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- ARTICLE I: Name
- ARTICLE II: Object
- ARTICLE III: Authority and Responsibilities
- Section 1: Legislative Authority Over Policies
- Section 2: Actions of the Assembly
- Section 3: Reporting of SA Actions
- Section 4: Objection to Actions
- Section 5: University Calendar
- Section 6: Presidential Information
- Section 7: President’s Report
- Section 8: Public Hearings, Forums, Referendums
- Section 9: Authority to Appoint Delegates, Committee Members and Liaisons
- ARTICLE IV: Membership
- ARTICLE V: Amendments
- Appendix A: Guidelines for the Allocation of the Student Activity Fee
- Attachment A: Criteria for Setting and Allocating the Student Activity Fee
- Appendix B: Student Assembly Guidelines for Funded Organizations 2010-2012
Revised Tuesday, 19 May 2015
After consultation with members of the student body, and to effect more extensive involvement in campus governance through a University Assembly and constituent assemblies representatives of faculty, students, and employees, the President, through the authority granted him by the Board of Trustees, hereby establishes this Charter for the Student Assembly of Cornell University.
The name of this organization shall be the Student Assembly of Cornell University (herein after referred to as the SA).
The object of this assembly shall be to effect more extensive involvement in campus governance in the undergraduate student body. This is accomplished by charging the assembly with the authority and the responsibility to examine any matters which involve the interests or concern the welfare of the student community and to make proposals concerning those issues to the appropriate officers or decision-making bodies of the University.
The SA will have legislative authority over the policies of the Department of Campus Life and the Office of the Dean of Students, and will have the authority to review the budgets and actions of said departments. Additionally the SA will have authority over its own policies and operations. Finally, no proposal of the SA shall be altered in any way without the prior consent of the SA.
- The SA shall by majority vote have the authority to require at any time information directly from a department or a specific individual within that department concerning the budget, policies, or actions of said department. The request for this information shall be made at a SA meeting.
- Should a request be refused, the SA by simple majority vote may request the information be given to the Vice President for Student and Academic Services who shall forward it to the SA. The Vice President for Student and Academic Services shall act unless otherwise directed by the President, pursuant to Article 3, Section 6.
- Pursuant to the legislative authority and responsibilities of the SA the six principal actions of the Assembly are :
- internal policy resolution,
- Sense-of-the-Body Resolutions,
- Calls for Sense-of-the-Community Referendums.
- Legislation is action of the SA to carry out its legislative and policy-making functions,
- Internal Policy Resolutions are actions to enact internal rule changes, and to make amendments to the SA Charter.
- Investigation is action of the SA to gain information on issues pertinent to its purview.
- Recommendation is an action of the SA expressing the recommendation of the SA in policy areas over which the SA through its Charter may or may not have policy-making power.
- A Sense-of-the-Body Resolution, which may or may not be directed at a particular individual, organization or event, is an expression of the opinion of the SA regarding a matter of student concern.
- Calls for a Referendum is an action of the student body to determine community opinion regarding matters of student concern.
- Reporting to the President - Legislative actions of the SA will be reported by the SA President to the University President. The SA will respond to any requests for information from the President on its actions. The President may also request reconsideration of legislation proposed by the SA. Such a request must be filed within thirty days of notification of the legislation. The SA will take action on such a request, and, if the legislation is upheld, the SA will inform the President. If the legislation is upheld and if the President still deems the action to be defective, the President may veto the action of the SA.
- Reporting to Other Bodies - The SA will report in writing its actions to the GPSA, Employee Assembly, and the Faculty Senate, in conjunction with reporting of the actions to the President. The actions will be reported following each meeting by a SA member designated by the SA. Annual Report - The SA will present an annual report at the last SA meeting of the spring term to the President of the University and the student population. The report will include a summary of the SA’s work during the preceding year and, in addition, describe any unresolved issues that are expected to arise in the future. All members of the Cornell community will have access to this report. The report must be approved by a majority vote of the members present prior to being presented to the University President.
- Objection of SA Actions by Another Assembly - Should another Assembly object to an action of the SA, at its next business meeting, the SA will review the objection and either modify the original position to account for the objections of the other constituency(ies) or will reaffirm the original action. The SA shall report to the objecting body(ies) within five working days of reviewing the objection.
- Objection by SA of another Assemblies Actions - If the SA determines by a two-thirds vote that the action of another constituency body impacts its constituency, comparable procedures for the reconciliation of the differences will be pursued.
- The Provost will consult with the SA in the formulation of the University Calendar. The SA may review and ask for reconsideration of the calendar before it becomes final. In addition, the SA may propose changes in the calendar to the Provost.
- The Provost shall make the calendar available for comment at least thirty days before public announcement of the final calendar.
The SA may request and obtain specific information from the President regarding any subject which it deems of general student concern. If such a request is made, and said information is not furnished, the President will report to the SA the reasons why said information cannot be furnished within two regularly scheduled SA meetings following the denial of the request. The SA will not request information falling into the following categories: salary or wage records of specific individuals, academic or financial records of specific individuals, medical or categorical (race, sex, age, etc.) records of specific individuals and information otherwise defined as confidential or restricted by law.
The President of the University or his/her appointee will make a report in writing to the SA at the end of each semester. This report will be due at the beginning of the last SA meeting of each semester. This report will include: 1) the status of all policies and departments affected by campus governance legislation during the semester, 2) the status of all SA legislative actions awaiting Presidential consideration, and 3) progress reports requested by the SA leadership on any past legislative action(s).
