Adrian Boteanu / Sun File Photo

Members of the Student Assembly meet weekly in the Memorial Room, in Willard Straight Hall. Thursday's meeting covered potential issues during concurrent elections between the Student Assembly and student-elected trustees.

April 13, 2017

S.A. Special Elections Results Announced

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Results in the special election to elect the College of Architecture, Art and Planning representative and First Generation At-Large representative were announced Thursday.

Jaelle Sanon ’19 will be the next First Generation Student Liaison At-Large, after winning by a count of 416 to 325 votes for Debbie Nyakaru ’20 and 226 for Jesus Ruiz ’20.

Sanon said her main goal will be to implement the first generation student resource center presented to the First Generation Student union last month, a center likely to be located in Barnes Hall.

“This center will provide resources students need to navigate Cornell as first generation students and we have the full support of Vice President Ryan Lombardi for the proposal,” Sanon said. “It’s going to be my priority and something I hope will be accomplished by next year [or] by my senior year.”

In addition to the resource center, Sanon said she will be working to create a web-based first generation student guide — a project she has been working on with two engineering students.

“The website would highlight how to get access to the lending library, information about professional development and help guide students through the colleges and majors with greater concentrations of first generation students,” Sanon said.

Sanon said she would also work with faculty and staff to organize a first generation student day, where faculty who were once first-generation college students would wear shirts that invite students to ask them about their experiences.

“It’s important to help students to see first-generation college students do amazing things and be a Cornell professor,” Sanon said.

To Sanon, this would address some of the challenges she might face to “highlight the first generation identity.”

“By talking about it more we’re going to help people identify that they’re first-gen,” she said. “It will be a challenge and a goal to tap into different organizations and different people to help recognize who is first gen and have big meetings with them.”

Sanon said she hopes to be continually receptive to the needs of the broader Cornell community.

“I’m very grateful for everyone that’s been supporting me and I’d like to be held accountable if I’m not working to serve the first-generation community,” she said. “Anyone is welcome to check me on that and contact me, tell me how to vote, tell me how to do my job.”

Alec James ’18 defeated Grace Park ’18 as AAP representative by a count of 119 to 45 votes.

James said Hannah Reichel ’17, the previous AAP representative, left “big shoes to fill,” adding that he hopes to continue the changes she has brought to the college in her term, including the formation of a unified student body within the college.

“Hannah did a really great job bringing this organization to AAP — it was a political structure that wasn’t in existence before,” James said. “There had been very little consensus and communication and collaboration between the three majors.”

James said he plans to improve the relationships between students and the administration and between the three majors in the college.

“I want to fortify some of the weaknesses in the structure and ultimately unify architecture and planning in a way that empowers students to make their own decisions,” he said.

In addition to organizing students, James said he hopes to create a comprehensive plan for AAP with the support of the assembly, continuing what the representatives have started this year by identifying long-term policies students want to prioritize for the University.

“Surveys were sent out to student body with a whole range of questions ranging from the new and hotly contended Rand Library to the quality of life of architects and to transparency with students and faculty,” James said. “I’d like to continue that work and continue a comprehensive plan to serve as AAP’s mission statement and guidebook.”

164 ballots were cast out of 419 eligible voters for the AAP representative and 1,032 out of 14,185 were cast for the First Generation Student Liaison At-Large position.