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President Skorton Commenting on SA Resolutions

02/13/2010

Every Semester the Student Assembly forwards all the resolutions it passes to the President of the University. Some of these resolutions are simply to call his attention to issues on campus, while other resolutions need his approval to come into affect. Copied below are President Skorton’s responses to a few of the resolutions we passed last semester.

R. 13 (formerly R.11) – Voting Rights for Members of the Undergraduate Community “The Community Clause 2.0”

Thank you for the change in wording as we requested in our communication last November.  I accept this resolution.

R. 24 (formerly R. 22) – Reinstatement of Mr. Kenneth Glover as the Residential Housing Director of Ujamaa Residential College

In this resolution, you ask that Mr. Glover not be removed from his current position until the Ujamaa Program House RHD Selection Committee conducts a thorough review according to the stipulations outlined in R. 15.  As I indicated in my communication to you in the fall, we have added two undergraduate students to the search committees, both the one especially established for Ujamaa and the general screening committee for non-program house openings.  These committees are not reviewing current incumbents, but rather are involved in the search for new RHDs.

We also have gathered input from students about the quality of their experience living in residence halls, as recently as the beginning of this semester, as requested.  This information will help inform Residential Programs leadership as they consider the assignments of residence hall directors to particular buildings.  As I wrote in November, this data is informative but cannot be determinative about RHD placement.

Please remember that Mr. Glover remains in his position until June 30, 2010.

Thus, I do not accept this resolution.

R. 25 – Lights Off, Cornell

I appreciate the request that we investigate the use of lights on campus, looking for ways to reduce lighting when not necessary.  I will share this resolution with Vice Presidents Opperman and Whang and ask that the SA, through the task force that you are forming in conjunction with the GPSA, work closely with both of their organizations.  Obviously there is balance between sustainability and safety that needs to be achieved in this matter.

R. 27 – Supporting the Dutch and Swedish Language Programs

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this difficult matter the Arts College faces.  I am sharing the resolution with Dean Peter LePage so that he is aware of the SA position.  Please understand, however, that in confronting our serious budget situation, difficult decisions will need to be made by university leaders and this is one of such actions.

R. 31 (formerly R. 44 from Spring 2009) – SA Organizational Review Committee & RSO Taskforce Recommendations

I am pleased to accept R. 31 however, I do ask two things.  First, in your description of the New Organization Review Process, it is unclear whether all three criteria outlined need to be met, or if only one of the three criteria is necessary.  Early in the paragraph you use ‘and’ while later in that same paragraph you use ‘and/or’…would you please clarify.

Also, please work closely with the Student Activities Office within the Dean of Students Office as you implement this activity as ultimately, that office has the responsibility for overseeing and facilitating the organization registration process.

R. 34 – Clarification of at-Large Seats

Before I take final action on this resolution, I seek some clarification.  Do you wish forever to dedicate the seats that have been targeted to represent under-represented groups to candidates seeking to represent the minority, international and LGBTQ communities?  If so, I would ask that you include in your resolution what you state in your premises, that is, the SA is defining its commitment to underrepresented constituencies by dedicating these positions to candidates seeking to represent these three communities.  I assume the SA desires to give up the flexibility the previous wording permitted, allowing the definition of underrepresented communities to change over time.

R. 35 – Marcellus Shale Drilling

Thank you for sharing your thoughts regarding this activity.  As you may already know from the statement we issued on December 23, 2009, the university is not considering such leasing, and furthermore, we announced a moratorium on any such consideration until federal or state guidelines on natural gas drilling are established that conform to the high environmental standards the university holds for stewardship of its property.  Moreover, I have asked Provost Kent Fuchs to establish an advisory committee, composed of faculty, students and staff, to investigate these issues and advise the senior administration on decisions it may be called upon to make regarding this matter.

Also, I received separate communication on January 18th from Nikhil Kumar about three housing resolutions, two of which have been implemented by Campus Life already.  You appended two resolutions to your email.  The first resolution already supported by Campus Life I am assuming called for information to be released to the student population regarding room availability and housing lottery results from previous years.   I am pleased that they acted on your request.

Regarding R. 14, In House Lottery for Collegetown Residences, I am pleased to note that Campus Life has implemented that process.  As to R. 15 (formerly R. 13) Housing Time Slots, I accept this resolution now that it notes that it will occur in the Spring of 2011.  I ask that the Residence and Community Life committee of the SA work closely with Campus Life as these changes are developed so that we make sure we retain full occupancy in our residence halls.

Thank you and all the members of the assembly for a busy and very productive semester.

Sincerely,

David J. Skorton

David J. Skorton

President

Cornell University

300 Day Hall

Ithaca, NY  14853

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