March 9, 2014

EDITORIAL: Sarah Balik ’15 for Student Assembly President

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Of the two qualified candidates running for Student Assembly President, we believe Sarah Balik ’15 has the necessary past experience, has created a well-thought out plan for the future and possesses the skills required to effectively lead the S.A. for the next term.

As the current Executive Vice President, Balik has played a large leadership role in the decisions of the S.A. She also served the student body through her roles as the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences representative and the chair of the Environmental Committee. She has worked on and passed resolutions on a multitude of topics such as student safety, sustainability, funding and transparency between the S.A. and students.

During her time on the S.A., Balik has continued to improve the student body’s health and safety with initiatives such as the Blue Light Safety Survey that she cosponsored with Student Trustee Ross Gitlin ’15, as well as extensive work with the Council on Sexual Violence Prevention with Cornell Police and Gannett Health Services.

She has also been able to speak up against controversial decisions, providing an opinion that she believes represents the best interests of the entire student body and not just the concerned party at hand. She partnered with KyotoNOW! to encourage the University to divest from direct holdings in the fossil fuels industry by 2020. She also co-sponsored a resolution with current Vice President of Finance for the S.A. Geoffrey Block ’14 to release the exam schedule earlier, while adhering to the policy of conflicts with exams.

If Balik is elected president, we believe that she will follow through on her proposed ideas as stated in her platform and will continue to push the S.A. forward. We support Balik’s past work to tackle issues such as campus safety and student health and are excited to see what the S.A. would look like under her guidance.

Though Thaddeus Talbot ’15 has proposed interesting ideas in his platform and has done extensive work with the multicultural community in the past, we believe that Talbot does not have the experience or the internal knowledge of the S.A. that Balik does. We commend him for his work and believe that he will make a valuable member of the S.A.

Our one reservation about Balik is that she has been an active member of the Assembly, which has had internal flaws in the past, but we hope that she will be able to push beyond its former practices.

We believe that Balik’s skills, passion for the job and experience will not only improve the S.A., but also our campus and community far beyond what her predecessors have been able to accomplish.

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