This coming Tuesday, New Yorkers will have the opportunity to call for a state constitutional convention. While the idea of revising the state constitution is an attractive one, to do so now would be at best a non-event with costly side-effects, and at worst a dangerous exercise in the rollback of currently-existing protections. As a result, we urge voters to reject a constitutional convention at the ballot box this week. In the event of a convention, almost all delegates would be elected from existing state senate districts (15 would be elected at-large). The state senate map is consistently gerrymandered by the Republicans who have controlled the upper chamber for all but three years since 1938.
The past two years has seen an unmistakable rise in the level of vitriol in our nation’s political discourse. The election of a deeply unpopular president and the implementation of misguided policies have served only to acidify further the national political conversation. It doesn’t need to be that way on Cornell’s campus. Hopefully, it won’t be. Last week, Natalie Brown ’18 was elected president of the Cornell University College Democrats.
This coming Sunday evening, undergraduate students will have the opportunity to cast their ballots in the 2017 Student Assembly election. Although there are thirteen total positions, the Sun traditionally endorses only in the races of President and Executive Vice President. The candidates for president of the Student Assembly are Matthew Indimine ’18 and Jung Won Kim ’18. The candidates for executive vice president are Mayra Valadez ’18 and Varun Devatha ’19. In the race for president, we are proud to endorse Matthew Indimine ’18.
Run. Not away from the issues but towards them. Do not think that just because you are young or inexperienced that you cannot make a difference if you try. And there is no more important time to make a difference than now, when the new status quo is totally unacceptable. Keep marching, keep raising your voice on the issues you care about, and then take that energy and run with it.
A new Graduate/Professional Student Trustee will be elected this spring by the entire student body (both undergraduate and graduate/professional students). If you are interested in running to be the Graduate/Professional Student Trustee, I encourage you to visit assembly.cornell.edu to learn more about qualifications, the role’s responsibilities, and the campaign process. I also encourage you to attend one of two information sessions this week:
Tuesday, March 15, 12-1 p.m. in 163 Day Hall
Wednesday, March 16, 4:30-5:30 p.m. in 316 Day Hall
If you are not interested in running, I encourage you as the campaign gets underway to learn about the candidates and to vote for whom you believe will be the best student representative on the Cornell University Board of Trustees. Cornell is unique among its peers for electing two students as full voting members of its Board of Trustees. An undergraduate student trustee is elected in odd years, and a graduate/professional student trustee is elected in even years. Student trustees at Cornell attend and vote in full Board meetings but also have a variety of other responsibilities, which include: attending and voting in designated committee meetings; presenting to the Student Life Committee; organizing events to facilitate interaction between trustees and students; serving on various University councils and task forces. Student trustees have the opportunity to meet regularly with administrators on campus issues they feel are important and to collaborate with the shared governance bodies to help ensure effective representation of the student voice in the functioning of the University.
Democrats Elie Kirshner ’18 and Nate Shinagawa ’05 both failed to secure seats on the Tompkins County Legislature Tuesday, according to unofficial returns. Kirshner, who was running to represent the fourth district, secured 91 ballots to 118 ballots cast for write-in candidates. Shinagawa lost the second district seat to Independent candidate Anna Kelles by a margin of 340 votes to 474.
Write-in candidate Rich John ’81 mounted a campaign against Kirshner also seeking to represent the fourth district, which includes the Collegetown and the Commons neighborhoods, two weeks after the Democratic party endorsed Kirshner, arguing that a more experienced candidate was needed. Shinagawa had represented the fourth district in the legislature for 10 years and announced his resignation from that seat on Sept. 16.