February 28, 2003

Assembly and Trustee Candidate Platforms

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Students will have the opportunity to pick a new group of student leaders next Monday and Tuesday to represent them in the 2003-2004 Student Assembly (S.A.), University Assembly (U.A.) and the Board of Trustees.

There are 54 candidates running for 19 one-year terms in the S.A. Among other activities, the S.A. allocates money from the Student Activity Fee (S.A.F.) to fund various organizations and student activities.

Four seats are open for undesignated-at-large, two seats for minority liaison-at-large and one seat for international liaison-at-large. One seat is open for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, two seats for Agriculture and Life Sciences, one seat for Architecture, Art, and Planning and three seats for Arts and Sciences. There are two seats for Engineering, one seat for Human Ecology, one seat for Hotel Administration and one seat for Industrial and Labor Relations.

Four candidates are running for one coveted position as a student-elected trustee. Trustees serve a two-year term where they are full voting members of the Board of Trustees. Responsibilities range from tuition increases to searching for a new president of the University.

There are also nine candidates vying for a seat on the U.A., with only four seats open. The U.A. has authority over the policies of the departments such as the Department of Health Services.

Candidates have expressed concern over increased tuition, changes to Slope Day, preservation of the Greek system, financing for student organizations and increasing Cornell’s national prestige.

The following profiles are an attempt to provide insight not only into the platforms but also the lives of the candidates.

Student Trustee

(4 candidates, 1 position)

Diego Jiminez ’05 was born in San Salvador, El Salvador but has also lived in Guatemala, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic. He has come to Cornell to earn a degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering from the College of Engineering. Jiminez believes the diversity of the countries which he has raised in make it “very easy … to relate to a wide number of people, especially with Cornell’s widely diversified student body.” He hopes to join the S.A. in order to “make a positive change.”

New York City resident Jackie Koppell ’05 came to Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations for “it’s outstanding reputation as an academic institution” and “the countless opportunities students have to explore their interests and their passions.” She is a member of Cornell’s Synchronized Skating Team and will be competing in Nationals.

Jennifer Lee ’05, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is an applied economics and management major in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. She thinks that “it is a great opportunity to get to know the University from the other side.” She went to middle and high school with Christina Aguilera.

Gayraud Townsend ’05 is a student at the School of Industrial and Labor Relations from Washington, DC. He wishes to “be the bridge that connects the new Jeffrey Lehman administration to that of the existing students at Cornell.” In addition, Townsend has flown on Airforce 2.

University Assembly (U.A.)

(9 candidates, 4 seats)

Alissa Fagadau ’05, who calls Dallas, Texas home, chose Cornell because she was seeking “an energetic campus with an interesting and interested student body.” Fagadau, running for University Assembly with a Students for Students affiliation, said that “We all have strong opinions about Cornell … I’d like to see these opinions materialize into change.” Fagadau also started a community service program in Dallas, helping less fortunate and homeless high school drop-outs earn their Graduate Equivalency Diplomas.

Jermain Gause ’04 hails from not-so-far-away Rochester, NY. He came to Cornell “because of the first impression of the welcoming minority community at an Ivy League institution. Oh yeah, the money Cornell was offering wasn’t too shabby either. Gause is a distant relative of the R&B singer Tweet and considers himself a democrat.

Sloan Giddon ’05, from Great Neck, N.Y., is running for the S.A.. representative because he “sees a lot of things about Cornell that [he] would like to change.” “Cornell is not what it was last year at this time and it’s turning in the wrong direction,” he said. Giddon came to Cornell because it “was exactly what I was looking for in a university,” he said. Giddon, who has not political affiliation and is the only undergraduate student at Cornell with the first name “Sloan,” wants to reform Cornell transportation, improve the Campus Store and amend the Campus Code of Conduct among other things.

Elliott Klass ’05, a government manager in the College of Arts and Sciences, is from Roslyn, N.Y. Klass decided on Cornell to “fulfill personal desires academically and socially.” Klass is a democrat, and is running because he feels his “voice has not been represented in the student government and decided to be pro-active in changing Cornell to be more sensitive to the interests of people in [his] position.” Klass has also worked demolition in Manhattan for the past three summers.

Bryan Meltzer ’05 is in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations and hails from Dix Hills, N.Y. “My main reason for choosing Cornell was because at the time of my visit it was neither cold nor gray,” Meltzer said. He is running because he feels he has not been properly represented in the S.A. in the past. Meltzer has seen Mike Tyson on the street but walked the other way.

Yasmeen Turayhi ’05 came to Cornell from Chicago, Ill because though “I initially had a lot of reasons not to come to Cornell … After reading the facts that ILR undergrads get into the most top law schools, I knew immediately that Cornell was the place for me.” She said of her political affiliations, “I come from a family of Democrats and Republicans. I can’t say I’m either one at this point in my life. I disagree and agree with issues on both sides.”

