Alex Nagel/ Sun Staff Photographer

The president of the Student Assembly is still unknown following Pedro Da Silveira '25 removal.

May 9, 2023

President of Student Assembly Unclear Amid Assault Allegation

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Update, Dec. 8, 4:32 p.m.: Pedro Da Silveira ’25 “was not found responsible” for sexual assault, according to a Dec. 7 letter signed by Catherine Muskin, Deputy Title IX Coordinator / Equity and Title IX Investigator, obtained by The Sun. The letter also stated that there was only ever one formal complaint made against Da Silveira, contradicting statements made by multiple assembly members.

While the results of the Student Assembly elections were officially released on Tuesday, by the evening, president-elect Pedro Da Silveira ’25 was removed from the Assembly by a vote of 14 to 2 due to an allegation of sexual assault. Who will assume the role of president, whether it is the newly-elected executive vice president Claire Ting ’25 or runner up to the president Patrick Kuehl ’24, is still unclear.

According to Clyde Lederman ’26, clerk for the Office of the Assemblies, Da Silveira was sworn into the position of president by outgoing president Valeria Valencia ’23. Da Silveira then swore in the other elected members of the S.A. Immediately afterward, Rocco DeLorenzo ’24, who was the runner up executive vice presidential candidate, introduced a motion to vacate the chair and expel Da Silveira due to “a pattern of sexual assault,” which was approved by the Assembly.

According to multiple members present at the executive session, S.A. members were sent a document alleging sexual assault on the behalf of Da Silveira, which was obtained by The Sun. The letter is written by a friend of a female student. The friend accused Da Silveira of having sexual relations with the student while she “was in no state to be a consenting individual.” According to several members of the Student Assembly, Da Silveira has Title IX allegations against him.

“As I am womxn’s issues liaison, I know that sexual assault on campus is a huge issue. I feel like it’s within my scope of responsibility to do whatever I can to make sure that women on campus are protected, and to side with anybody who has allegations against somebody on campus,” said newly-elected Womxn’s Issues Liaison At-Large Lucia Balestrieri ’26. “I really wouldn’t want a president who is a sexual assaulter. I wouldn’t want to work with him to protect women’s rights because I know we are not on the same page.”

Newly-elected CALS representative Niles Hites ’26 concurred.

“I’m just glad that we as an assembly can agree that it’s not okay to have someone who’s an alleged sexual assaulter as the highest power that a student can hold,” Hites told The Sun.

Da Silveira denied that there are multiple separate allegations against him and asserted his innocence to The Sun.

“It’s completely untrue that there have been multiple Title IX cases. I believe in respecting the privacy of all involved, however the case goes deeper than anyone knows and not a single person in the Student Assembly knows any details about this private matter,” Da Silveira wrote in a statement. “While I will be found non responsible soon enough, I am also a complainant in this case (I filed the complaint of a Title IX violation). Until this is all resolved, it is not the responsibility or under the purview of the Cornell Student Assembly or the general public to hold anyone responsible as that violates every notion of due process.”

Dyson School of Business Representative David Nachman ’25 was one of the two representatives who voted against Da Silveira’s removal. He asserted that multiple members of the Student Assembly had knowledge of the investigation long before voting had started in the election and that they chose to reveal the allegation to the Assembly at large after Da Silveira was sworn in for political reasons.

“These candidates never had a problem coordinating campaign activities and working with [Da Silveira] on the assembly until it was advantageous for them to use his active case to further their own political agendas,” Nachman told The Sun.

In a joint statement to The Sun, Ting and Kuehl stated that Da Silveira was removed due to “numerous reported Title IX investigations.”

“Victims as well as observers have anonymously expressed discomfort in having their assailant represent them as President of the Student Assembly. In an overwhelming majority (82 percent), the Assembly voted to remove Pedro from office,” the statement said. “Da Silvera had knowledge of and discussed these allegations with multiple individuals prior to the Spring 2023 election. No allegations nor charges were formally disclosed by Da Silvera to the Assembly before, during or after the elections.”

While Da Silveira was ousted from the position of president by an assembly vote, who will become the next president of the S.A. is still unclear. Due to a discrepancy between the charter and bylaws of the S.A., the Office of the Assemblies will need to be consulted and the presidency will remain vacant pending the Office’s decision, according to University Assembly Chair Duncan Cady ’23.

The S.A. charter implies that Kuehl, as the highest ranked non-winning candidate in the last election, would fill the presidential vacancy, whereas the S.A. bylaws state that it is the responsibility of the executive vice president to assume the office of the presidency should a vacancy arise.

Both Ting and Kuehl told The Sun they would accept the decision of the Office of the Assemblies.

This has been updated to include a statement from Dyson School of Business Representative David Nachman ’25, one of the two representatives to vote against Da Silveira’s removal.