- About Us
- Review Committees
- Operational Committees
- Student Interest Committees
- Other Committees
- Student Resources
Student Governance History
History of Student Governance at Cornell University
By Corey Ryan Earle
Cornell has long prided itself on its history of student self-governance, embodied today by the Student Assembly and its committees. Cornell’s first substantial university-wide student government was the Student Council, founded in 1915. Its goal was “to unite more closely the organs of undergraduate interest and activities – in order that undergraduate affairs may be controlled in a more efficient manner with a wholesome co-operative spirit.”
The Student Council was replaced by the Executive Board of Student Government in the late 1950s, which made a number of major policy decisions, including abolishing compulsory ROTC for men, abolishing senior curfews, and approving a new student code of conduct. However, decisions by the board could be overruled by the Faculty Committee on Student Affairs, leading to a sense of powerlessness and widespread apathy. Members of the Student Government voted the organization out of existence in 1968. A Cornell Student Association was formed in the aftermath, which established a commission to examine student governance before abolishing itself at its fourth meeting. The absence of student government was responsible in part for the unrest and activism that led to the Willard Straight Hall takeover in April 1969.
In response, the University Senate was created in 1970, with over 100 members representing the faculty, students, alumni, and staff. Considered one of the most powerful campus governments in the country, it had approval power over changes in operating budgets or department programs involving more than $3,000. However, because of its unwieldy size and student apathy, the Senate was replaced by a 16-person Campus Council in 1977, which was then replaced by the current Student Assembly, Employee Assembly, University Assembly, and Faculty Senate in 1981. The Graduate & Professional Student Assembly was added in 1993.
Since 1981, the Student Assembly has evolved and changed to better represent the voice of undergraduates at Cornell. The original structure with two co-speakers changed to a single president in 1989. In 2009, the presidency was popularly elected by the student body instead of internally for the first time.
Who's OnlineThere are no users currently online
What’s Being Talked About?104 West! 626 AAP Academic Calendar Academic term Agenda Akwe:kon Alcohol Architecture Art black By line Community Cornell Cinema Cornell University Debate Diversity Education Funding Housing Human Ecology Ice Cream Inclusion Intercultural Center Joe Burke LGBT Life Outreach Planning Renee Alexander report Residential ResLife Review RSC Safety Sigma-Aldrich Social Justice Requirement Student Student society Sustainability Transfer Transparency Ujamaa Women's Resource Center