Budget battles mark SA's winter

by Jessica Spradling | 3/5/03 6:00am

The Student Assembly's work this term was marked by an intense focus on fostering student contact with the administration and giving students a chance to weigh in on key decisions that will profoundly affect the College.

Continuing fervent efforts begun during finals period of Fall term, the Assembly's most celebrated success was its role in reinstating the College's swimming and diving programs.

In Amit Anand '03 and Student Body Vice-President Julia Hildreth '05, the supporters of the swim team had powerful advocates who focused their energies on working out an agreement with the administration.

To less fanfare, the Assembly also gained approval for the Student Budget Advisory Committee, which will work closely in planning the budget for the fiscal year 2005.

This new committee hopes to help ease tensions between administrators and students and avoid surprising students with controversial vertical budget cuts like those the swim team experienced in the fall.

In another move that aims to increase student interaction with the administration, the Assembly passed a statement calling for students to have some voice in the selection of a young alumnus to the Board of Trustees.

Though the Assembly is still waiting for a response from the Trustees, the initiative shows a willingness on the part of the Assembly to work within the administration's established system to gain effective change.

Despite rumors that the Assembly would join Cornell's student Assembly in opposing U.S. military action in Iraq, the Assembly voted instead to make no statement for or against military action. Instead, Assembly members elected to support campus discussion of possible war, and make a donation to CARE International.

In other areas, the Assembly has encountered greater challenges. Members are still working on the College's new alcohol policy and remain in negotiations with the administration over certain contentious issues including the size of registered parties.

Distributive requirements were another topic of discussion for the Assembly, with members questioning both the practicality of the interdisciplinary requirement and suggesting the replacement the PHR distributive requirement with one called "Thought, Meaning and Value."

"It's been a really productive term," Student Body President Janos Marton '04 said, even though some "projects have been hamstrung by the budget cut climate."

Marton also said that in the future the Assembly hopes to address the wages paid to student employees of the College.