The SA will have the authority and responsibility to conduct public hearings, forums, and referendums concerning topics of current student interest, and to determine in other appropriate ways student needs and opinions.
- At two times during the course of the fall and spring semesters, a student or student group (referred to as the “submitter”) may submit a referendum of any topic of current student interest to the Student Assembly general body upon successful collection of support from at least 3-percent of the registered undergraduate student body (submitters should plan to collect at least 450 undergraduate signatures) according to the following procedure:
- The referendum must contain a single or a series of referendum questions that are neutrally worded and call for a yes/no response. Once the submitter has started gathering signatures, the question may not be changed or modified in any way.
- Submitters must collect signatures (defined as a willfully submitted record of first name, last name, and NetID) exclusively from registered undergraduate students at Cornell University. Digital and print solicitation methods are permitted, provided that the referendum question and sponsoring student or student organization are clearly visible. An electronic form approved and administered through Orgsync Cornell may be used to gather the names and NetIDs of students The Student Assemblies Elections Committee will validate the Orgsync submissions using the same method as used to validate the petition signatures for the regular SA Elections, and as directed by the Office of the Assemblies.
- The deadlines for submission of referendums will be a date to coincide with the deadlines of the election materials for the Fall and for the Spring regular Student Assembly elections. The referendum process will only occur during the pre-established election periods and the referenda process cannot occur more than two times a year.
- All deadlines will be advertised through the regular SA monthly newsletter as well as the other usual publicity outlets.
- Once a referendum question with the appropriate number of signatures has been submitted, the SA general body will call a roll call vote and use a simple majority to determine whether to hold the include a referendum. The vote will include the provision for two collective community votes. If the SA votes by simple majority to NOT hold the referendum, the submitter may overturn the decision of the SA by collecting the signatures of at least 10-percent of the registered undergraduate student body using the same method described in section A.2. If the submitter is unable to gather the required number of signatures by the appointed deadlines, the referendum will not be placed on the ballot.
- Once a referendum is approved or has gathered the support of at least 10-percent of the registered undergraduate student body, the following timeline will be observed:
- STATEMENT PERIOD. The Student Assembly Executive Vice President will put out a call for pro or con statements regarding the referendum question. Any member of the Cornell community (including undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, and employees) may submit a statement. Each statement will be no longer than 300 words. The statements must pertain to the topic of the referendum question. The deadline for pro or con statements will be seven (7) days from when the call was first made public.
- PROMOTIONAL PERIOD. At the end of the seven-day statement period has ended, the Student Assembly Vice President for Public Relations has a period of three (3) days to promote the referendum question and any submitted statements. Information regarding the referendum will be included in the regular SA elections promotional materials that are sent to all eligible undergraduate students. This information will include: information on when and how to vote in the referendum, the referendum questions, and any pro or con statements submitted.
- VOTING PERIOD. The Office of the Assemblies will conduct the referendum on the next business day following the conclusion of the promotional period. The voting period will coincide with the regular SA elections voting period hours. The Office of the Assemblies will include the referendum and display any pro or con statements submitted during the statement period on the poll regular SA elections ballot.
- The results of a referendum will be released at the conclusion of the Voting Period, along with the results of the regular elections. The details of the referendum results will include the percentage of the undergraduate population that voted.
- If a referendum has a simple majority of “yes” votes, then the President of the Student Assembly will communicate the referendum question, a summary of each side of the argument, and the results of the referendum to the Office of the President in the form of a Referendum Action.
- The record of all communication submitted via the Assemblies “actions” list, including the results of any referendum actions, will be a part of public record and made available on the public websites of the Office of Assemblies.
- Two members will be selected from and by the membership of the SA to serve as voting members of the UA and to act as a liaison between the UA and the SA. The remaining four undergraduate student membership of the UAshall be elected by the undergraduate student body at the time of SA’s spring elections in the same manner as SA voting members. Elected representatives to the UA shall serve for one calendar year, taking office June 1st. Elections for the two SA voting members to the UA shall be by separate secret ballots. SA voting members may have one vote for each position to be filled, but may not vote for any one individual twice on any ballot. The President may not be one of the SA representatives to the UA. Should a seat on the UA be empty, the seat shall be declared vacant.
- If at any time during the course of an academic year, a UA member elected directly from the undergraduate student body should leave his office, then the seat shall be filled by the next highest-ranking non-winning candidate. If there should not be a next highest-ranking non-winning candidate after the fall special election, the undesignated at-large candidate receiving the most number of votes in the preceding spring election.
- The SA will have the authority to appoint student members of the UA committees.
- The SA will have the authority to appoint student members to be liaisons to departments and administrators in the University.
- During the process of committee appointments, the following two appointments must be made: liaison to the Athletic Department and liaison to the Dean of Faculty. The liaison positions shall have the responsibility of increasing the communication between the SA and the respective University departments.
- At the time that committee appointments are made, the SA will appoint one member to serve as Liaison to the Provost. The student will interact and work directly with the Provost on issues that affect and concern students on a regular basis during the member’s term of office.
- At the time that committee appointments are made, the SA will appoint one member to serve as liaison to the West Campus Living Learning Council. The liaison will be a non-voting member of the Council and will interact with the Council and administrators to help develop the living-learning environment on West Campus.
