March 3, 2013

EDITORIAL: Melissa Lukasiewicz for Student Assembly Vice President

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Of the four qualified candidates in the race for Student Assembly Executive Vice President, we believe Melissa Lukasiewicz ’14 most exhibits the requisite skills, experience and ambition for the job. The Executive Vice President is primarily an internal officer, tasked with carrying out managerial responsibilities within the organization and working to ensure that S.A. initiatives move forward with efficiency. Lukasiewicz, who served as Vice President of Internal Operations over the past year and as Chair of the University Assembly before that, has demonstrated that she has the experience necessary to fulfill that role.

Lukasiewicz spent the past year helping to manage the S.A.’s executive board and overseeing members of the assembly in their work on various initiatives. The legislation she has spearheaded aligns well with the mission of her desired position. She revitalized the S.A. Staffing Committee, whose function is to ensure that committees within the assembly are fully and diversely staffed. Even more compellingly, Lukasiewicz co-sponsored a resolution with current Executive Vice President John Mueller ’13 last month that aims to “increas[e] member accountability through a revised initiative tracker.” Finding new and effective ways to ensure our student representatives do not shirk their responsibilities is precisely the role of the Executive Vice President.

However, we feel that we must also acknowledge reservations we have had about Lukasiewicz’s judgment in the past. Her decision-making during the S.A. elections last year was undoubtedly questionable. But we believe she exhibited grace in the aftermath, making amends through her persistent and valuable work for the S.A. We do not believe one mistake made a year ago should outweigh Lukasiewicz’s ability and willingness to fight for her constituents.

Fellow S.A. representatives have lauded Lukasiewicz’s tenacity in advocating on behalf of students. Although the Executive Vice President is less involved than other S.A. members in pushing campus-wide initiatives, they must still be passionate about and dedicated to making a difference in the Cornell community. While other candidates have shown these qualities — perhaps even more so than Lukasiewicz — we believe she can offer the best balance between advocacy and internal management of the S.A. Her experience, accomplishments and dedication to student governance over the past two years make us confident that she will live up to the expectations of Executive Vice President.