Claire Ting '25 speaks at the Student Assembly candidate debate in Martha Van Rensselaer on April 25th, 2023. (Ming DeMers/Sun Photo Assistant Editor)

March 29, 2024

TING | Setting the Record Straight on The Dispatch Article

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In light of recent rumors and misleading narratives highlighted in the press, including an excerpt originally written by The Dispatch, I feel compelled to share my truth and address these allegations head-on. The assertion that I sought to exchange preferential treatment for support within the Assembly is not only unfounded but deeply contrary to my principles and the values that I have consistently championed.

“According to Bhardwaj, who had a claim to an Assembly seat reserved for runner-up for president, Ting reached out to her asking for support in exchange for preferential treatment on the Assembly. Bhardwaj declined and did not take the seat, saying that this decision ‘was entirely due to members using something as horrific as sexual assault as a political ploy.’ She is no longer involved with the Assembly.”

I reached out to Sanvi Bhardwaj following an inquiry from the Office of Assemblies regarding the status of the runner-up Presidential seat, seeing as Sanvi was now entitled to the seat following Pedro Da Silveira’s impeachment. 

Sanvi and I have collaborated informally in the past, driven by our mutual dedication to progressive causes without any formal coordination. It was in the same spirit that I expressed a crucial need for voices like hers on the Assembly, especially at a time when the IFC/Dems coalition held a concerning amount of voting power. My intention was to underscore the importance of having committed advocates on the Assembly to champion our shared causes, not to broker support through underhanded deals.

Another version of this rumor includes an accusation against me of colluding with the alleged assailant for political gain. This is abhorrent to me, and could not be further from the truth. I am horrified that other members of the Assembly would leverage something as traumatic as sexual assault to remove their competitors. From the start, I have prioritized the voices and welfare of victims, taking allegations of sexual assault with the gravity and sensitivity they deserve. Any insinuation that I would do otherwise is deeply offensive. 

The stark reality is that our campus faces a burgeoning crisis of sexual violence, with statistics showing a distressing increase in victims since 2021. The fact that 1 in 4 Cornell undergraduate women experience nonconsensual sexual contact reflects an urgency to intensify our efforts in combatting rape culture. 

In my time on the Assembly, the alarming statistics surrounding sexual assault have only propelled my advocacy for comprehensive consent education as well as means to protect victims from re-traumatization in our classrooms. Looking forward, I am committed to continuing these efforts and fostering an environment of accountability, victim support and justice. 

The Student Assembly has had its moments. But with the right people in it, the Assembly can be a force for collective good — especially when held accountable by an empowered judicial arm. However, this can’t happen unless we as a community recognize the value of our civic engagement. I hope that every Sun article, op-ed and Sidechat post thus far has shown you just how important your vote is. 

Thank you for your time and engagement on our campus. 

— Claire Ting

Claire Ting ’25 is a junior in the School of Industrial Labor Relations. She is the current executive vice president of the Student Assembly.

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[Editor’s Note: Pedro Da Silveira ’25 was elected president of the Student Assembly in May 2023 but was ousted moments after being sworn in due to a Title IX allegation. According to a Dec. 7 letter signed by Catherine Muskin, Deputy Title IX Coordinator / Equity and Title IX Investigator, Da Silveira was ultimately “not found responsible” for sexual assault.]