- General Composition - The SA will consist of 27 voting members who are registered undergraduate students at Cornell University. Up to two additional votes shall be allocated to the entire community of undergraduates as a whole present at a Student Assembly meeting on motions that express the opinion of the assembly. Such community votes shall be allowed only as provided by the Assembly in its bylaws. Eleven voting members of the SA will be elected by and from the student populations of the colleges and schools, one from each: the College of Architecture, Art and Planning; the School of Hotel Administration; the College of Human Ecology; and the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. Two each shall be elected from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Engineering; and three shall be elected from the College of Arts and Sciences. In addition, eleven voting members will be elected at-large by and from the University undergraduate student population as a whole; two at-large seats are to be reserved for candidates seeking the offices of President and Executive Vice President of the Student Assembly and must be explicitly designated as such; two at-large seats are to be reserved for non-constituent, undesignated at-large group candidates who do not run for President or Executive Vice President; two at-large seats are to be reserved for candidates seeking to represent minority students; one at-large seat is to be reserved for candidates seeking to represent international students; one at-large seat is to be reserved for candidates seeking to represent women’s issues; and one at-large seat is to be reserved for candidates seeking to represent the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer community. The two remaining non-constituent, undesignated at-large seats are to be contested by candidates running for President and Executive Vice President and by non-constituent, undesignated at-large group candidates not running for President or Executive Vice President. Five seats shall be elected by and from new students entering in the fall. Should there be no candidate running for a given seat, the seat shall be considered vacant.
- Ex-officio Membership - All members of the Cornell student body are considered non-voting members of the SA, and are encouraged to attend and participate in meetings. The SA may designate ex-officio members as deemed necessary.
- Specification of New Student Seats - Four new student seats shall be elected and held by new students entering in the fall semester. One additional seat shall be designated the Transfer Seat and shall be elected by transfer students and held by a transfer student who has entered the university that fall.
- Qualifications for Voting Membership - SA members elected from the various colleges and schools must be registered students in their respective colleges and schools by the beginning of the fall term of the academic year for which they were elected. SA members elected at-large must be registered students at Cornell by the beginning of the fall term of the academic year for which they were elected.
The President, Executive Vice President, and other Undesignated at Large representatives will be elected by a single transferable voting system. Voters may rank all candidates on the ballot for each of these races. All other representatives shall be elected by a plurality voting system. Voters will cast one vote per available seat, (e.g. if three Arts and Sciences representatives are to be elected, the voter will vote for three candidates).
All elected members are elected to a term, ending on June 1st, with no limit as to the number of terms they may serve. Prior to being seated at the beginning of the one-year term, each member shall take the oath of office. and shall be bound to that oath for the duration of their term.
The University President will appoint one member of the administration to serve as consultant to the SA at its meetings.
Any voting members who are absent for three consecutive regularly scheduled meetings or for six regularly scheduled meetings cumulatively during their term will have their position vacated. The Executive Committee may avert such a vacancy by a unanimous vote of all voting members of the Executive Committee. The vote would be conducted by secret ballot. The Executive Committee should consider the reasoning for past absences, the likelihood of future absences, and the representative’s supplemental actions to represent their respective constituency in making their decision. The same action must be taken if the Executive Committee wishes to avert a vacancy whenever the three consecutive absences or the six cumulative absences mark is exceeded.
All vacancies will be filled by seating the highest ranked non-winning candidate in the last election from the same constituency. If the highest ranked non-winning candidate declines, the seat will be offered to the next highest ranked non-winning candidate. If this procedure has been followed and the seat still remains vacant, the SA will solicit candidates from the unrepresented constituency during the first two weeks of the academic term immediately following the declaration of vacancy. If there is more than one candidate, an election will be held within the appropriate constituency, and the winner will be seated. If there is only one candidate, he or she will be seated immediately. If there are no candidates for a particular vacant seat, such seat will be labeled Undesignated and filled by the runner-up in the Undesignated At-Large election. At the time for the next election, such seat will return to its previous designation. Vacant seats shall not figure into quorums or vote counts; only filled seats may. SA members who are college representatives and who leave their college will vacate their seats. Should a seat remain vacant or be vacated following the fall special election and there are no non-winning candidates from that constituency to fill the position, it shall be filled by the undesignated at-large candidate receiving the most number of votes in the preceding spring election. Should the a seat on the UA remain vacant after following these procedures, the SA may appoint an individual to assume the UA seat.
If a voting SA member is to be recalled, they may be recalled either through their constituency, or through the SA. To be recalled through a member’s respective constituency each of the following procedures must be followed in the given order:
- A petition for the recall of the specific SA voting member will be registered with the Office of the Assemblies before any signatures are obtained.
- Petitioning for recall shall last for a period of not more than fourteen (14) days from the registration of the petition. The required number of signatures shall be: for representatives of a college constituency - 50% plus one or 1000 from that constituency, whichever is smaller; for at-large representatives - 15% of the student body. The petition will be presented to the Office of the Assemblies.
- An informational forum will be scheduled and held within not more than one (1) week of the presentation of the petition, where a discussion of the recall will occur. The SA voting member must have a reasonable opportunity to attend the forum.
- A special recall election will be scheduled for and held within not more than three (3) days after the informational hearing.
- Should the constituency vote to remove its representative the seat shall be declared vacant.
To be recalled by the SA, two-thirds of the voting membership must vote in favor of recalling the SA member.
