April 22, 2009

Students Elect Asa Craig ’11 To Serve on Board of Trustees

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After several weeks of chalking, handing out quarter cards and waving a flag outside Libe Café, Asa Craig ’11 has been elected as the newest undergraduate student trustee for Cornell, the Office of the Assemblies announced yesterday.
Out of the 3,423 ballots cast for the 10 candidates, Craig was ranked first on 651 of those ballots. Using the Hare-Clark system, the candidate with the least amount of votes is systematically eliminated. The eliminated candidates’ votes are then transferred to other candidates depending on the rankings of voters’ preferences. In the end, Craig defeated Raymond Mensah ’11 with a final count of 1,578 votes.
“I am very elated — it’s a great honor to be chosen by my peers and my fellow students to take on this role. … For me, it really is a great honor and I am just happy that I have been given this chance to do all that I can in this position,” said Craig, a government major in the College of Arts and Sciences from Brooklyn.
Cornell’s Board of Trustees seats 64 people, two of whom are elected students. The current student trustees are Kate Duch ‘09 and Mike Walsh, grad. The board holds ultimate control over the University and decides on its most pertinent issues, including financial aid policies.
Craig will serve as student trustee for two years and, unlike other universities which do not even allow students to serve as trustees, he will have full voting rights and attend forums and committee meetings. He will also act as the liaison between the student body and the other trustees.
During his campaign, Craig ran on a platform that advocated changes in financial policies and University transparency. He pledged to include families that are currently not covered by the University in financial aid policies, increase financial support for international students, make the University more accountable to students and support academic departments and programs during the current economic downturn.
“The financial situation is a main priority that must be focused on by the Board of Trustees. We have to enhance financial aid past the $60,000 mark and extend it to international students,” Craig said during a panel discussion prior to the election.
Craig will begin his term this summer after he has completed the necessary training for the position. He is determined to work for the greater good of the student body once the training is over.
“My first plan is definitely to train for the role and to understand exactly what I am getting myself into. I will work with the greatest student body and use my connections on the Student Assembly and the University Assembly to figure out exactly what students want to see done on campus. Literally on day one I will be working to increase our voices in the decision-making process at the University and making sure that what we want gets done and that Cornell University can continue to be the best university,” Craig said.
Craig expressed his appreciation for all the students who voted in the student trustee election.
“I want to thank everyone for getting out and letting their voices be heard. Whoever they decided to support, it was great that they voted and told all of us the issues they thought were important. So thank you to those that voted and everyone that supported me in this election,” Craig said.