Mike Walsh grad, current student-elected trustee, calls his job the loneliest student leader position on campus. It’s true — being on the Board of Trustees means interacting with a slew of stone-faced alumni as they hash out the future of our University. And being a student means listening to peers and fighting for their rights. To be an intermediary between these two groups requires a strong will while also being malleable to change.
Back in the ’60s, when the position of student trustee came into existence, it was an outlet for activists to make their voices known amongst a reluctant crowd of naysayers. These people paved the way for an institutionalized position where students could make themselves heard in Cornell’s decision-making process. But times have shifted. Change isn’t always achieved by having the loudest voice or the most popular face; rather, it is achieved by crafting pragmatic and thoughtful solutions to the most complex problems.
After hosting the trustee candidates in a Sun-sponsored panel discussion and conducting one-on-one interviews with all 11 candidates, we sifted through the campaign talk for the real stuff: a strong personality that would stand up to the administration; a firm grasp of the goings on behind the Big Red tape; and a solid vision for making the tough decisions the University will face in the next two years. We sought someone who boasts a comprehensive understanding of the position as more than just one of 64 votes that comprise the board. Instead, the student trustee is unique in that he or she will be elected — as opposed to appointed — to support the breadth of student opinions.
That's why we support Vincent Andrews ’11 for student trustee. From the moment we met this candidate, he insisted on a practical approach to change that could be achieved through comprehensive well-documented research. Having his hand in athletics, student governance and academic organizations gives him a full picture of student needs.
The student trustee position is not merely an extension of the Student Assembly. Representing all undergraduates on the Board of Trustees, a student must come to the table with a firm knowledge of how this University actually works. When meeting with the candidates — all sophomores and one freshmen — we assessed their grasp on what went into administrative decision-making at the University. Andrews understands where the trustee fits into the overall bureaucracy of the University.
But more importantly, it is Andrews’ platform that made him stand out from the pack. At the forefront of his campaign is a commitment to ensuring the student voice is heard and kept when making future cuts to the budget. Andrews recognizes that student jobs are at risk and promises to help keep student employment far away from the chopping block. Andrews is also committed to preserving academics by proposing a maximum student-teacher ratio that will keep a watchful eye on class size as the University tries to minimize faculty and staff costs across the board.
All candidates were quick to mention transparency as a top priority, but Andrews has a clear cut plan to ensure that the University spends wisely in the coming years. By demanding a dollar-by-dollar breakdown of student tuition from the University, Andrews vows to hold the administration accountable for rising tuition costs.
To date, all of the candidates have run impressive campaigns, so we implore you to look beyond the chalkings and formulate your own views of their platforms. Voting begins today at 8 a.m. and ends Thursday at 10 a.m.