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2009-2010 End of the Year Report

07/01/2010

The Student Assembly End of the Year Report 2009-2010, a summary of the SA’s iniatives in the past year submitted by Student Assembly President Rammy Salem to President David Skorton on June 21, 2010

Allocation of the 2010-2012 Student Activity Fee
The Student Assembly (SA) set the Student Activity Fee at the final total amount of $216 per academic year. By doing so, we affirmed the contributions of a wide array of student groups to the Cornell community. Additionally, we declared two new groups, Alternative Breaks and Big Red Bikes, eligible for byline funding and granted $1.00 of Student Activity Fee money for each. We arrived at our final SAF allocation after working extensively with input from the Student Assembly’s Appropriations Committee, led by our Vice President for Finance, Chris Basil.

Among the recipients of increases in their Student Activity Fee allocations is the Collegiate Readership Program, which is designed to promote civic literacy and global awareness on campus though students’ daily exposure to the news. In the past, our funding has allowed for approximately 1100 USA Today and New York Times to be available to all undergraduate students each day for free. Through our collaborations, we are working with the program to add more convenient newspaper locations on campus.

One of our heavily debated allocations regarded Cornell Cinema. After an original recommendation of $8.60 by the Appropriations Committee, the SA members sought the counsel of Vice President for the Student and Academic Services, Susan Murphy, and consulted Dean of Students, Kent Hubbell and consulted student leaders of Cornell Cinema to determine the final Activity Fee allocation of $10.00. This allocation was approved with the understanding that Cornell Cinema will work in the next two years to redesign its budget model in order to be less dependent on the Activity Fee.

In order to offset the University’s withdrawal of funding for Slope Day, the SA also increased the allocation to the Slope Day Programming Board. Moreover, approximately $1.1 million per year was allocated to the Student Assembly Finance Commission to fund hundreds of student groups and club sports teams. Out of the 30 by-line funded organizations, the Student Assembly, in an effort to cut unnecessary expenses, requested a decrease in our funding request. For a complete list of Activity Fee allocations, please refer to Resolution 37.

Appendix A and B Revisions
After a lengthy campus debate on the ability of student organizations to discriminate, the SA determined that 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.

The SA also mandated that each organization receiving Student Activity Fee funds directly from the SA shall include a “Non-discrimination Clause” section in its bylaws, constitution or other governing documents reflecting this policy. This year’s Assembly also worked with leaders of by-line funded organizations to streamline the by-line funding process. The changes will also require groups to be adequately prepared for situations in which they do not receive their requested amount of funding.

Residential Life
The Student Assembly’s Committee on Residential and Community Life, led by representative Jon Rau, has met regularly in order to examine some of the concerns that students have been having about campus life and to determine how best to work with other student organizations and administrative departments to address any problems. Through collaboration with the Residential Student Congress and in concord with the Department of Campus Life, the committee increased student representation in the selection process for Residence Hall Directors.

Executive Vice President Nikhil Kumar led an overhaul of the housing lottery process by reversing Housing Lottery time slots to prioritize sophomores, and improving transparency of lottery process by calling for more information about previous housing lottery results and current room allocations to be made available to undergraduates.

Community Clause
After seeing the tremendous community response to the decision to popularly elect the Student Assembly President and Executive Vice President, the SA decided to attempt another innovative approach to engage the undergraduate student body by allowing them to vote on some of the same issues as the Assembly with the passage of Resolution 15 “The Community Clause 2.0”.

This resolution allocates up to two additional votes to the entire community of undergraduates as a whole present at a Student Assembly meeting. We understand that we are not omniscient of all happenings on campus, and we are proud that there are undergraduates on campus who have valuable knowledge in various aspects of student life. We hope that this resolution will give average students an incentive to participate in Cornell’s framework of shared governance by making them a part of the student governance process.

Although limitations currently in place permit students to vote only on resolutions that determine community opinion regarding matters of student concern (sense-of-the-body), we are confident that this resolution will lay the groundwork for giving students more agency over the decisions that affect their lives. We hope that students will take advantage of the new powers granted to them by attending SA meetings and exercising their voting rights in order to ensure that elected representatives do not lose touch with the concerns and views of their respective constituencies.

