September 27, 2000

Low Turnout for S.A. Candidate Forum

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Student Assembly (S.A.) candidates vying for the New Student-At-Large seats and for the open College of Architecture, Art, and Planning (AAP) Representative seat met in Anabel Taylor Hall for a Candidate’s Forum yesterday.

Though the forum was billed as a way to meet the candidates, only six students attended the forum, besides those actually running for positions.

“It’s hard to get to something like this,” candidate Scott Moffat ’04 said.

The candidates used the opportunity to voice their opinions and express their reasons for running.

“I think this is a good way for us to meet each other,” candidate Michael Sellman ’04 said.

Moderator Josh Halpern ’01 advised the candidates to “just tell the truth … say what you think,” he said. “These are not big issues, they’re not technical.”

The candidates discussed issues ranging from dining to dorms, from better communication among new students to the Freshman Writing Seminar requirement.

Temporary housing and meal plan were two of the biggest issues at the forum.

“I have a lot of friends in temporary housing and they hate it,” Moffat said.

Many candidates also addressed student apathy towards the S.A. and its role on campus.

“I don’t really think people know what the S.A. is, and I think that needs to change,” Michael Cohen ’04 said.

When asked why they were running, many responded as Cory Sinclair ’04 did: “Communication with the S.A. is a problem. Students should know who they can go to in order to voice their concerns.”

Current S.A. members also helped the candidates to learn about the University, responding to the candidate’s concerns by informing the candidates about the Cornell’s current policies regarding dining and other issues that they debated.

The three students running for the architecture college seat stressed, as Meghan Dubyak ’04 said, “integrating [the college] into the Cornell community.” They discussed making it easier for all Cornell students to enroll in architecture college classes.

Michael Wacht ’02 added that many students have a inaccurate impression of architecture students. He said the reaction he often gets when telling another student that he is in the architecture college is “Oh, you’re one of those. What are you doing outside of the building?”

Halpern ended the meeting by encouraging the candidates to stay involved even if they didn’t win one of the five open positions.

“Just because a candidate doesn’t win an election doesn’t mean [their] idea has to die,” he said.

Archived article by Maggie Frank