March 2, 2020

SULLIVAN BAKER | Student Assembly Candidates: A Field Guide

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It’s that time of year again! Cornell Student Assembly elections are upon us, so I’ve compiled a helpful guide to the types of candidates you’ll see swarming Cornell’s common spaces for the next two weeks.

 

The Freshman

 

This person’s unbridled enthusiasm for student governance is weirdly endearing, but you feel a sense of schadenfreude knowing they’ll soon come face to face with the harsh truth that the S.A. doesn’t actually have that much power within the Cornell system. You’ll get a lot more excited about their impending reality check once their incessant Libe Cafe schmoozing starts driving you nuts.

 

The Frat Boy

 

Outraged that his frat’s parties got cancelled (officially, at least) last semester, this candidate is determined to snag a spot on the S.A. to correct what he’s convinced is a grave injustice. He’ll get a bunch of his fraternity  brothers to turn out for him, and he’ll snag a supermajority of the “top tier” Greek vote, but he’ll do terribly with the anti-freshman-abuse demographic.

 

The Activist

 

This person constantly tries to out-woke the other members of the S.A., but you generally agree with their principles, and their heart seems to be in the right place. With that being said, you might hesitate to cast your ballot for them if you learned about the hazing committed by the campus organizations they’re part of.

 

The Opportunist

 

Reporters at The Sun love to quote this person’s lukewarm takes on boring, internal S.A. subjects. But if you spend enough time around them, you’ll realize their positions on contentious subjects constantly shift depending on who’s within earshot. This person desperately wants to be in a secret society and collects prominent friends who trash them behind their back. They have a stellar LinkedIn though … they definitely deserve credit for that.

 

The One Who Actually Cares

 

This person probably plays an active role in an a major campus community, and they’ve decided to run to address a serious student need. This person is nearly universally respected, they’re pretty down to earth, they have good relationships with professors and administrators and they really seem to care about getting to know the constituents they represent.  You’re scared of what the S.A. will do to them.

 

The Complainer

 

This person is fun to talk to because you can usually get them to spill tea on their fellow S.A. candidates. They seem to hate the S.A. even more than the average Cornell student, which makes you wonder why exactly they want to be a member of the body. Unable to tolerate not getting exactly what they want, this person especially hates The Sun, since (gasp!) sometimes the S.A. doesn’t look all that great when The Sun reports members’ statements and actions.

The One Who Breaks The Campaign Rules

 

It happens every year. Some candidate uses a Cornell logo when they’re not supposed to, a sidewalk gets chalked when it shouldn’t be or an overly-enthusiastic supporter sends out an email before checking the rule book. Boom, disqualified. And so begins an aggressively nerdy high drama — with life or death stakes — chock full of appeals, hearings, Sun stories and hushed, heated Libe conversations. One of these dramas is usually sufficient to keep the S.A. and S.A.-adjacent world occupied for a week or two before attention shifts to another manufactured, inane or petty controversy. Often, the alleged rule-breaker wins out, but sometimes they’re banished forever by the almighty Elections Committee.

 

The Republican

 

This candidate is an underclassman, and they’re rarely seen in anything but a collared shirt. They’re one of the most aggressive networkers you’ve ever met, and they don’t flaunt their conservatism — they know it won’t sell. They’ll talk a big game about reforming the S.A., but, oddly, it’s not something they’ll ever  get around to. “The Republican” is the natural rival of “The Activist,” but these two have a lot more in common than they care to realize.

 

The CU Nooz Clown

 

This guy thinks he’s hilarious. He’s not, but he’s a great middle finger to the Cornell bureaucracy. When it’s time to actually vote, you’ll choose him because he’s the only name on the ballot you’ll recognize.

 

John Sullivan Baker is a senior in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. He can be reached at jsullivanbaker@cornellsun.com. Regards to Davy runs every other Tuesday this semester.