Ivy Council
On the weekend of November 7th-8th the Cornell Ivy Council Delegation attended the Ivy Council Fall Conference at Dartmouth College. Students from all eight Ivy League were in attendance as students exchanged ideas in breakout sessions regarding campus policy. This year the SA decided that the Ivy Council should begin the process of RSO registration independent of the Assembly and fund their activities through the SAFC.
 
Public Service
In an effort to foster dialogue between groups on campus engaging in service and philanthropy, the SA created a Public Service Committee— a collaboration between the Student Assembly, the Greek Tri-Council, the Public Service Center and various student organizations- to provide a forum through which service organizations and students can work together to make engagement in service more accessible for students.  The SAPSC also plans to create an annual guide to organizations on campus with descriptions and contact information, a service website with up-to-date information on events and donation opportunities, and support to group publicity and outreach campaigns.
 
Dining
Throughout the year the Student Assembly Committee on Dining has held each of its meetings at various dining locations on campuses. The committee has focused on a few key areas to help ensure the continuation of high quality foods and service. Through the creation of several sub-committees, members proposed new ways to market Cornell Dining events, promotions, and specials. Some of those promotions included highlighting Cornell cuisine from several celebrity chefs across all of its dining units (e.g. American Masala in Trillium).

Continuing with the theme of premium foods, Cornell Dining has been sourcing a significant amount of its produce from local area farmers. As part of a commitment to sustainability and healthful eating, Cornell Dining hopes to increase its usage of local foods.

Committee members have also been helping the Dining directors analyze pricing to ensure that students are receiving value for their money. Finally, the SA has worked with the student organization Cornell Hunger Relief to encourage students to donate their unused Big Red Bucks by purchasing non-perishable food for charity.

Transparency
Members of the SA decided to expand membership of many committees by eliminating the cap on the number of students who can be involved. The Joint Assemblies Multicultural Issues Committee has also seen resurgence after seven years of dormancy. College representatives also placed an additional responsibility upon themselves to conduct climate polls of students in their respective college.

The SA has also utilized multimedia technology by the maintenance of a blog, Facebook Group account, and the creation a more interactive website. In addition, SA representatives have held daily office hours.

SAFC Reform
This year the SA worked with the SAFC to ease the ability of student organizations to obtain funds through reforms including:

-Allowing digital signatures

-clarifying the student group appeals process,

-modify durable goods eligibility,

-changing the previously fixed club sports cap to make it more flexible

-providing more permissive criteria for special project funding

Furthermore, SAFC liaison Justin Min enabled more transparency in the allocation process by releasing allocation amounts open for all undergraduate students to view after the completion of each SAFC funding cycle.

Undergraduate Organizational Review
In response to problems encountered by the Student Activities office regarding the applications of new groups on campus, the SA created an Organizational Review Committee with the intention of addressing the formation of overlapping or redundant student organizations. In addition to grant or deny undergraduate students’ request to form an organization, this committee will review each existing organization on campus at least once every three years.
 
Booklists
With the support of the Faculty Senate and the Cornell Store, the SA encouraged professors to comply with Cornell Store booklist submission deadlines as this will make an enormous difference in the way textbooks are sourced, in the prices students will receive when selling their books, and in the prices students will pay when purchasing books from the Cornell Store.
 
Sustainability
Another major focus has been on improving our campus’ commitment to sustainability. The Environmental Committee, led by Representative Adam Raveret, has worked on ways to implement and supplement environmentally-friendly programs on campus. Through the “Lights Off! Cornell” initiative, the committee investigated the use of lights on campus and looked into ways to reduce lighting usage when and where appropriate. Furthermore, Representative Adam Gitlin worked with Facilities Management and Campus Life to reallocate garbage cans on North Campus.
 
Full Year Formal Resolutions
Available online at http://assembly.cornell.edu/SA/2009FallActions and http://assembly.cornell.edu/SA/2010SpringActions

