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April 26, 2012 Minutes

Minutes — April 26, 2012
Cornell University Student Assembly
4:45pm — 6:30pm, Willard Straight Hall Memorial Room

I. Call to Order / Roll Call

N. Raps called the meeting to order at 4:49pm

Members present
S. Balik, G. Block, S. Breedon, D. Brown, A. Chopra, R. Desai, B. Francisco, A. Gitlin, R. Gitlin, M. Gulrajani, G. Hoffman, J. Kay, J. Lee, A. Meller, J. Mueller, D. Muir, A. Nicoletti, A. Pinkney, H. Pittell, N. Raps, J. Rau, P. Scelfo, E. Szulman, N. Treffeisen, E. Yeterian, A. Santangelo
Members unexcused
D. Goldberg, A. Wolford, A. Ravaret
Also Present
A. Bores, Amy Edwards

II. Approval of the 04/19/12 Meeting Minutes

  • Minutes approved

III. Open Microphone

  • None

IV. Dr. Renee Alexander
Associate Dean of Students and Director of Intercultural Programs

  • Personal round of applause for the leadership of the SA this year
  • UPF money was distributed among the constituent organizations
  • University Diversity Initiative: working since Fall on a proposal
  • Representative of the students’ voice in composing the UDI
    • 1) Composition: focus on yield of underrepresented minority (students that choose to enroll in Cornell). As of now, Cornell is the most diverse it’s ever been and grows more so each year
    • 2) Engagement: question of how to engage students of different groups
    • 3) Inclusion: question of how comfortable everyone feels — is there a community for everyone to join?
    • 4) Achievement: creation of an environment where everyone feels that they have the resources to reach their highest potential
    • Her focus is on engaging and including students across Cornell — student leadership has the golden opportunity to provide a large push for this effort
  • N. Treffeisen: What successes/challenges have happened at 626 Thurston since it opened in September?
    • There was a enormous response from students in the program areas — they might run out of space in the near future. Moving forward, the building will stand for inter-cultural movement at Cornell
    • The greatest challenge is lack of resources and staff
  • G. Block: How can we better understand the issues of the multi-cultural community? How can we better educate people?
    • A body needs to be created so that information can be shared and exchanged
  • R. Desai: Can you explain the discrepancy in the yield data between students who belong to an underrepresented minority and those that are not? Does the UDI also apply to the LGBT, lower socio-economic status, and disabled communities?
    • The yield for majority students is about 50% while that for underrepresented minority students are around 40% on a good year
    • Underrepresented minority students are highly sought after. Money is a factor — Cornell now has a policy that they will match financial aid given by any Ivy League, Stanford or MIT. Geography is also a factor — many want to be closer to cities with urban populations
    • Does not have data for other communities, so believes it best not to make any postulations
  • Members love going to meals at 626 Thurston to discuss ideas. Is there a more active way for members to get involved?
    • Definitely. They are starting to do some forward thinking and planning and there will be many initiatives undertaken in the Fall that people can get involved with
  • A. Nicoletti: Really appreciates her partnership and her drive to work on these issues. Wishes her luck as she moves forward with her initiatives.

V. Announcements/Reports

Dining Announcement — Erin Szulman

  • All their events went well (coffee tasting, cross country dining, Wonka)
  • Discussed Slope Day sustainability plans (last year they were able to clean up the slope in 21 minutes — hoping to beat that record this year)

UA Announcement — Peter Scelfo

  • The UA recommended several changes to the Code of Conduct
    • Students under 21 are not allowed to hold a government issued ID of someone over 21
    • Cornell has extended jurisdiction over trespassing off-campus (especially relevant for fraternities/sororities)
    • Strengthened kidnapping and containment clauses
    • Swimming in the gorges is prohibited and will be enforced by the CUPD

BLUE Announcement — Peter Scelfo and E.J. Yeterian

  • Updated posters — more clear that people can be dropped off at their doorstep
  • Will be coordinating with libraries to get posters on their LCD screens
  • Working with the Cornell Sun on a profile
  • Putting together a video and working on new outreach initiatives
  • Working to get the BLUE logo printed on coffee sleeves

VI. Business of the Day

Resolution 42: Proposed Changes to the SAFC Guidelines — Lawrence Kogos, Brandon Coulter, and Roneal Desai

  • M. Gulrajani: Have you come to terms with the price quote documentation?
    • Yes, it will be required
  • P. Scelfo: Commends their effort to include accessibility in the criteria for the performance tier
  • Call to question
  • Vote: 21–0
  • Resolution 42 passes

