Unlike its fellow Ivy League peers, Cornell stands alone as the only university to have a student in its Board of Trustees, which is composed of 64 voting members. We elect two trustees, a graduate and an undergraduate student, for two-year terms.
Once elected, each member signs a non-disclosure agreement. What this means is that board discussions, reasoning for decisions and the way in which each member votes is confidential. Take what you will from the justification for NDAs by current student-elected trustees Dustin Liu ’19 and Manisha Munasinghe grad, who in their Sun column said, “[The NDA] allows Board members to honestly discuss problems, bounce new and innovative ideas off of each other and safeguard the University’s long term strategies and plans in order to remain competitive with our peer institutions.”
Unlike the Student Assembly or other governing bodies on campus, the student-elected trustee holds a unique apportionment of power: The student-elected trustee wields more power and less accountability. This year’s election season has kicked into full swing.