March 1, 2010

For President of the Student Assembly…

Print More


Over the past several months, this space has been used to decry the ineffectiveness of the Student Assembly. Whether it is a useless attempt to make the swim test optional, or a meeting wasted by the introduction of resolutions focused solely on subtle changes to the S.A. charter, the Assembly has long been plagued by ineffectiveness. Just this year, the S.A. has passed more than 50 resolutions, with few real results.

As students vote for the next S.A. President today and tomorrow, it’s important to emphasize effectiveness over complacency, and innovation over the status quo.

Andrew Brokman, our choice for S.A. President, has consistently fought to be heard through the often debilitating mess that is campus government. He has cut through institutional and bureaucratic constraints to initiate meaningful campus policy.

Brokman has an intimate knowledge of both the administrative functions of Cornell and how the issues taken up by the Assembly fit into that institutional structure. Brokman has played an active role in authoring legislation in two campus governing bodies. As a member of both the S.A. and University Assembly, Brokman has demonstrated that he is willing and able to effectively respond to his constituents’ concerns. In his role as S.A. transfer representative, he worked closely with administrators on transfer issues. This effort produced substantive changes, like an increase in programming for transfer orientation and the removal of median grades from transfer students’ transcripts.

While serving on the U.A., Brokman worked persistently and diligently to close a glaring hole in the Campus Code of Conduct with respect to harmful discrimination and harassment on campus. After his original anti-discrimination resolution was essentially rejected by President David Skorton, he continued the fight against discrimination, narrowing the focus of the resolution and collaborating on a compromise.

In his latest stint as an S.A. member, Brokman continued to champion the fight against discrimination. Although we’ve articulated several concerns about the current version of Resolution 44, Brokman’s ability pass his legislation in just a few short weeks was impressive; we hope it is indicative of the consensus-building he will do as president.

Brokman has a solid grasp of some of the issues facing the Student Assembly. It was refreshing to note this statement on his website: “I do not care if the S.A. only passes 10 resolutions during my term, as long as every one of those resolutions has a tangible effect on our student life.” We fully subscribe to this notion that the S.A. works best when its resolutions stay within the bounds of its authority and focus on achievable goals.

He has proposed forming an Independent Judicial Committee to check the power of the S.A.’s Executive Committee, guard against conflicts of interest and serve as an appellate body for funding requests. This would be a welcome reform that would improve transparency in the Assembly’s operations. In addition, he has pledged to overhaul the SAFC funding system.

Brokman is a strong personality who will bring new energy and tenacity to the S.A. He has proven that he can stand up to University officials and advocate for student interests. He will inject the S.A. with a persistence and vigor that, when combined with his proven ability to work with administrators, will cultivate a strong student voice.