- SA members who represent specific college or school constituencies are required make a reasonable effort to arrange at least two meetings a semester with their respective academic dean or associate dean(s) to discuss college/school specific issues and concerns. These representatives will then report back to the Student Assembly at the next regularly scheduled SA meeting briefing the Assembly on pertinent issues and occurrences that would take place as a result of these meetings.
- SA members who represent specific college or school constituencies shall be charged with gathering information about their particular college and representing their respective constituencies, and voting according to their needs and desires.
- All voting representatives shall host at least one forum or outreach activity with individuals from their respective constituencies and report all outcomes to the SA at the next regularly-scheduled meeting following such an activity
- All representatives may communicate regularly with their constituents through e-mail mailing lists and listservs, which may be maintained by their respective college dean’s office, the Department of Campus Life, the Office of the Dean of Students, or the Office of the Assemblies
- Any Student Assembly member, including the Vice President for Public Relations, must submit a mass message (e-mail, advertisement, press release, etc.) to the Executive Board for approval. The Executive Board may approve a message by a majority vote and the vote may be conducted by e-mail. The e-mail records must be saved and reported at the next SA meeting by the Vice President for Public Relations.
This charter may be amended at any regular meeting of the assembly by a two-thirds vote of the entire voting membership, provided that the amendment has been submitted in writing at the previous regular meeting. Amendments may be presented to the assembly by voting members or by community petition with at least 100 Cornell undergraduate student signatures.
Amendments to this Charter are subject to the approval of the President. Should the President disapprove the amendments affected by this section, the President will present a detailed verbal or written report to the SA indicating the reasons for disapproval. The report will be presented within thirty (30) days of receipt of the proposed amendments by the President.
The Office of Assemblies shall update the official copy of the charter within five business days of receiving notice of any amendment’s ratification.
The Student Assembly (the Assembly), through the delegated authority of the President and the Board of Trustees, is charged with the allocation of the Student Activity Fee (SAF). This fee is mandatory for all undergraduate students of the University and shall be used to fund participation in, and viewing of, activities and programs that benefit the Cornell community. The SAF shall be determined during the fall semester of every odd-numbered year, and be subject to the approval of the President of the University.
The following terms, which appear frequently in this Appendix, shall be defined as follows:
- a registered Independent or University organization that has authorization to receive funding.
- Student Assembly Finance Commission, a committee of the Student Assembly.
- New applicant
- an organization that did not receive funding in the previous two funding cycles.
- Returning applicant
- an organization that did receive funding in the previous two funding cycles.
- Funding cycle
- a two-year period of time spanning from the start of the third quarter of an even-numbered year to the end of the second quarter of the next even-numbered year (e.g. July 1, 2006 to June 30, 2008).
- document to collect signatures that includes the name of the organization, its mission statement, and monetary request. All petitions must be registered with and prepared by the Office of the Assemblies.
- By-line funding
- line item funding that comes directly from the SAF and not from an intermediary source, such as the SAFC.
- Appropriations Committee
- a committee of the Student Assembly as outlined in Bylaw 7.6.a.1.
To receive byline funding applicants must:
- directly and primarily serve/benefit the entire undergraduate Cornell community
- allow all students equal access to services and/or participation
- request as part of their annual operating budget at least $0.50 per student, per year, from the SAF
- if a new applicant, present a petition of fifteen hundred (1500) registered undergraduates to the Student Assembly
Except at the discretion of the Assembly and with approval of the President, organizations must also:
- be a registered organization
- be student-directed and student-led
- possess a University operating account with internally controlled funds
- have a Cornell-employed advisor with oversight of its account
- be previously funded by either the SAFC, the Student Assembly, or a University department/unit for at least two semesters
- The Office of the Assemblies shall make application materials available for all interested applicants by noon on the first business day in February of the academic year preceding the fee-setting year.
- By noon on April 25 or the first business day thereafter in the semester preceding a fee-setting year, each applicant must submit, using forms provided by the Office of the Assemblies, a preliminary application including:
- name of applicant,
- a preliminary request in dollars per student per year,
- checklist statement regarding eligibility criteria,
- current primary and secondary contacts for the organization including email and phone contact information, and,
- if a new applicant, petitions bearing the signature of fifteen hundred (1500) undergraduate students registered in that semester.
- At least one week before the deadline for final application submission, the Vice President for Finance shall convene mandatory meetings for the Presidents, Treasurers, and Advisors of all applicants
- the Vice President for Finance shall review each applicant’s application and approve the detail of each applicant’s financial statements.
- applicants shall notify the Vice President for Finance if their final request will differ from their preliminary request.
- By noon on Friday of the third week in which classes are held in a fee setting year, each applicant must submit in print and digitally in a single file, using forms provided by the Office of the Assemblies, a final application including:
- mission statement, of the organization or program, not to exceed one page,
- written organization profile, not to exceed three pages, including:
- number of members, and
- description of activities, programming, and events conducted in the present cycle,
- summary of request for funding, not to exceed two pages, including a final funding request, and describing how the applicant intends to use funding and summarizing any changes if the applicant is a returning applicant,
- financial statements for the past two academic years, the current academic year, and financial projections for the two years during the funding cycle1, and
- an analysis of the current academic year’s financial statements showing hypothetical spending on each budget item in an organization’s financial statements if the organization received 10%, 25%, and 35% less funding than its current allocation2.
- Applicants may submit materials in excess of specified numbers of pages only with written permission by the Vice President for Finance.
- The Office of the Assemblies will make received application materials available for public viewing online. Any pages containing confidential information must be explicitly stamped “confidential” and clearly identified to distinguish them from the publicly viewable portion of the application.
