April 8, 2008

Graduate Students Face Off for Student Trustee Seat

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As the political tension across the country heightens before the 2008 presidential election, a similar sentiment is spreading across Cornell as four graduate students vie for one of the most influential positions on campus: a seat on the Board of Trustees.
Of the 64 members of the Board, two are students — one graduate and one undergraduate. Serving as full voting members of the Board, the students are able to meet, debate and discuss Cornell issues with all of the University’s trustees at their periodic meetings. Kate Duch ’09 and Mao Ye grad are currently the two student members of the Board.
Student trustees serve a two-year term, and this year, Ye’s is over in June. The four candidates are running for his spot are Shawn Kong grad, Xiaoxiao Li grad, Whitney Patross law ’10 and Mike Walsh grad. Duch will be on the Board until next June.
According to Ye, a student trustee serves as “a liaison between students and the Board.” He feels his role was not only to represent students, but also to represent “Cornell as a whole.”
As Cornell is one of a few universities in the country that has allotted seats on its trustee board to students, Ye emphasized, “It is important for Cornell students to have a voice on the Board.”
Duch, who was elected last spring, said that the most memorable part of her job has been “working with a group of people who are so dedicated to Cornell.” She described her experience as “very meaningful,” highlighting projects she has worked on including making course evaluations public and improving the design of Collegetown.