April 11, 2016

Candidates for Student Trustee Share Platforms

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Four graduate and professional students are vying to become the next student trustee on Cornell’s board in this year’s election.

Although a graduate or professional student will be elected this year, all students can vote in the election, according to a University press release.

Voting will begin at 8 a.m. on Monday and end at 10 a.m. on Wednesday.

Dara Brown grad

Brown said she hopes to encourage a more inclusive campus culture by addressing unconscious biases and improve campus safety by increasing support of existing programming.

Brown added that she will work to preserve the unique identities of the individual schools combined in the new College of Business.

As an undergraduate at Cornell, Brown was the College of Arts and Sciences Representative and Women’s Issues Committee chair on the Student Assembly. Brown said her experience on the S.A. has increased her awareness of how to prevent sexual assault and discrimination on campus.

“As an undergrad, in terms of campus safety, my focus was geared towards bystander prevention. Recent meetings with the Cornell University Police have lead me to believe that increased advocacy of the SHARE program and funding for late night transportation services may be equally effective avenues for increasing campus safety,” she said.

Amy Molitoris grad

Molitoris said her top three priorities as student trustee will be to work with the University to find solutions to the ever-increasing student loan debt, remain committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2035 and ensure the University becomes a fair chance employer.

The board should advocate for Cornell to join the ‘ban the box’ initiative — removing a question concerning criminal convictions from its job applications in order to remove bias against applicants with a criminal history — according to Molitoris.

Molitoris added that she hopes to improve the board’s communication with Cornell’s constituent assemblies and ensure that its decisions are democratic.

“Although several specific issues should and need to be addressed by the board, my crowning achievements as a trustee would be ensuring that undergraduate, graduate and professional students voices are heard and advocating for issues my constituencies deem important,” she said.

Molitoris also represented the College of Veterinary Medicine on the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly this year, according to the University.

Nathaniel Rogers grad

Rogers — who has served as Vice President for Operations of the GPSA as well as GPSA Liaison to the Faculty Senate — said he will push the board to address the lack of affordable housing in Collegetown and surrounding neighborhoods.

“[The] Cornell enrollment really determines the demand for Collegetown housing, and we’ve been underfunding and understaffing our support for off-campus living for years,” he said.

He added that he hopes to develop an opt-in student legal service that will reduce bad leases and questionable practices by landlords.

Rogers said he believes his record of “working hard and getting things done” will be useful to him as a student-elected trustee.

“I’m not intimidated by the administration or the trustees, and won’t hesitate to cast a vote 63-1 if that’s what I truly think is the right thing to do,” he said.

Tiffany St. Bernard grad

St. Bernard said she hopes to improve campus climate through strong diversity and inclusion initiatives, increase safe and affordable housing and foster campus-wide engagement through transparent dialogues among students, faculty and administration.

As chair of the GPSA Diversity and International Committee, St. Bernard said she hosted a dinner last semester enabling members of the Cornell community to discuss issues on campus.

“This dinner did not only bring to light diversity and inclusion related issues, it also provided an environment that facilitated engagement and communication across the University,” she said. “If elected as your Student Trustee, I hope to continue these efforts, among many others.”