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Digging Deeper- the SA’s Commitment to Transparency

02/13/2010

To the Cornell Sun,

The Student Assembly has embraced the notion of total transparency in our operations this year. In the fall, we implemented an online system for SA representatives to post vote rationales next to a record of all attendance figures and vote tallies (assembly.cornell.edu). Last semester we created a blog (cornellsa.wordpress.com) and a Twitter account to allow for better communication between students and SA members about issues such as housing reform and byline funding. In December, you published the 3rd Semesterly SA Newsletter. Our Elections Committee, in developing its rules for the upcoming elections, held an open forum for all community members to provide input into the elections process while President Rammy Salem has been holding weekly office hours in Libe Café, since September. And if the regular Thursday meetings aren’t enough, our weekly Executive Board meetings are open to all.

With this unprecedented level of transparency and access, it is troubling that Sun Editors continue to ignore fact by, for example, asserting that the SA spent the past week “VILLAINOUSLY deliberating largely irrelevant issues” (2/5). This comes on the heels of full page headlines such as “SA Betrays Culture”, factually incorrect articles such as “By-Line Funding; It’s Simple Really” and an inappropriate article concerning Ola Williams’ resignation. Again, last Friday’s headline inappropriately labeled a 30 minute open discussion about procedure as a “clash”, yet no Sun reporter was there to witness said “clash”. While the Sun has been busy coming up with catchy titles, the SA has been busy discussing proposals currently in front of the Board of Trustees with Student-Trustees Asa Craig and Mike Walsh, debating SAFC Appeals Rule changes that affect all student organizations, and discussing how best to get students involved in public service projects. These issues are hardly irrelevant.

The point is that, even though the Sun may focus on name-calling and inventing division, there is often more to the SA than what Sun headlines would have you believe. In fact, this Thursday at 5pm, Dean Lepage will be addressing the SA about the recent cuts to the Theatre, Film, and Dance Department and all students are welcome to attend. If you can’t make it, check out our website, Twitter, Facebook, or blog, or contact your representatives to get the full story. SA elections are also around the corner, so feel free to run. During this period of Reimagining we need an all-hands-on-deck approach to ensure the undergraduate student experience is priority #1, which can only be accomplished with your help.

Rammy Salem, President

Nikhil Kumar, Executive Vice President

Alex Latella, Vice President for Internal Operations

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