R. 1 Approval of the 2009—2010 Standing Rules

R. 2 Creation of a Student Ambassador to Doha, Qatar

R. 3 Restructuring of Review Committees

R. 4 Voting Rights for Members of the Undergraduate Community “The Community Clause”

R. 5 Supporting Extending the Campus Conversation on Free Speech and Religion in the Public Space

R. 6 Big Red Bikes Eligibility

R. 7 SA-Class Councils Collaboration

R. 8 Student Innovation Council

R. 9 UA Undergraduate Representative Application Process

R. 9B Proposal to Submit a Survey to the Student Body

R. 10 Town-Gown Community Award

R. 10B Expressing Support for the Cornell University Climate Action Plan

R. 11 Voting Rights for Members of the Undergraduate Community “The Community Clause 2.0”

R. 12 In-House Lottery for Collegetown Residences

R. 13 Housing Lottery Time Slots

R. 14 Housing Lottery Results

R. 15 Increased Student Representation in Residence Hall Director Selections

R. 16 Expanding Membership of Committees

R. 17 Clarification of Executive Committee Membership and Executive Session

R. 18 Regarding Availability of Task Force Reports

R. 19 Regarding Joint Assemblies Multicultural Issues Committee

R. 20 Supporting the ICSD’s Lift of the Student Volunteer Freeze

R. 21 Opposition to Legislation A07638

R. 22 Reinstatement of Mr. Kenneth Glover as the Residential Housing Director of Ujamma Residential College

R. 23 Lights Off, Cornell

R. 24 Garbage Cans on North Campus

R. 25 Supporting the Dutch and Swedish Language Programs

R. 26 Continuation of Liaisons Between the Club Sports Council and the SAFC

R. 27 Amendments to the SAFC Guidelines

R. 28 Release of SAFC Allocations

R. 29 SA Organizational Review Committee & RSO Taskforce Recommendations

R. 30 Direct Election of President and EVP

R. 31 Resolution for the Improvement of the Well-Being of the Asian and Asian-American Population at Cornell

R. 32 Clarification of at-Large Seats

R. 33 Marcellus Shale Drilling

R. 34 Commemoration of Transgender Day of Remembrance

R. 35 Student Assembly Absentee Policy

R. 36 Creation of the Student Judicial Council

R. 37 2010-2012 By-Line Funding

R. 38 Resolution Approving Student Assembly Finance Commission Member and Officer Appointments

R. 39 Joint GPSA/SA Resolution in Acknowledgment and Celebration of President Skorton’s Birthday

R. 42 Encouraging Professors to Comply with Cornell Store Booklist Submission Deadlines

R. 43 Defining the General Roles of College Representatives

R. 44 Non-Discrimination Clause

R. 45 SAFC Appeals Process Reform

R. 46 Making the Swim Test Optional

R. 47 Establishment of the Student Assembly Public Service Committee

R. 48 Recognition of Cornell Nutritional Societies as an Umbrella Body for Food-Related Groups on Campus

R. 49 New Group Application Review Committee

R. 50 Requesting Deans to Speak at SA Meetings

R. 51 Filling of Undergraduate UA Seats

R. 52 Resolution in Support of the Student Statement on the Right to Research

R. 53 Resolution Revising the Postering Policy

R. 54 Removing the Charter Test for SA Members

R. 55 Charter Amendments

R. 56 Proposal for a Snow Day

R. 57 Resolution in Support of a Korean Studies Program and the Korean Language Program

R. 58 Promotion of Time Effective Student Assembly Meetings

R. 59 Spring 2010 SAFC Appeals

R. 60 Spring 2010 SAFC Appeals

R. 61 Marcellus Shale Drilling Committee

R. 62 The Freedom Clause

R. 63 Required Orientation Event On Health

R. 64 UA Undergraduate Representative Application Process

R. 65 Revision of University Inclement Weather Policy 8.2

R. 66 Revision of Student Disabilities Services Procedure for Inclement Weather

R. 67 Endorsing the Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act

R. 68 Allowing Decorations on Chain-Link Fences on Campus Bridges

R. 69 Student Innovation Council

R. 70 Extension of Voting Rights for Members of the Undergraduate Community – “The Community Clause 2.0”

R. 71 Ad-Hoc Charter Review Committee

R. 72 SAFC Guidelines Reform

R. 73 Appendix B Revisions

R. 74 SA Special Projects and Appropriations Committee Charge

R. 75 Appendix B Changes

R. 76 Appendix A Changes

R. 77 Requesting Information from Cornell Dining

R. 78 Establishment of the Student Assembly Public Service Committee

R. 79 SAFC Guideline Changes

R. 80 Student Assembly Elections Committee

R. 81 Charter Revisions

R. 82 Upholding Cornell’s Code of Conduct

R. 83 New SAFC Commissioners

R. 84 Housing Lottery Time Slots

R. 85 Addition of a Student Assembly Webmaster

R. 86 Disassociation of Ivy Council

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