Stephanie Adams ’04, Justin Zhang ’06 and Ben Rockey-Harris ’04 did not respond to The Sun’s interview requests.

Architecture, Art and Planning

(2 candidates, 1 seat)

City and Regional studies major Meghan Cunningham ’05 came to Cornell from New York City for “it’s diversity. Not only the diversity of people but also of opportunities that Cornell has to offer.” She is a student in the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning and believes “that the Assembly should not be political but should focus on issues that affect Cornell students.”

Orlando Soria ’04, a fine arts major in the College of Art, Architecture, and Planning, grew up in Yosemite National Park, California. Soria is concerned that students have a voice in the restructuring of his college in order to avoid “sacrificing any of the quality of the individual programs.” He was once interviewed by Playboy after exhibiting a piece of controversial art.

Minority Liason

(5 candidates, 2 seats)

Melissa K. Ariate ’04 hails from Fort Worth, Texas. She decided to attend Cornell because “the [School of Industrial and Labor Relations] fit my academic and career interests and I liked the feeling of community that exists throughout the university.” Ariate is running for the S.A. because she believes that “the Assembly needs to be more than individuals pursuing their individual interests,” she said. “The students need to have people on the S.A. who are interested in the needs of students.”

Brandon Ashley ’05 transferred from Arizona University because h
e didn’t “think any school can beat Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations.” Originally from Farmington, New Mexico, Ashley is running for S.A. because he believes “our campus government needs a kick-start and I am the person to give the kick-start.”

Toby Lewis ’05, an applied economics and management major, is from Far Rockaway, N.Y. Lewis chose Cornell for its “incredibly diverse array of majors.” Lewis was born with 11 fingers. The extra finger was surgically removed when he was an infant.

Nate Shinagawa ’05, a sociology major in the College of Arts and Sciences, wants to be an S.A. member in order to build “relationships and connections to make this school a stronger, better place.” He likes to free-style on the acoustic guitar “as funny as that may sound,” Shinagawa said.

Edward Wilson ’04 did not respond to The Sun’s interview requests.

International Liason

(5 candidates, 1 seat)

Youngro Lee ’04 is from Taejon, South Korea and hopes to join the S.A. to “cause enough stir to bring about the necessary changes, and in the process, help fellow international students let their voices be heard.” As for his experience at the University, he “won’t ever trade away a single moment.”

Californian Tim Lim ’06 is in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. “I feel like the S.A. voices the concerns and opinions of students and I want to do whatever I can to make sure that students are represented,” Lim said. Lim, a Democrat, recently ran for membership director of the College Democrats of America.

Darren Rumack ’04 came to Cornell from Toronto, Ontario because he “wanted an opportunity to study at one of the best schools in the world.” Rumack is running because he believes that “the S.A. can accomplish a lot in the hand of people who truly believe in the institution, and who seeks to use it for the common good.” Rumack, running on the Real Needs Coalition platform, is also a “rabid member of the Lynah faithful.”

Mario Salazar ’06, who hails from Orange County, Calif., came to Cornell “because it’s one of the best schools in the world.” He considers himself a Democrat and is running for Student Assembly “because like Tupac said, ‘We need to start making changes.'” Salazar is also the president of the Cornell Filipino Association.

Lisa Van Eyndhoven ’04 did not respond to The Sun’s interview requests.

Industrial and Labor Relations

(2 candidates, 1 seat)

Josh Jacobs ’06 came to the School of Industrial and Labor Relations from West Orange, New Jersey because at Cornell “students have good relationships with each other” and “there is a vibrant social life on campus.” He also knows how to speak Corsican.

Jason Jendrewski ’05, from Wading River, N.Y., came to Cornell because of its “outstanding reputation, demand for academic excellence, strong student involvement, rolling hills and beautiful scenic campus.” Jendrewski is running for the S.A. seat because he believes there is “tremendous potential for next year’s Student Assembly to function as a true representative body for the students.” Running as part of an independent group, Students for Students, Jendrewiski is also a self-proclaimed “karaoke legend.”


(10 candidates, 4 seats)

San Franciscan Steve Blake ’05 is a student in the College of Arts and Sciences. “In serving on the S.A. this year as well as President of the Class of 2005, I have found my ability to do my job effectively hindered by the current nature of the S.A. … I am running to change the S.A., to make it a more effective advocate for student interests,” Blake said.

Josh Bronstein ’05 is a student in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations and calls East Brunswick, New Jersey home. He is concerned about issues such as “campus safety, funding for student groups, and of course preserving an un-catered Slope.”

