EDITORIAL: A Messy but Acceptable End to the JT Baker Saga

What a terrible mess. This year’s student-elected trustee race saw Jaewon Sim ’21 take the prize, but only after the ugly disqualification of JT Baker ’21, who ran a campaign focused on student-athletes. The latest news is that Baker would’ve won were he not booted out for breaking an election rule. In light of that, the Committee on Board Composition and Governance opted to split the difference. The CBCG recommended Sim take the traditional student-elected trustee seat and Baker fill a vacant trustee seat.

GUEST ROOM | Shut Up and Play: Challenging JT Baker’s Disqualification

As a student-athlete, a black man and a supporter of JT Baker, I am disgusted and disappointed — though not wholly surprised — by the outcome of the recent student-elected trustee election. JT’s disqualification was not only unjust but is reflective of the campus climate at the predominantly white institution that is Cornell University. Furthermore, JT’s disqualification speaks to larger issues of exclusion of student-athletes and students from underrepresented communities at large from the limited, competitive and time-consuming opportunities in shared governance. Both the president of the University and the chair of the Board of Trustees have spoken out with strong statements condemning the disqualification decision by the Trustee Nominating Committee. And yet, the only actions being taken are empty calls for “reforms” for future elections.