GUEST ROOM | On Divestment and a Recent Rally at Board of Trustees Meeting

In the days leading up to Oct. 18, University administrators prepared to receive Cornell’s esteemed Board of Trustees, a group of 64 people  “vested with ‘supreme control’ over the University” and with final say on all recommendations made by other administrating bodies, including the Student Assembly. Among this select group of people entrusted with such great decision making power are University President Martha Pollack, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the oldest living descendant of the University’s eponym Ezra Cornell. The student body is granted three representatives, Cornell faculty have two, University employees have only one and tens of thousands of others with a stake in the actions this institution undertakes have no representation at all. For all the talk of the system of “shared governance” on which the day-to-day administration of the University is supposedly run, we can’t help but note how unequally power is actually shared.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Alumnus: Make U.A. responsible for conduct in all shared governance elections

To the Editor:

The time has come to place the responsibility for the conduct of all shared-governance elections in the hands of the University Assembly. Shared governance dates back to 1969 with the Constituent Assembly and then the University Senate — both of which were composed of students, faculty and staff. So for many years, campus elections were in joint student, faculty and staff hands. As with the Campus Code of Conduct and judicial system, elections are appropriately a joint student-faculty-staff responsibility. Election problems detract from the reputation of Cornell’s shared governance model, and students, faculty and staff should work together to avoid future problem.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: On the state of shared governance at Cornell

To the Editor:

When The Sun prints “Assembly in Crisis” in an above-the-fold headline, it is easy to lose faith in shared governance at Cornell. It is no secret that maintaining a truly shared, shared governance has had its challenges — and that increasing disillusionment, apathy and decreasing trust in an already exclusionary system will have precarious impacts on student engagement moving forward. The chaos of the recent Student Assembly presidential elections is just one more example of this. As students of Cornell history, however, we want to encourage Cornellians to remember the value and history of shared governance here. Exactly 49 years ago this week, a group of Black students occupied Willard Straight Hall in response to a series of incidents, including the unfair disciplining of a small number of students by the University; the students had engaged in protests related to the building racial tensions on campus.