Laura London ’05, a student at the School of Industrial and Labor Relations, is from Long Beach, New York. She has been working since she was 14, an experience which has opened her eyes “to a world of social injustice and inequality.” She wants “be the motivated leader this campus needs” and change the S.A. from a “political playground for people who want to build their resumes.”

Cory Sinclair ’04, a psychology major from Cape Cod, Mass. is running for the undesignated S.A. seat because he “wants to reach out to all members of the student body.” “I am not a politician and I do not need to boost my resume,” Sinclair said. “I am running because I want to have an impact on Cornell during my senior year and I want to be a voice for the student body.”

For native Ithacan Mike Lepage ’05, Cornell had everything he wanted, “great academics, great social life, and perfect size.” He is a history major in the College of Arts and Sciences and believes that “the current S.A. leadership focuses way too much on issues unrelated to Cornell student life.” Lepage’s claim to political fame is his ability to recite the names of all 43 presidents in 18 seconds.

Lauren Martinez ’05, originally from Poughkeepsie, New York, is studying in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations and is glad to “take part in the Ivy League tradition and get the most out of my undergraduate experience.” She is a distant relative of Jennifer Lopez.

Brennan Veys ’06 of Naperville, Ill. is in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. Veys is running because he “dislikes the highly politicized nature of the current S.A.” Veys plays club soccer and is a member of Students for Students.

Geoff Zoref ’04, Sai Pidatala ’04 and Jennifer Hoos ’04 did not respond to The Sun’s interview requests.

Lebian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning

(3 candidates, 1 seat)

Christopher Dial ’04 came to Cornell from Salt Lake City, Utah because of the vast number of opportunities available. “I knew that coming to Cornell was my destiny even though I am not now majoring in any of the things that I first discovered Cornell through,” he said.

Michael E. Hint ’06 is studying at the School of Industrial and Labor Relations and currently works for Chemistry Computing Support. He enjoys Cornell for its “nice match of rural and urban” character and its proximity to his home in Perry, New York. Hint is a member of the Real Needs coalition and believes that “The Contract with Cornell is a benchmark for my ideas.”

Erica Kagan ’05, of Dix Hills, New York, is a policy analysis and management major at the College of Human Ecology. She is a sister at Kappa Delta Sorority and hopes to use her previous knowledge of S.A. to help set a student activity fee for this year.

Arts and Sciences

(7 candidates, 3 seats)

Ross Blankenship ’05 wants to give up a big howdy from Dallas, Texas. He decided to leave the warmth of the Southwest to come to Ithaca because “Cornell offers the best combination of academics and athletics. Where else would students camp out for days studying in the library for prelims or sleep in the gym for hockey tickets?” When Blankenship was 17 years-old, he ran an FM radio station.

Julia Levy ’05 is a government major in the College of Arts and Sciences from Marietta, Georgia. She has been involved in broadcast journalism through a program called CNN Student Bureau, and has interviewed major political figures such as Newt Gingrich and former Secretary of Education Richard Riley.

Nick Linder ’05, who is majoring in government and economics in the College of Arts and Sciences, feels “welcomed and in
spired by Cornell” after his first two years of attendance. Lindner, who hails from Indianapolis, Illinois, has decided to run for S.A. in order to put “students and student issues first.” In the summer of 2004, he will embark on a 63 ” bike trip for Push America in order to raise money for people with disabilities.

Ben Lowe ’04, government major in the College of Arts and Sciences is from San Rafael, Calif. He is running for S.A. to “protect valuable services and traditions Cornell students enjoy, such as protecting funding for student groups.” Lowe is currently the vice-chair of public relations on the SAFC, is a member of the Hangovers and a Democrat.

Stuti Mandala ’04 is an economics major in the College of Arts and Sciences. She is an international student who was raised both in India and the Philippines. She has acted in the past as Vice President of Finance for the S.A. and found the experience to be “tremendously rewarding.”

Dena Ruebusch ’04 came to Cornell from Portland, Oregon to experience an East coast atmosphere and because she sought “a top education at a larger school.” In addition to majoring in history and government in the College of Arts and Sciences, she is also a belly dancer.

Jamie Weinstein ’06, a native of Palm Beach Gardens, Fl. is currently an undeclared major. Weinstein came to Cornell because he “became enamored with not only with the great tradition Cornell embodies, but the students, faculty and opportunities its walls contain.” Weinstein would like to protect Greek autonomy and improve Cornell dining among other things.

Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS)

(7 candidates, 2 seats)

Ari Epstein ’04, a biological sciences student in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is from Binghamton, N.Y. He wants to “make sure that the sweeping reforms currently proposed within the Student Activities Finance Commission (SAFC) are carried out competently so that student groups can receive their funding in the most efficient, fairest manner possible.”

