Anushka Shorewala/Sun Assistant News Editor and Marian Caballo/Sun Multimedia Editor

April 18, 2024

Who is Running to Represent You on the Student Assembly?

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With Student Assembly ballots open until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, April 21, the Sun interviewed the Cornellians running for top leadership positions.

The Sun profiled presidential candidates Zora deRham ’27 and Getulio Gonzalez-Mulattieri ’25 and executive vice president candidates Adam Vinson ‘25 and Karys Everett ’25.

Editor’s Note: S.A. presidential candidates Emily D’Angelo ’25 and Audrey Pinard ’25 were not able to meet with Sun reporters by publication date. An Elections Committee investigation disqualified Claire Ting ’25 from the presidential race on Thursday, April 18. Ting plans to contest this disqualification, according to her remarks at the Thursday, April 18 S.A. meeting.

Presidential Candidates

Zora deRham ’27 Says She Will Bring “Institutional Knowledge Combined with a Fresh Outlook on Cornell” to Presidency

By Julia Senzon

Despite being just one year into her time on the Hill, presidential candidate Zora deRham ’27 believes she can serve as an “anchor point” to the Student Assembly if elected president.

As a current freshman representative, deRham believes the Assembly holds “untapped potential,” especially regarding sharing resources with the student body and providing spaces for students to voice their perspectives and concerns. deRham was also recently voted in as vice president of finance after Rocco DeLorenzo ’24 resigned from the position.

deRham’s plans for presidency include advocating for Cornell University Emergency Medical Service — a student-operated service that provides free services — to get more funding to establish an ambulance corps. She also wants to expand the payment options at Trillium and Terrace to include meal swipes, modified meal swipes or reduced Big Red Bucks for people who have meal swipes.

To deRham, the Assembly should also amplify student voices. 

“I think that campus is fairly disconnected,” deRham said. “I think that Student Assembly has a little bit [been] used in certain inter-student conflicts in a way that I don’t think is necessarily appropriate.”

deRham said Assembly members should have proposed that the controversial divestment resolution become a referendum early in the meeting instead of debating for several hours, which deRham said was “inciting emotions between students.”

With approximately 200 students gathered in Willard Straight Hall to advocate for and against the resolution, she said the situation “required direct democracy, not representative democracy.” deRham said referendums should be utilized more than “once every couple of decades.”

As a first-year student, deRham said she is particularly aware of the knowledge gap of transitioning to campus, describing how she did not know where to go on campus to learn about how to do taxes until she turned to upperclassmen peers.

deRham also said that her current position as freshman representative has built “a pretty good gauge of Assembly’s capabilities.” As a member of the Internal Operations committee, she said she holds a strong awareness of the Assembly’s governing documents and members’ job descriptions.

In this role, deRham has worked to restructure and solidify governing documents, she said. She has also noticed that a high turnover of Assembly members in the past few years has led to limited communication with prior Assemblies.

“There’s a lot of lost institutional knowledge,” deRham said. “I do think that my greater vision involves more communication with Assemblies [of the] past.”

deRham also served on the Appropriations Committee throughout the fall semester where she worked on allocations to byline funding organizations and learned what falls under the Assembly’s purview.

Out of all her involvement as a freshman representative, deRham is most proud of being a delegate in the Cornell-State Universities of New York Caucus, where she helped to pass bills related to suicide prevention and food accessibility for New York State students.

Amid S.A. turnover, deRham believes she can serve as a “voice of consistency,” set apart by her “institutional knowledge combined with a fresh outlook on Cornell.”

And with three more academic years on the horizon, deRham said she is also keenly invested in improving the University long-term.

“My ideas have longevity, and I am looking to set foundations and set goals that are far-reaching, because I’ll be here for a lot longer,” deRham said.

U.S. Air Force Veteran Getulio Gonzalez-Mulattieri Runs for Student Assembly President

By Kate Sanders

Getulio Gonzalez-Mulattieri ’25 brings with him nearly a lifetime more of lived experience than his opponents as he runs for Cornell’s highest student office as a junior in his thirties.

Gonzalez-Mulattieri, a public policy student and Beta Theta Pi fraternity president, transferred to Cornell this year from Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Florida. Before coming to Cornell, he served in the United States Air Force and was heavily involved in canvassing and community organizing.

As a former board member of the Coalition of Mutual Liberation, a pro-Palestine coalition of over 40 organizations, Gonzalez-Mulattierri told The Sun that divestment from weapons companies that supply arms to the Israeli Defensive Forces is his “main issue” on his platform. 

“I really believe that Cornell University can do a lot better than contributing money, resources, research towards weapons, weapons manufacturers and what’s being deemed as a plausible genocide,” Gonzalez-Mulattieri said. “This is supposed to be one of the greatest academic institutions in the world, and being involved in the ‘crime of crimes’ as they call it — it’s not a good look.”

Despite divestment being his platform’s main issue, Gonzalez-Mulattieri did not mention it in his candidate profile nor did he speak about the issue at the recent candidate forum led by Sun Editor in Chief Gabriel Levin ’26.

