Student-Elected Trustee Candidate Profiles - Spring 2020

Spring 2020 Student-Elected Trustee candidate Jasmin Kennard

Jasmin Kennard

jjk353@cornell.edu

Degree Seeking: Ph.D.

Personal Statement:

Top Priorities: 

  • INCREASE GRADUATE EMPLOYMENT PROTECTIONS 
  • REDUCE INSTITUTIONAL BARRIERS TO SUCCESS FOR STUDENTS FROM DIVERSE BACKGROUNDS 
  • EXPAND MENTAL HEALTHCARE ACCESS FOR GRADUATE STUDENTS 

I am running to be the Student-Elected Trustee because I believe that Cornell has both a capacity and a responsibility to improve campus culture and working conditions for all students. As graduate students, we are all committed to exceptional research and education. We do our best work when we are supported intellectually, have clear employment expectations and when diversity emphasized. As Trustee, I will work to establish clear standards for employment expectations, a third-party grievance board, and a review process before funding is stripped.  Diversity is a moral imperative but also enriches the educational experience and allows us to leverage the full spectrum of rich perspectives, experiences and talents in our society. I support employment contracts with legal support for immigration, the reduction of health insurance/childcare costs for dependents, and mandatory cultural competence training for advisors.  Graduate students are six times more likely to experience depression and anxiety relative to the general population. Accordingly, I support fair mental health accommodations from professors, the reinstatement of gym membership reimbursement, increased mental health resources allocated to graduate students, and increased in-network mental healthcare providers..

Relevant Experience:

2019-2020 – Planning Committee Member for Research Education and Activities for Classroom Teachers at Cornell University 2019 – Volunteer for Research Education and Activities for Classroom Teachers at University of Michigan 2018-2019 – Chemical Engineering Graduate Student Association First Year Representative 2015-2018 – President a campus organization at Oregon State University and managed a five-figure budget. 2014-2015 – Mentor for Summer Experiences in Science and Engineering for Youth.

Special Interests:

I am passionate about graduate student unionization. I strongly believe that, while the Trustee position would allow me to advocate for change on campus, “labor unions are the leading force for democratization and progress” (Noam Chomsky). The majority of the rights that workers in many other industries have are due to hard-fought battles between unions and employers. As students, we have virtually no avenues to effect change other than 1/64th of the Board of Trustees. A graduate student union would allow us to use labor power to force the administration to take action to address our needs.  “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” (Helen Keller).

Spring 2020 Student-Elected Trustee candidate Jeff Pea

Jeff Pea

jtp239@cornell.edu

Degree Seeking: Ph.D.

Personal Statement:

As your Student-Elected Trustee, I would focus on these priorities:  

1.         BRING FORWARD THE NEEDS OF A DIVERSE STUDENT COMMUNITY

2.         IMPROVE INVESTMENT & ACCESSIBILITY FOR STUDENT WELLBEING

3.         FOSTER AN INCLUSIVE & TOLERANT CAMPUS 

Our diverse student body includes many important student groups who need their stories heard and needs met. (1) I will actively engage with these groups frequently and regularly, participate widely in campus community events and increase the accessibility of myself and Board members through outreach opportunities like town halls or online discussions. I will bring these experiences firsthand to the Board and provide a voice for the underrepresented. (2) Student wellbeing is impacted by every aspect of life and remains a community concern. To tackle this holistically, I will advocate for improved coverage and accessibility of mental health services through increased staffing and alternative methods (i.e. telehealth), better facilities and affordable programs for fitness centers, more personalized academic advising standardized across all colleges and fair pricing for university services. (3) To create a campus for everyone, Cornell needs to welcome students of all backgrounds and lived experiences. I support inclusion programming for international and transfer students, a centralized support center for sexual assault survivors, "safe walk" service across campus, improved infrastructure for disability access and investment into campus resource groups.

Relevant Experience:

I have spent the past three years working to promote a "campus for everyone" in collaboration with my fellow student leaders, faculty, staff and Cornell administration. During my time on the University Assembly and Graduate & Professional Student Assembly, I pushed forward policies aimed towards representing student sentiments and improving student wellbeing including:  -Divestment from fossil fuel companies -Implementation of campus circulator transit system -Increased investment and accessibility of current mental health services and resources -Increased infrastructure and accessibility of on-campus child care facilities -Community input via a campus-wide survey on tobacco use towards updating current policies   Experiences: - Vice-Chair of Internal Operations, University Assembly Executive Board.  - Graduate & Professional Student Appointee, University Assembly.  - Biological & Biomedical Sciences (BBS) Field Representative, Graduate & Professional Student Assembly.

Special Interests:

Being the bridge between student communities and someone who is willing to lend an ear to anyone who needs it. Tackling concerns that impact all members of the Cornell community, including:   

  • Implementing ways to improve the accessibility of university services and resources, in particular academic advising, career services, and student life for all students (undergraduate, graduate and professional);
  • Developing strategies to pragmatically reach sustainability goals, including financial transparency in university investments and sustainable improvements in infrastructure and technology;
  • Advocating for the de-emphasis of standardized tests (SAT/ACT, GRE/GMAT, LSAT) in the admission process for all Cornell programs;
  • Increasing partnerships both locally and abroad for student work and study opportunities, especially for underrepresented students;
  • Pushing for increased endowment towards "livable" stipends for graduate students.