WILLARD STRAIGHT HALL—Student Assembly Freshman Representative Maria Solis ‘21 is reportedly deciding between looking to identify and implement solutions that fight all forms of racism and bigotry on campus, or to lobby for a 7% increase in forks at Robert Purcell Marketplace Eatery.
“Both issues are critically and equally important to the freshman class,” said Solis. “While Cornell is hard for everyone, minorities are not getting the support they deserve for special challenges they may face. I’ve also observed firsthand RPCC run out of forks on multiple occasions—several of my constituents have already told me they’ve been forced to eat chicken with spoons.”
The silverware and racism issues would both be difficult for Solis to solve. While fostering a more inclusive and tolerant Cornell community enjoys broad support among her non-racist constituency, some may call for the Student Assembly’s funds to be spent elsewhere. If Solis wants to capture these disaffected voters when she is up for re-election, it may be more advantageous for her to focus on cutlery. However, the Cornell Dining lobby has successfully stymied most attempts in the past few years to impose more regulation on dining halls, and they are prepared to fight any attempt to limit their freedoms.
Several more tenured members on the assembly have expressed skepticism at Solis’s ability to achieve her goals. “Racism and forks are both controversial, hot-button topics that more skilled and experienced reps have tried and failed at solving in the past,” said Senior Representative Paul Cornyn ‘18. “I appreciate Maria’s spirit, but I just can’t see resolutions on increasing amounts of cutlery or resources for disadvantaged students passing in our polarized climate.”
Solis has decided that no matter which issue she pursues, she intends to talk about it as early in the next meeting as possible to earn a coveted spot at the top of the minutes email sent to all of her constituents.