The following editorial reflects the opinions of The Cornell Daily Sun. Editorials are penned collaboratively between the Editor-in-Chief, Associate Editor and Opinion Editor, in consultation with additional Sun editors and staffers. The Sun’s editorials are independent of its news coverage and op-eds.
Over the past week, The Sun has collected information about each of the trustee candidates and analyzed their platforms. Following the Trustee Candidate Debate on March 20, we sat down and interviewed our top choices. There are many good candidates for the role of student-elected trustee, but there is only one right candidate: Jaewon Sim ’21. We gave the decision to endorse Sim a lot of thought, and believe that his approach to the position despite its institutional limits is the most realistic, competent and thoughtful of any of the candidates.
Sim’s platform is not just a list of ideas but carefully planned initiatives — initiatives that he has already attested he can bring to fruition throughout his time on the Student Assembly. We are particularly impressed by how he took a 10-year long battle to reform the printing system at Cornell and delivered his promise of free printing for all students starting next fall after just three semesters here. We believe that spearheading that plan has given Sim the knowledge of how Cornell’s administration operates, what institutional barriers stand in the path of making Cornell more affordable for its constituents and how to put ideas into motion.
A non-disclosure agreement limits any member of the Board of Trustees from fully connecting with the student body. Sim was the only one to offer a real explanation of how he intends to address this limitation. He expressed tangible ways he can make the Board more accessible and transparent to students by communicating whatever an NDA does permit him to communicate, like how the Board operates, when open meeting times are and how to restructure these meetings to best serve students.
His deep knowledge of the University showed itself during the pop-quiz portion of the debate, in which Sim showed he knows the ins and outs of this school, such as when he correctly answered where all of Cornell’s campuses are and who the five constituent-elected members of the Board of Trustees are. We don’t believe that these are facts that Sim had to study for, but information that he learned from his work on S.A. and relationship with administration.
His platform of better access to resources like mental health services, increasing affordability by lowering the price of on-campus dining and making Cornell a safe and inclusive campus through measures like guaranteeing transfer student housing all resonate with student concerns. He plans to remain a part of his current organizations (Cornell AppDev and the International Students Union), to help him remain involved in the Cornell community. His passion for changing this campus is evident, but what really shines is his impressive logistical understanding to follow-through.
Sim is the only one who understands how to carry out his vision in the position because he’s already done so for his campus. While many candidates voiced platform focuses that are crucial to the University, we invest the most trust in Sim in accomplishing his.
The complete list of candidates and their statements, for the Student-Elected Trustee race can be found on the Office of the Assembly’s website. Voting begins at 9 a.m. Monday, March 25, and continues through 2 p.m. Wednesday, March 27.