Every organization has some underlying philosophy, explicit or otherwise, for both its creation and cohesion. In particular, UPA was founded on the vision not only of an alternative Cornellian network, but also as an activist channel for its members. In both planning and executing drives for social and political change, a set of guiding principles is invaluable.
In the context of UPA, principles should serve at least four purposes:
Thus we propose the following set of principles for our organization:
We believe that our organization will be strong and vital to the extent that we adhere to democratic and participatory forms of decision-making.
Formal Consensus as a decision-making system best fulfills the democratic ideal as a tested, non-violent, cooperative, and solution-oriented process.
UPA members are committed to social and economic justice at all levels of society and throughout all of our institutions. In turn, justice, fairness, and responsibility can best be ensured by accountability to one's peers and community.
Internally, any member or groups of members acting with the trust of the larger UPA community must do so in good faith, providing information on their activity as requested or as is appropriate (for instance, any UPA media publicity should accurately reflect UPA's goals, philosophy, etc.)
We also see a serious need for greater accountability from the Cornell administration to its students, staff, faculty, and local community. UPA will pressure our alma mater's administration to consider any detrimental impact of their decisions on the ultimate welfare of the university and its constituents.
In the spirit of our alma mater's motto, faculty and students should be free to pursue whatever lines of inquiry inspire them. Conversely, educational opportunities should remain open to all willing and able students.
We also believe that scholarship should be free from undue influences and stand as bastions of intellectual integrity in society. Ultimately, scholarship should serve the wider community that supports it - for the vast majority of studies could benefit a more just and democratic society, if so directed.