EDITORIAL: Putting the Trust Back in Trustee Elections

Just a few weeks ago, 10 candidates took to the campus quads, Willard Straight Hall and social media feeds to campaign for the undergraduate position of Student-Elected Trustee. We saw 39.9 percent of undergraduates — a 13 percentage point increase from last year — fill out the Qualtrics survey that also included slots for positions such as Student Assembly President and Executive Vice President. Elections closed on Wednesday, March 27 at 2 p.m.

The results rolled out: Joe Anderson ’20 as Student Assembly President, Cat Huang ’20 as Student Assembly Executive Vice President — and 13 days of radio silence from the Trustee Nominating Committee. For 13 days, the Nominating Committee has failed to report any results from the 2019 Trustee election. They have numbers and they have results, given that results for President and EVP were promptly released.


TRUSTEE VIEWPOINT | Interested in the Student-Elected Trustee Position?

Cornell University’s Board of Trustees is unique in its inclusion of students as full voting members. Of our Ivy League peers, we are the only one to seat students on our Board even though many other student communities have argued for a similar position. Other academic institutions may allow students to elect a representative to serve on their Board, but Cornell is one of the few institutions to seat not one but two students. One student-elected trustee must be an undergraduate student while the other must be either a graduate or a professional student. Regardless of their academic status, both student-elected trustees represent the student community as a whole.

Students Elect Asa Craig ’11 To Serve on Board of Trustees

After several weeks of chalking, handing out quarter cards and waving a flag outside Libe Café, Asa Craig ’11 has been elected as the newest undergraduate student trustee for Cornell, the Office of the Assemblies announced yesterday.
Out of the 3,423 ballots cast for the 10 candidates, Craig was ranked first on 651 of those ballots. Using the Hare-Clark system, the candidate with the least amount of votes is systematically eliminated. The eliminated candidates’ votes are then transferred to other candidates depending on the rankings of voters’ preferences. In the end, Craig defeated Raymond Mensah ’11 with a final count of 1,578 votes.

Panel Challenges Student Trustee Hopefuls to Distinguish Platforms

This year’s undergraduate student trustee elections hold special significance for Cornell. It was 40 years ago that the Takeover of Willard Straight Hall helped elucidate the need for a transparent University. Many credit the Takeover, and a series of tumultuous events that followed, with Cornell allowing four students to serve as voting members on the Board of Trustees.
Four decades later and with two fewer student Trustees seats, 11 Cornellians are vying to continue the tradition of student governance.

Students Face Off for Undergrad Trustee Spot

The election to fill Kate Duch’s ’09 undergraduate Student Trustee seat will be held next week. Candidates’ statements will be made public next Tuesday and elections will begin online at 8 a.m. that morning and close at 10 a.m. on Thursday, April 16.
Under the University’s charter, one undergraduate and one graduate student from Cornell’s Ithaca campus serve on the board of Trustees. As current student trustees, Mike Walsh grad and Duch serve as members of the trustee nominating committee, which oversees the election, so neither will be endorsing a candidate in this election.
A Sun-moderated panel discussion with the candidates will be held today from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in Willard Straight Hall’s Art Gallery.