At this forum, Levin brought to light a past accusation of violent behavior from Gonzalez-Mulattieri, where he allegedly spat on a fast food worker at Dunkin’ Donuts, which Gonzalez-Mulattieri denies.

Gonzalez-Mulattieri was also once charged with battery on a law enforcement officer, but he said the charges have been dropped. He also defended his respect for fast food and retail employees in light of the alleged Dunkin’ Donuts altercation.

“For fast food workers, they’re workers. I don’t care if you’re a fast food worker or if you’re an engineer. If you’re working, you deserve to be paid and you deserve dignity, period,” Gonzalez-Mulattieri said at the forum. “If somebody believes that [this altercation] stemmed from [disrespect], that’s wrong.”

While the alleged Dunkin’ Donuts altercation may raise concerns, Gonzalez-Mulattieri considers other aspects of his past — including his service in the armed forces and involvement in community organizing — a strength to his campaign.

A veteran of the Iraq War, Gonzalez-Mulattieri cites his time in the military as providing leadership experience relevant to the S.A. presidency.

“I’m a United States Air Force Veteran. I was a crew chief. My job was working on a $22 million airplane,” Gonzalez-Mulattieri said. “I’m 19, 20 years old working on a $20 million piece of equipment, cursing at pilots when they break something because the plane’s more mine than theirs.”

He also noted his involvement in community organizing, which he began after being honorably discharged from the military.

“I organized multiple food banks in communities that had food deserts — no food pantries or food banks.” Gonzalez-Mulattieri said. “I organized a mobile vaccination site. I was able to establish three food banks in communities back home.”

As a community organizer, he participated in advocacy for a renewable energy resolution — passed in August 2021 — that commits the City of Tampa to solely using renewable energy by the year 2035.

“We put together some legislation to push the City of Tampa to adopt a renewable energy resolution that transitioned the city’s grid to completely renewable energy — at least municipal operations — by 2035,” Gonzalez-Mulattieri said. “A year of organizing and trying to get different city council members to vote for it and then put pressure on the mayor to accept it — we got that done.”

When asked how he thought his age and status as a non-traditional student would impact his electoral chances, Gonzalez-Mulattieri explained that he anticipated his wisdom and experience would matter more to students than generational differences.

“I’m a little bit older, but I’m still here — I’m still going to school with y’all,” Gonzalez-Mulattieri. “In some ways it might be a benefit, though. I think the experience and wisdom could make me qualified for a position like [S.A. President].”

Audrey Pinard ’25
S.A. candidate Audrey Pinard ’25 was not able to meet with Sun reporters by publication date but submitted a video overviewing her platform.

Executive Vice Presidents

Executive Vice Presidential Candidate Adam Vinson ’25 Emphasizes Improving Student Life, Strengthening Shared Governance

By Dorothy France-Miller

Adam Vinson ‘25 describes himself as “not your average candidate.”

An avid birdwatcher and environmentalist, Vinson does not study public policy or government. Rather, he is an environment and sustainability major, who currently serves as the S.A. college of agriculture and life sciences representative. 

Vinson brings policy experience to the table. As an S.A. representative, he has chaired and restructured the S.A. Environmental Committee, passed a resolution to protect local endangered species and funded the Ag Quad Farmer’s Market. 

And his recent legislation has gone beyond environmental causes. In his past term on the S.A., Vinson has collaborated with SUNY student assemblies to pass state-wide legislation preventing suicide on college campuses, helped to create a student worker seat on the S.A. and amended the S.A. Charter to allow students to submit resolutions directly to the S.A. without a community sponsor. 

Vinson said that, if elected, his goals for the executive vice president role are applicable to the entire student body and their needs.

“The primary focus of the Assembly, and of myself as a representative, is on improving student life,” Vinson said in an interview with the Sun. “[Legislation] to improve student morale.”

If elected EVP, Vinson hopes to utilize the S.A.’s Infrastructure Fund to fix broken bathrooms and utilities on campus, expand the S.A.’s free New York Times access to include NYT Games, collaborate with the Faculty Senate to expand next year’s study period for finals, permanently fund the AG Quad Farmer’s Market and work towards getting meal swipes in Trillium.

“We have a $90,000 infrastructure budget that renews each year. And for the last two years, it’s been basically untouched,” Vinson said. “I say we actually start using that.”

Vinson’s affiliation with Cornell Democrats, a club that has recently come under scrutiny for an outsized influence on last year’s S.A. elections, was brought into question during the April 16 panel hosted by The Sun.

In this panel, Vinson defended himself, saying that while he was involved in both clubs at the same time, he was “never doing stuff [on the assembly] for [Cornell Democrats].”

“I specifically tell them I’m on [Cornell Democrats]. I’m on Assembly. And [I’m] making that a very separate thing,” Vinson said.

In light of recent contentious S.A. proceedings, Vinson wants to foster a welcoming environment within the S.A. for both members and the wider Cornell community. 

“I’ve cared a lot about transparency, and I feel like a lot of stuff that is involved with policy happens behind closed doors,” Vinson said. “If I’m elected EVP, something I want to make mandatory for all committees to happen in an open space. I think that it will go a long way to improving the reputation of the Assembly, but it will also stop some of the internal politicking.”

In addition to promoting transparency, one goal for Vinson is to further the S.A.’s engagement with and impact on the student body by passing more legislation.

“We’re on Resolution 74 now. … I’ve been told that it’s the most resolutions ever passed on Assembly [in a term],” Vinson stated. “I want to see if I can break that.”

To achieve this goal, Vinson intends to personally engage the student body in Assembly affairs — an ability he said he curated during his outreach with expanding the S.A. Environmental Committee.

“As vice president, I’m going to be doing outreach nonstop. I think that the Student Assembly should represent every single group, they should represent all constituencies,” Vinson said.

Strengthening Cornell’s shared governance system is another priority of Vinson’s campaign. Cornell’s shared governance system has recently come under question with the passing of the Interim Expressive Activity Policy, which Vinson feels “censors freedom of speech massively.”

“A big thing I want to do as vice president is take advantage of the connections that the position has to the University Assembly. [I want] try and make sure that all the assemblies … work together, and we push back against this,” Vinson said. “We’ve been repeatedly ignored. And at the end of the day, it mainly impacts us, the students.”

Three words Vinson says would describe his term as EVP are “open, organized and focused”.

“I put the main focus on open,” Vinson stated. “[I am] open to listening to anyone’s opinion, [and] working with any group that has a problem that they want to solve on campus.” 

“At Heart, I Am an Activist”: Executive Vice Presidential Candidate Karys Everett ’25 Seeks to Amplify Marginalized Voices at Cornell

By Eric Lechpammer

“I don’t consider myself to be a politician,” Karys Everett ’25 said. “At heart, I am an activist.”

Campaigning on the slogan “Karys Cares,” Everett’s goals as an executive vice presidential candidate center around giving voice to marginalized students on campus. 

“As [executive] V.P., I [hope I] can help all students [feel heard], especially the marginalized students who feel as though they have not received an equal recognition from administration, from the assembly at large [and] from other spaces on campus,” Everett said.

Everett is currently the LGBTQIA+ liaison at-large. While petitioning for this position, Everett asked students what LGBTQIA+ issues they would like to see addressed on campus. Upon winning, Everett contacted the LGBTQ Resource Center and found that many of the resources students sought already existed.

“When I asked students about queer housing on campus or queer therapists you can book through Cornell Health, they would only know that through word of mouth,” Everett said. “It was [like an] inefficient information train.”

Everett wrote and sponsored a resolution to promote more information about LGBTQIA+ support resources.

Since then, Everett has worked with the LGBT Resource Center and with Haven, the LGBTQ student union, to better promulgate support spaces and resources on campus. Everett wrote and co-sponsored a resolution to exempt Haven from disclosing a full list of member names on the union’s byline application to eliminate the potential unintentional outing of members.

Everett’s platform is based on supporting students who feel they do not have a voice on campus. Everett told The Sun about believing the University has done an unsatisfactory job with addressing Islamophobia on campus.

In October, Everett co-sponsored Resolution XX — Acknowledging Palestinian Suffering Under Israeli Apartheid — drafted by members of Cornell’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine. In the resolution, SJP called on the University to “recognize the Palestinian right to resistance and contextualize the violence as a direct response to decades of Israel’s occupation.”

SJP’s resolution did not make it out of the Assembly’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee and was not designated a number, largely due to backlash from Jewish groups on campus over a line referring to Hamas’ October 7 attack as a “pivotal milestone” in Palestinian resistance. 

In an interview with The Sun in October, Everett apologized for harmful language in the resolution and proposed creating a resolution to unify diverse community groups at Cornell. 

“I’ve been trying to work with SJP and [Jewish Voices for Peace] to figure out how we can better acknowledge the suffering of Muslim and Palestinian students,” Everett said in an interview with The Sun in April. 

Everett also condemned the Interim Expressive Activity Policy for penalizing students’ ability to express discontent with the University. 

Regarding recent allegations of ethical violations facing several members of the student assembly in top positions, Everett said some Assembly members’ use of their positions did not align with S.A.’s purpose of representing the student body. 

“There are students who join the Assembly because they want to represent their groups of interest and help shape campus in a way that improves the lives of students everywhere,” Everett said. “Unfortunately, there are [also] people that joined the assembly [as] more of a prerequisite to Congress. [It] doesn’t help the [Assembly’s] overall image when you have these two groups colliding.”

If elected, Everett expressed interest in continuing to take input from the student body to see which aspects of campus life students would like to see improved. Everett also described a vision of fostering more contact with the administration to bring these improvements to fruition.

Everett emphasized a continued commitment to advertising and acknowledging queer spaces on campus, as well as other identity-based organizations.    

“I truly see myself in my position as I am nothing but a representative of student voices,” Everett said. “If there’s an issue that students want to see fixed, the University is going to have to acknowledge that because I think that student issues have been ignored for a little too long.”