April 18, 2016


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This is a big day for voting at Cornell.

First, every Cornell student has the chance to vote for the next Graduate/Professional Student Trustee today here. Polls are open until 10 a.m. on Wednesday, April 20.

There are four excellent candidates for the position. I am confident that whoever wins will be a thoughtful trustee who brings an important student viewpoint to Cornell’s Board.  To find out more about the candidates — Dara Brown, Amy Molitoris, Nate Rogers and Tiffany St. Bernard — check out their candidate profiles here.

Whether you are an undergraduate, graduate, or professional student, I encourage you to vote.  Your next student trustee will be part of the body that is charged with “supreme control” over the University, and will have influence over significant opportunities and challenges. The next student trustee may address issues such as housing, carbon neutrality, communications, labor and workforce practices, diversity and inclusion, programmatic restructuring, campus safety, rising tuition, and all while helping lead Cornell through a period of transition.

Once you’ve voted in that very important election, if you are a registered New York voter you also have the chance to vote for the next President of the United States in the New York Primary!  Maybe you’ve heard a little more about this election…

In Ithaca, polls are open from 12 p.m. – 9 p.m.  To find your polling place, visit this website.

As New Yorkers, we don’t often have opportunities to cast ballots in close races.  Today is different, and I encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity to vote to help select the next Democratic or Republican nominee for president.

Another benefit of being in the midst of an important election is that the candidates and their surrogates actually visit where you live. Yesterday morning, I went to hear Chelsea Clinton speak in Ithaca. In true Ithaca fashion, there were a number of protesters in attendance. Chelsea recognized the protestors’ passion about their issues, and encouraged them to create the change they desired by running for office and voting in elections from the local level up to the federal level.
Whatever your issues or politics, I encourage you to vote in the Student Trustee and Presidential Primary today. If you feel strongly about an issue at Cornell or a national political issue, voting is a way to give action to your beliefs and to participate in your own system of governance. Selecting your chosen representative is an important way to shape the future of the institution that governs you.

Annie O’Toole is the graduate student-elected trustee. She can be reached at  [email protected]. Trustee Viewpoint appears on alternate Tuesdays this semester.