On April 10th, the Cornell University Student Assembly (SA) shut down the introduction of Resolution 72 asking Cornell University to divest from 6 companies profiting from the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine. 5 of the 6 companies are American and one Isreali.
One week later, April 17th , 2014 over 100 students marched to take over the Student Assembly. Angered by the blatant attempt of silencing any kind of criticism of the Israeli government, students linked this last outrageous decision of the institutional body (the SA) to a series of actions which the SA had taken in the past. Realizing that there is a need of taking actions to make sure that student voices have an impact on decision made on campus. The Student Assembly currently works as a bureaucratic body which helps the administration running the campus instead of confronting it when the administration is making decision against students’ will and interest.
On April 17th students learned how powerful they can be if they are united.
On April 25th students presented a list of demands to the Cornell administration:
1) The passage of Resolution 14 is respected and the University continue to subsidize first-year and transfer bus passes. Furthermore, the University does not pay for this by cutting other important aid funds that benefit students and wage workers. Additionally, the University agrees to create a budget plan—ready by next Fall—to phase in subsidized bus passes for all students.
2) The University increases its contribution to the city as per the request of Mayor Myrick.
3) The University institutes a tuition freeze immediately.
4) The University makes its investments and financial documents transparent and accessible to the student body and other interested parties.
5) The University cut its ties to VF Corporation, which produces Jansport, for their refusal to sign the Bangladesh accords and maintain basic safety measures for garment workers.
6) The University recognizes graduate student employees’ right to worker’s compensation, starting immediately through redress of Richard Pampuro’s case following a critical lab accident. The University reverses the unilateral decision to create a pay hierarchy between RAs and TAs.
7) Students have the right to organize and make collective demands of the university outside of the Shared Governance system, which is only one channel available to the Cornell community and has severe limitations, particularly for minority opinions and underrepresented students.
8) Cornell reinstates the use of Omniride passes on the Tioga bus line for those employees who do not live within Tompkins county but cannot afford nor want to drive to work each day.
The struggle for student empowerment continues now as students are preparing a celebration of May Day, a celebration in struggle.
Cornell SJP fully support the demands of the coalition formed on April 17th, embracing the call for action on Thursday May 1st: