them to have freedom to determine it.

A. Yozwiak thinks you’re shooting yourself in the foot by making this amendment. We saw how the SA voted on this. Waste of the assembly’s time.

J. Kay agreed that the initial has not enough bite. Don’t want people to just get around it. R. Desai said that one difference is in how they affect funding. One rewards groups for showing they’re sustainable and the other takes money away from groups not doing it. This is a first step because by going to byline groups first, can make campus more sustainable when going to that view. The SAFC is objective. Appropriations Committee is subjective.

M. Danzer saw the assembly was mostly in favor of maintaining penalties. Since they’re not mutually exclusive and do want to collaborate but it implies a two way street.

A. Gitlin likes elements of both. It is unfair to say this resolution alone will make a greater impact.
R. Desai thinks that adding this as a secondary measure is a solid way to enforce, but it starts with allowing groups to do it on their own.
There was a call to question. It was seconded.
By a vote of 11–4−2, the amendment passes.

A. Brokman motioned to co-sponsor. It was seconded.

There was a call for acclamation. A. Brokman was added as a cosponsor
A. Brokman motioned to table this to next meeting. It was seconded. There was dissent. The vote to vote passed, so they went on to vote to table the resolution. By a vote of 14 — 2 — 0, the resolution is tabled to next meeting.

3. Resolution 43 — Requiring SA Review of Housing Information

U. Smith said that Res Life met before break and campus life student advisory committee meetings. They talked specifically about more student input in terms of how advertised as well as housing changes. Housing is doing more sessions and public areas. Requiring that housing submit the materials they’re going to distribute to res life committee so they can review them so they know what’s right/not.

Kent Hubbell asked if this has been discussed with Joe.
U. Smith said that he talked to him about it last semester.
K. Hubbell said that his suggestion is that it would be useful to have Joe come and answer questions here and if not at least give him an opportunity to give a full response to his circumstances.
A. Gitlin also suggested talking to the director of marketing for Res Life.

The speakers list was exhausted and the resolution was tabled.

VIII. Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 6:25pm.

Respectfully submitted,
Brittany Rosen

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