- Preliminary Report by Appropriations Committee
- By the last day of classes in the academic year preceding a fee-setting year, the Vice President of Finance will report each request received and the total amount of requests received in dollars per student per year to the Assembly, the Vice President for Student and Academic Services, and the President of the University.
- Before the deadline for final applications, the Vice President for Finance will report to the Assembly on the eligibility of each applicant, identifying:
- any new applicants that do not meet one or more eligibility criteria, and
- any returning applicants that do not meet one or more eligibility criteria which the Assembly may not waive.
- The Assembly may waive those eligibility requirements it is empowered to waive on a per organization basis for any organization for the remainder of the semester. Such organizations may then proceed through the appropriation process, provided they meet all other eligibility criteria not waived by the Assembly.
- Appropriation Process
- Within one week after the deadline for final applications, the Appropriations Committee (the committee) shall convene to review applications.
- For each applicant deemed to be eligible or for which eligibility criteria are waived by the Assembly, the committee will:
- arrange a hearing where the applicant may address questions of the committee,
- decide whether to fund the applicant in any amount, and,
- if it decides to fund the applicant, adopt an allocation in dollars per student per year of no less than fifty cents and no more than the request submitted by the applicant.
- At each meeting of the Assembly immediately preceding such a meeting of the committee, the Vice President of Finance will report the date, time, and location of the meetings as well as the names of applicants the committee intends to review.
- At each meeting of the Assembly immediately following such a meeting of the committee, the Vice President of Finance will introduce a written report, including:
- name of applicant,
- amount requested by applicant,
- amount of allocation recommended by committee,
- rationale explaining committee’s recommendation, and
- a brief response from the applicant, including any request to appeal to the Assembly. The Vice President of Finance may set a deadline for the applicant to submit a response, provided the deadline is no less than one business day after the applicant receives notice of the committee’s decision.
- The Vice President of Finance must inform each applicant of the time and location of any meeting where the report is to be presented or reviewed and must advise each applicant to send a representative who may answer questions of assembly members.
- If an applicant chooses to appeal the committee’s recommendation, the Assembly will reconsider the recommendation of the committee. The Vice President of Finance will provide several copies of complete application materials at any meeting where the assembly considers appeals.
- The Vice President of Finance will also file minutes of the committee’s meetings with the Office of the Assemblies.
- The committee will submit its final recommendation, including individual allocations, to the Assembly in the form of a legislative at least two weeks before the end of the fall semester.
- Student Assembly Appropriation Process
- The Assembly shall not adopt the recommendation of the Appropriations Committee at the same meeting that it is proposed.
- The Assembly shall provide notice to all applicants at least one full day in advance at any meeting where legislation related to its funding is discussed.
- The President of the Assembly will transmit its recommendation to the President for consideration by the last day of classes of the fall semester, including:
- the total amount of SAF recommendation,
- the allocations of each by-line funded organization, and
- a short description of each organization.
- Members of the Assembly or the Appropriations Committee must disclose to the Vice President of Finance any personal affiliations with applicants and must recuse themselves from any business related to such applicants to prevent conflicts of interest.
- Members of the Assembly and of the Appropriations Committee must sign a confidentiality statement and submit it to the Office of the Assemblies before they are seated in the fall semester of a fee-setting year.
Neither a check-off option nor an option to pay an amount in addition to the established SAF for specific programs or services will be allowed for purposes of exempting a student from paying the full amount of the SAF. Exceptions may be considered if recommended and approved by the Student Assembly and approved by the President of the University.
All decisions of the Student Assembly regarding the SAF during the SAF allocation process shall be of members present. Proxy votes shall not be permitted on any votes pertaining to the SAF.
Unless otherwise noted, all documents regarding the SAF shall be considered public and shall be available to members of the Cornell community for review within 24 hours of their request. All deliberations regarding allocations and authorization shall be conducted in open session unless otherwise required by university policy or law.
If a closed session is necessary to review or discuss confidential materials, discussion in such session must be limited only to those materials and no vote may be taken regarding the disposition of the request itself. Confidential materials may be disclosed publicly only at the discretion of authorized university personnel.
If a disparity arises in funding levels between the GPSA and SA of an organization that is funded by both, the financial officers of each body will meet to discuss the discrepancy and recommend action to their respective bodies.
If the Assembly does not adopt a recommendation in the fall semester of a fee setting year, its recommendation shall be presumed to be that all individual by-lines revert to the same level as in the current funding cycle with the following exception:
- Should an applicant’s newly approved allocation be less than that of the current cycle, the applicant shall receive the lower allocation.
Appendix A may be amended by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Student Assembly. In order to ensure consistency and fairness to the applicants and student body at-large, no amendments to this appendix may be adopted during the fall semester of a fee-setting year.
The SA and the GPSA and a representative of the President of the University shall review these guidelines and the procedures established in accordance therewith at least every four years in a non-fee-setting year (e.g. 2006–2007, 2010–2011). This review shall be conducted with strict adherence to the guidelines set forth by the Board of Trustees in Attachment A: Criteria for Setting and Allocating the Student Activity Fee (03/01/99).
March 1, 1999
Pursuant to a letter dated March 1, 1999, the President of the University has delegated responsibility for the setting and allocation of the Student Activity Fee to the Student Assembly (SA) and the Graduate & Professional Student Assembly (GPSA) within the following guidelines:
- The SA and the GPSA shall each amend their respective charters to include the criteria for the setting and allocation of the Student Activity Fee, including the guidelines set forth herein and which criteria shall be reviewed by and meet the approval of the President of the University.