Resolution 44: Changes to S.A. Bylaws — Jon Rau

  • Adjusted CIT to make it easier to staff and easier to work with
  • Scrapping the OARC Committee
  • M. Gulrajani: The point was to trim the fat. Strongly believes in the resolution and encourages members to vote for it
  • G. Block: What conversations were had covering the balance between committees and task forces?
    • Task forces are really at the discretion of the President and the Executive Vice President. Task forces are mainly for salient issues, so nothing will be written in the bylaws regarding them
    • Any overlap between the Outreach Committee and the outreach task force will slowly disappear
  • D. Muir: Will reduction of the minimum requirement for the committees reduce opportunities for community involvement?
    • Requirements were reduced, but there are no caps, so there will not be a problem staffing anyone who would like to join
  • Call to question
  • Vote: 22–0
  • Resolution 44 passes

Resolution 45: Student Assembly Support of a Tiered CUid Replacement System — Peter Scelfo and Alex Bores

  • Tabled until the next meeting

VII. New Business

Resolution 46: Student Assembly Input on the University Diversity Council and “Towards New Destinations,” the university-wide diversity plan — Nate Treffeisen, Roneal Desai, and Stephen Breedon

  • Resolution outlines recommendations they have come up with after hearing details of the diversity plan
  • Some background: the UDC was originally a 25 person group, which was inefficient. Now it is a group of 5 — believes a student representative is necessary to add to the group
  • Motion to move to business of the day
  • Recommends that the administrative units work together to make sure that all groups are represented and to prevent overlap
  • Friendly amendment: new bullet under composition: “and the SA endorses the notion of LGBTQ inclusivity in compositional diversity initiatives.”
  • G. Block: Why is there not a student representative on the UDC? Why aren’t diversity income levels included? Why only underrepresented minorities instead of minorities as a whole?
    • Wanted as few people as possible while still representing every constituency. There are currently two representatives for students (A.T. Miller [administrative] and Dr. Renee Alexander [student life])
    • Cannot incorporate socio-economic diversity into pre-application initiatives, as Cornell is need-blind. Will encourage collection of that data for incoming classes
    • Other minorities are considered, but this phrasing is such that it matches that of the current initiative
  • P. Scelfo: Is collection of data going to be discriminatory in any way? Please explain the friendly amendment
    • No — surveys will work just like the FAFSA: the results will be collected before ethnicity statistics are observed
    • Working to increase the yield of members of the LGBT community
  • H. Pittell: Have you considered replacing the administrative representative with a student representative on the UDC? What about two representatives?
    • Want to add to the representatives, not take away the administrative portion
  • Motion to postpone R.46 until the next meeting
  • Dissent expressed. Vote: 9–10. Motion does not pass
  • Moseh Cho ‘15: Have you considered including undocumented students in the engagement clause?
    • Motion to amend the second bullet for engagement: add “undocumented students,” between “disability,” and “others”
  • Motion to postpone R.46 until the next meeting
    • P. Scelfo: The resolution is only getting bigger and he does not feel comfortable voting on it until it has been discussed with more people
    • A. Bores: The SA should make sure that the resolution covers everything that it would like
    • Vote: 15–4
    • R.46 tabled until the next meeting

Resolution 47: Undergraduate Student Body Denouncement of the Calendar Committee’s Proposal — Geoffrey Block, Natalie Raps, Adam Gitlin, John Mueller

  • Feels that the Committee did not do a good job of taking in student input. Overview of change: shortened study week, exam period, and Senior Week for a two-day break in February
  • Many students do not agree with the proposal — frustrated that the Committee said to be focused on improving student health failed to do so in the proposal
  • Executive board of the next SA will be working just as hard on this initiative
  • A lot of discussion can still be had regarding the shortening of Winter break
  • A. Nicoletti: Will the faculty be able to turn down the proposal of the committee? How much of an impact will this resolution have?
    • Unsure, but believe they have a very strong and compelling argument going in
  • M. Gulrajani: Vice President Susan Murphy mentioned that surveys held showed that many seniors thought Senior Week was too long — how will you go against that argument?
    • Ultimately, the main focus is student health
  • Motion to move to business of the day
  • Call to question
  • Vote: 22–0
  • Resolution 47 passes

N. Raps adjourned the meeting at 6:42pm

Respectfully submitted,
Chelsea Cheng

Contact SA

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