Ashley Higgins ’06, a competitive horseback rider from Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey, is running for Student Assembly because she wants to be “a voice for the students on this campus.” She is an Applied Economics and Management major in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

David Skolnik ’05, an applied economics and management major, hails from Plainview, New York. Skolnik is running for the S.A. because “for far too long, political games have entangled our Student Assembly, which have choked the Assembly’s potential to make campus change,” he said. Skolnik associates himself with the Independent Party and is also the secretary of Chi Psi fraternity.

Katherine McLean ’05, a communications and applied economics and management double major from Los Angeles, Calif. chose to come to Cornell “because working with the best helps you achieve your personal best.” McLean is running for the S.A. seat to “participate in and improve the University experience for the most important part of the University: the students.” McLean, who affiliates herself with the Real Needs Coalition, is also a die hard football fan. “You’d never be able to pry me away from Monday Night Football,” she said.

Kamel Patel ’04, a pre-medical biology student in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, transferred to Cornell from Syracuse University and wants to make progress that previous student assemblies have not been successful with. He wants “to see changes at Cornell, regardless of who wins these elections.”

Krysten Tendy ’06 is a Natural Resources major from Yorktown, NY. Tendy “loves spending time outdoors and I love to fish!” She is running for SA because she wants “to accurately represent the issues and concerns of the Cornell students and turn the SA into what it actually should be — the representative voice of the student body.”

Josh Katcher ’06 did not respond to The Sun’s interview requests.

Human Ecology

(4 candidates, 1 seat)

Michelle Fernandes ’06 is a policy analysis and management major in the College of Human Ecology. She is experienced in student government and has worked on the New York Senatorial campaign and New York City’s mayoral campaign. A prior resident of Little Neck, New York, she prides herself “on being able to work well with both students and the Administration.”

Fred Isquith ’04, from New York, N.Y., came to Cornell because “of the wide variety of academic and social experiences it offered.” Isquith, a Democrat, is running for the Student Assembly “first and foremost to help the student and get the true student voice heard,” he said. Isquith, who was a January freshman, does not believe Cornell allows the College of Human Ecology to flourish.

Rachel Pokorney ’06 is a Human Ecology student majoring in the field of human biology, health, and society. Originally from the small town of Sharpsville, Pennsylvania, she enjoys her college because it makes the University seem “smaller and more personal.” If elected, she hopes to “gear [the student assembly’s] actions and decisions toward the student body.”

Coming from Woodbury, New York, Ari Stern ’05 is attending the College of Human Ecology and majoring in policy analysis and management. He was “appalled during the Spring semester of last year, when the S.A. did nothing to reduce the number of bias incidents that occurred on campus.” Last year he interviewed Michael Jordan as a special correspondent to Yedihot Aharonot, a major daily Israeli newspaper written in Hebrew.

Hotel Administration

(4 candidates, 1 seat)

Jessica Feldstein ’05 hails from Boston, Massachusetts and has come to Cornell to study at the School of Hotel Administration. By running for the S.A., she seeks to “improve college life at Cornell by addressing and resolving student issues that are continually overlooked by the current S.A. representatives.”

Erica Finkelson ’06 is a student at the School of Hotel Administration who is from Linwood, New Jersey. She wants “to make a difference on campus” and has sung the national anthem at the U.S. Tennis Open for 3 years.

Daniel L. Jackson ’04, a student in the School of Hotel Administration from Salem, Oregon, has enrolled in Cornell “for the variety of fields that can be pursued and the justified reputation of the Hotel School as the number one school in the hospitality field.” He is a political independent who has “never left a casino at a loss.”

Lindsay Rosenthal ’05 did not respond to The Sun’s interview requests.


(5 candidates, 2 seats)

Erik Gilje ’04 has come to Cornell from Norman, Oklahoma seeking a degree in operations research and industrial engineering from the College of Engineering. He wants “to make positive, concrete differences in student’s lives” through the S.A.

Lisa Minich ’06, a computer science major, hails from Nashua, N.H. Minich came to Cornell because she was “looking for a diverse school that had a lot to offer academically and was a place where [she] felt at home.” “Cornell proved to be the perfect fit and with Cornell’s hockey team, how could I resist coming here?,” she asked.

Scott Kramer ’06, a biological engineering major from East Brunswick, N.J., wants to “represent the engineers at Cornell and ensure that [their] voice is heard.” Kramer came to Cornell because of “the top-ranked engineering school and because of its superiority in so many fields.” Kramer, who affiliates himself with the Democratic party, also enjoys public speaking and debating.” “I love music, and I can play both the piano and the drums,” K
ramer said.

Nicholas Choe ’05 and David Binette ’05 did not respond to The Sun’s interview requests.

Archived article by Sun Staff