- The Student Activity Fee for undergraduate students and for graduate and professional students shall be set every two years for a period of two years by the SA and the GPSA, respectively.
- The amount of the Student Activity Fee shall be determined by the last day of classes in the fall semester of the fee-setting year by the SA and the GPSA, after substantive input and active participation in the fee-setting process by their constituencies. In the event the SA or the GPSA is unable to meet this deadline, the applicable Student Activity Fee will default to the amount and allocation currently in effect during the fee-setting year.
- In general, in order to be considered for funding from the monies collected through the Student Activity Fee, an organization must meet the following criteria:
- Register as a student or university organization with the Student Activities Office
- Allow students equal access to the services being provided by the organization or participation in the organization’s activities
- Operate primarily for students by students with funds disbursed through a university operating account
- Have an advisor to assist with oversight of the university operating account.
- Funding from the monies collected through the Student Activities Fee may be provided directly to an organization, which applies for and receives “by-line” funding status, outside of the established Student Assembly Finance Commission or Graduate and Professional Student Assembly Finance Commission processes. In addition to the general criteria set out above, an organization wishing to receive by-line funding must demonstrate:
- Its activities are of direct and primary benefit to the entire Cornell community represented by the respective assembly; and
- It has a demonstrated budgetary need equivalent to at least 50 cents per student per year.
- The SA and the GPSA may also elect to provide by-line funding for other programs and services, which are not registered organizations (e.g., Students Helping Students, club insurance) but whose organizational structure and programs and services are consistent with the criteria outlined above for by-line funded organizations. Such funding would require the approval of the respective assembly and the President of the University.
- The SA and the GPSA will ensure that an appropriate balance is maintained between funds allocated to by-line funded organizations and the Student Assembly Finance Commission or Graduate and Professional Student Assembly Finance Commission, respectively. The SA and GPSA shall allocate no less than 35% of their respective Student Activity Fees to the applicable Finance Commission for disbursement among non-by-line funded organizations.
- Neither a check-off option nor an option to pay an amount in addition to the established Student Activity Fee for specific programs or services will be allowed for purposes of exempting a student from paying the full amount of the Student Activity Fee, due to the funding instability inherent in administering such a system. Exceptions may be considered if recommended and approved by the respective assembly and approved by the President of the University.
- These guidelines and the procedures established in accordance therewith shall be reviewed by the SA and the GPSA and a representative of the President of the University at least every four years in a non-fee-setting year.
Amended Sunday, 20 May 2012.
Each organization that receives funding from the Student Assembly (SA) through the Student Activity Fee (SAF) is subject to Guidelines set by the Assembly in consultation with the Graduate & Professional Student Assembly (GPSA), these organizations, and the Cornell student body.
- SA Charge: As the student-elected governing body at Cornell University, the SA shall seek out and voice effectively the interests and concerns of the student body.
- Notice of Current Governing Documents: The SA shall provide each by-line funded organization, the Director(s) of Student Activities, Campus Life, the GPSA, and the Dean of Students with a current copy of these Guidelines, as well as the SA Charter and the SA Appropriations Committee Charge and Guidelines each year.
- Notice of Pending Legislation: Each by-line funded organization, the Director(s) of Student Activities, Campus Life, the GPSA, and the Dean of Students shall be notified of any SA, SA Appropriations Committee, or other meeting in which legislation concerning or affecting Fee recipients is pending.
- Outreach: The SA Vice-President for Finance shall wherever possible, and as early as possible, attend at least one meeting of each organization each year and shall assist, when desired, organizations to prepare their written and oral reports to the Assembly.
- Enforcement, Violations & Penalties
- The SA Vice-President for Finance shall be charged with investigation of all accusations regarding violations of these guidelines and will report such findings to the SA.
- If the SA determines that an organization has committed a violation, the SA may impose a fine, reduction or revocation of the organization’s by-line funding allocation. In order for a fine, reduction, or revocation of funding to occur, a two-thirds majority of the SA must concur. Reasons for a fine, reduction, or revocation of funding include, but are not limited to, violation of these rules, violation of campus policies or violation of contract. Any money garnered from a fine on an organization shall revert to the SAF endowment fund. If a reduction or revocation of funding affecting the remainder of the funding cycle occurs, the University shall attempt to reduce the SAF to reflect the lower amount. Excepting that, the money shall revert to the SAF endowment fund.
All recipients of the SAF shall adhere to the following guidelines:
- Eligibility: SAF allocations are to be used primarily for the benefit of undergraduate students. Each organization shall be primarily student run and led.
- Event Ticketing: For all events (concerts, lectures, films, etc.) funded by the Fee allocations and for which admission is charged, Cornell students shall receive:
- A reasonable discount per event to reflect their prior contribution via the SAF.
- The first opportunity to purchase tickets or otherwise should have a substantial amount of tickets reserved for student use.
- Each organization shall report to the SA all money received for that event from other Fee recipients, including organizations funded by the SAFC, as requested by either the Appropriations Committee or the Executive Committee, or by the chairs of those committees.
- Public Promotion & Engagement
- Each organization shall regularly advertise its existence and encourage student participation in its meetings, which shall be open to the public.
- Each organization shall include the following logo or statement on all tickets, fliers, posters, promotions, programs, and literature: “Funded in part by the Student Assembly.”
