Statements from Chairman Harrison, President Pollack on student-elected trustee elections

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Statement from Cornell University President Martha E. Pollack:

“As president of Cornell University, I am proud of our deep commitment to shared governance, and of our unique status among our peers of having student, employee and faculty-elected members of our Board of Trustees.

“Our shared governance gives full authority for student trustee elections to the Trustee Nominating Committee, comprised of students and faculty members. While I respect the Committee’s independence, I believe that the grounds they cited for disqualifying undergraduate trustee candidate JT Baker in this most recent election are not supported by the established rules governing the election process. In the coming year, I will work with the Board of Trustees to ensure that processes and protections are put in place to appropriately clarify election procedures and to avoid such an outcome in the future.”


Statement from Cornell University Board of Trustees Chairman Robert S. Harrison:

“I am deeply concerned by the decision of the Trustee Nominating Committee to disqualify undergraduate candidate JT Baker from this year’s undergraduate student trustee election.

“While I do not agree with the result or the articulated rationale behind the decision, I believe that any attempt by the Board of Trustees to overturn the decision would gravely undermine the established, deliberative process delegated to the Committee by the Trustees for the conduct of community-elected trustee elections. Given my concerns over the Committee’s decision and my strong view that the credibility of the election process must be restored, I will ask the Board of Trustees to undertake a review of the election rules to ensure that the Committee’s future actions fully reflect the open, fair and democratic ideals that the board envisioned when it decided to welcome student, employee and faculty-elected members to this institution’s highest governing body."