Nearly 100 Cornell student groups must prove they are trying to be more 'diverse' before they get funding

Campus Reform Reporter

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  • Groups specifically listed in United Student Body resolution include include racial and ethnic organizations, gay and lesbian organizations, and religious organizations.
  • The resolution stresses the importance of “making sure the demographic makeup of the student organization reflects the diversity of the student body.”
  • More than 100 student groups at Cornell University now must prove they are taking steps to be more “diverse” — such as trying to convince minorities to join — before they can get funding from the school’s Student Assembly (SA) Finance Commission.

    The groups must submit an adequate "Diversity and Inclusion Plan" to prove that they are meeting “outreach requirements” by Fall 2014 order to receive funding for that academic year, SA President Ulysses Smith told Campus Reform earlier this week.

    “The primary aim of the document, it seems to me like when they’re asking specifically for reaching out to students of certain ethnicities or sexual orientations, it seems to me kind of like they’re separating them for being different from the rest of students.”   

    SA member Brandon Thompson said he did not agree with the resolution because it focuses on only “physical” and not “intellectual” diversity.

    “Why not student athletes, or the astronomy club or Republicans or Democrats?” he asked.

    “The primary aim of the document, it seems to me like when they’re asking specifically for reaching out to students of certain ethnicities or sexual orientations, it seems to me kind of like they’re separating them for being different from the rest of students.”

    The groups specifically listed on the United Student Body resolution, an updated version of which was obtained by Campus Reform, are racial and ethnic organizations, gay and lesbian organizations, and religious organizations.

    The resolution stresses the importance of “making sure the demographic makeup of the student organization reflects the diversity of the student body.”

    But Thompson said he also did not believe such a resolution was necessary because these groups were not being singled out on campus.

    Smith, who authored both the original resolution and its recent update, disagreed.

    “Cornell had a pretty rough last few years in terms of the amount of bias incidents, a lot of pretty bad headlines,” he said. “A lot of people felt like they weren’t welcome on campus.”

    The resolution referenced a campus survey in which 10 percent of students said they “often felt out of place or that they did not fit in on campus.”

    Last year, Student Assembly (SA) had required approximately 50 groups to submit a report by the spring semester in order to receive additional funding.

    With the new update, those 50 — along with an additional 40 — must submit the reports at the beginning of the semester, before receiving any funding at all.

    The plans must consist of three different ways the school plans to increase the "diversity" of the group.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @kctimpf

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