- Capital Expenditures: SAF allocations are meant to serve as a “current account.” No organization shall use its Fee allocations for major capital equipment purchases costing more than $500 without the express approval of the SA. Organizations shall request approval in their annual fall report to the SA. A major capital equipment purchase shall be defined as anything having a useful life of two years or more.
- Funds Partitioning: SAF money will preferably be held in a separate University account for accounting and reporting purposes. Otherwise all expenditures from SAF money shall be authorized by the organization in accordance with its governing documents.
- SA Liaisons: The SA shall have the option of appointing a Cornell student to serve as a non-voting Liaison to each organization or, where appropriate, to its Executive Board.
- Off-year Reporting: During the fall of even-numbered calendar years each organization shall provide the Appropriations Committee with a written account of the use of its Fee allocation and operations for the previous academic year, as well as an oral summary of its activities, including usage statistics, and future programming plans. The SA Vice President for Finance shall provide a written summary report of these meetings to the SA.
- New Organization Reporting: Organizations receiving by-line funding for the first time in the current funding cycle shall report each semester to the Appropriations Committee on their operations and finances.
- Conferences: Organizations may send Executive Board member(s) to one annual conference, if desired. The Appropriations Committee must approve organization’s conference expenditures and each organization must demonstrate to the committee that conference attendance will benefit the organization’s ability to achieve its mission statement. Organizations shall request approval in their annual fall report to the SA. All conference as well as teambuilding, banquet, training, and other social expenditures for organization members, in sum, shall be no greater than $4,000 or 10% of the organization’s by-line allocation, whichever is less. This rule shall not apply to SAFC-funded organizations.
- Governing Document Approval: All organizations must submit any changes in the organizations’ bylaws, constitution, or other governing documents to the SA for its approval.
- Non-discrimination: All organizations receiving Student Activity Fee funds directly or that receive such funds indirectly from a by-line funded organization shall not discriminate on the basis of actual or perceived age, color, disability, ethnicity, gender identity or expression, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, veteran status, or any combination of these factors when determining its membership and when determining the equal rights of all general members and executive board members, respectively, which shall include, but are not limited to, voting for, seeking, and holding positions within the organization.
- Notwithstanding these requirements, a club sport may make requirements based on competitive athletic skill which may result in a club sport of one or predominantly one gender. Organizations may also make requirements based on vocal range or quality which may result in a chorus or choruses of one or predominantly one gender. Organizations that participate in activities with governmental age restrictions may also make appropriate requirements on the basis of age.
- Organizations may also enforce uniform standards of belief or conduct as a prerequisite for obtaining some or all rights of general members and executive board members, respectively, so long as said standards are protected by the 1st Amendment of the United States Constitution in the context of a public university and do not impede enforcement of Appendix B, Section II.5.
- Each organization receiving Student Activity Fee funds directly from the Student Assembly shall include a “Non-discrimination Clause” section in its bylaws, constitution or other governing documents reflecting this policy.
Furthermore, individual organizations shall adhere to the following additional Guidelines:
- African, Latino, Asian, Native American Students Programming Board (ALANA)
- $4.00 per student per year of the ALANA allocation shall be used for ALANA events and administrative expenses.
- $2.50 per student per year of the ALANA allocation shall be used to fund the MCFAB program each year.
- MCFAB shall seek to bring multiple acts to campus representing different musical genres.
- $2.25 per student per year of the ALANA allocation shall be contributed towards the Umbrella Programming Fund (UPF) for intracultural programmatic use and will be governed by the UPF charter as set forth in ALANA’s constitution.
- Athletics & Physical Education
- The Athletics Department shall provide, at no cost, a Big Red Sports Pass (BRSP) to each undergraduate student. $7.00 per student per year of the total annual Athletics allocation may be spent towards providing the BRSP.
- In collaboration with the Sports Marketing Group, the Athletics Department will promote Cornell Athletic events to the entire Cornell community. $3.00 per student per year of the annual Athletics’ allocation may be spent towards providing marketing and promotions. Athletics shall further promote increased autonomous student leadership in the Sports Marketing Group during the 2012–2014 funding cycle.
- The BRSP shall provide free admission to all varsity sports excluding Men’s Varsity Ice Hockey.
- Class Councils
- The Class Councils allocation may be divided between the four class years in proportions determined by the organization.
- Collegiate Readership Program
- Newspapers shall be distributed from the Monday of the week prior to the first full week of classes to the last day of exam week during each fall semester and from the first day of class to the last day of exam week during each spring semester. These distributions periods do not include Fall Break, Thanksgiving Break, or Spring Break.
- The CRP liaison shall prepare and present a report to the SA at the end of each year with information regarding readership and an analysis of the current distribution locations and proportions of papers. Any proposed changes in locations or proportions must be approved by a two-thirds vote of the SA.
- North Campus Programming Council
- SAF funds shall be directed towards North Campus based programming.
- Community Partnership Board
- The Board shall use Activity Fee money for the funding of projects. Administrative expenses shall be paid by the Board’s parent body, the Public Service Center, or other non-activity fee sources of funding.
- Projects funded are to be decided by the Board. Those projects are to be included in the annual report to the SA.
- At the time of the selection of Convocation Committee membership, all members of the SA and student-elected trustee(s) that belong to that class year will be invited to participate as full voting members of the Convocation Committee.
- Convocation shall seek to announce speaker selection first at a Student Assembly meeting.
- Cornell Cinema
- Cornell Cinema shall not increase student ticket prices without the express approval of the SA.
- Cornell Cinema shall strive to promote autonomous student leadership.
- Cornell Concert Commission
- The Concert Commission shall seek to produce at least one act each semester in Barton Hall, Lynah Rink, or similar venue.
- The Concert Commission shall strive to put on one free concert during the academic year.
- Cornell University Emergency Medical Service
- EMS may save no more than $25,000 per each two-year funding cycle toward the purchase of a new vehicle.
- Cornell University Programming Board
- The Cornell University Program Board shall use its SAF allocation to bring widely known speakers to campus. Such speakers should have diverse following, within the university, and in the Board’s best opinion, should be able to attract a large attendance by students and community members.
- CU Tonight Commission
- CUTonight shall seek to promote non-alcoholic, late night social programming, on campus, open to the entire Cornell community.
- International Students Board
- As a programming board, ISB shall strive to provide funds for Registered Student Organizations that are hosting events that may be of concern or interest to the international community at Cornell.
- Orientation Steering Committee
- The Assistant Dean of Students in New Student Programs shall continue to supervise the planning and implementation of all August and January orientation activities.
- The president of the SA and the senior Student Elected Trustee must be invited to address the new students at the President’s New Students Convocation each year. If the Cornell University President limits the OSC to two speakers, the president of the SA must be invited.
- Attendance at Welcome Weekend events shall not be mandatory for Orientation volunteers.
- OSC shall increase funding for both transfer and January Orientation programming.
- Outdoor Odyssey
- Outdoor Odyssey shall create a need-based financial aid program for students who apply for pre-orientation trips.
- Outdoor Odyssey shall conduct a review during the 2012–2014 funding cycle of group size for each trip to evaluate whether increasing the size of trips, thereby enabling more students to participate, would have negative safety consequences.
- Senior Week
- SAF-funded Senior Week events will charge no admittance fee and will be open to all seniors.
- Slope Day Programming Board (SDPB)
- The allocation for the SDPB shall be used exclusively for programming and publicity for an event on the last day of classes during the spring semester.
- The SDPB shall organize a non-alcoholic Slope Fest event concurrent to Slope Day.
- SDPB shall offer all undergraduate students free admission to Slope Day, unless expressly permitted by the SA.
- The Slope Day Programming Board shall work with the Cornell Administration to achieve the best possible event for all Cornell students.
- The Slope Day Programming Board shall collect demographic information from all Slope Day entrants. These statistics shall be reported to the SA and GPSA the Fall Semester following Slope Day.
- The Slope Day Programming Board shall seek to announce artist selection first at a Student Assembly meeting.
- Slope Media Group
- Slope Media Group shall annually report their current durable goods inventory, capital expenditures, and retirement or loss of durable goods inventory to the Appropriations Committee.
- Slope Media Group shall establish durable goods inventory management procedures, which must include details about anticipated storage locations, authorized persons to possess or handle equipment, device security, and theft.
- Student Assembly Finance Commission
- SAFC shall publish and make publicly available a written account of the organizations requesting funding, the amount requested, the amount rewarded, and the amount spent.
- Criteria for funding of undergraduate student organizations may not be altered or waived without the express approval of the SA.
- The SAFC shall reserve at least 1 dollar per student per year for a special projects fund. Monies held in this fund will be allocated first for appeals of the SAFC’s funding decisions to the SA.
- Five dollars per student per year shall be placed in a SAF endowment fund. The SA shall create guidelines for use of the endowment.
- Each organization funded by the SAFC will be required to include the following SAF logo or statement on all fliers, posters, promotions, programs, and literature “Funded in part by the Student Assembly Finance Commission”.
- Multicultural Greek Letter Council (MGLC)
- All monies from the SAF shall only be used for administrative costs and programming that is open to the entire Cornell community.
- Welcome Weekend
- Welcome Weekend shall seek to develop an event on the first weekend of the spring semester.
- Willard Straight Hall Student Union Board
- All events funded by WSH SUB must either take place in Willard Straight Hall or the surrounding environments and be directly associated with the purpose and mission of WSH.
- Women’s Resource Center (WRC)
- Cornell Women’s Resource Center resources shall be made available to all Cornell students and other members of the Cornell community.
- The Women’s Resource Center shall collaborate with the Student Assembly Women’s Issues Committee on safety, health, and other topics pertinent to women on campus.
- The Cornell Women’s Resource Center will be organizationally accountable to and report directly to Robert W. and Elizabeth C. Staley Dean of Students and will be programmatically accountable to the student body and SA.
- $0.50 per student per year of the WRC allocation shall be used for the development and operation of the B.L.U.E. late night shuttle service. The Women’s Resource Center will be responsible for coordinating the management and operation of the B.L.U.E. late night shuttle service.
- Once approved by the SA, these Funding Guidelines shall take effect on July 1, 2012 and shall expire on June 30, 2014, unless amended or renewed by the SA. These rules require a two-thirds majority of SA members present to be amended.
- These Funding Guidelines supersede all previous legislation of the SA and its predecessor bodies, as well as all charters, constitutions, bylaws, and other legislation of all SAF recipients and other student organizations.
- Guidelines for organizations that also receive funding from the GPSA may be amended only after consultation with the GPSA.
1 a print-out of the University Web Financials Reporting System shall not be considered sufficient (↑)
2 this requirement shall not apply to Club Insurance, the Collegiate Readership Program, and Students Helping Students (↑)