09/08/2020 Employee-Elected Trustee Candidate Debate | CC Transcription (formatted)
HEI HEI DEPEW: Hello, everyone. I'm just going to allow a minute for people to log on to the employee elected trustee candidate forum. So I'll just give it another minute. And then we will begin with some quick introductions.
All right, it seems we have reached about a minute. Welcome everyone. I am Hei Hei Depew, the newly elected chair of the Employee Assembly. We've got a panel of five of the employee elected trustee candidates here today. I'm just going to quickly introduce them. And then we're going to get into opening statements.
We've got Andrew Page, the Assistant Director of Video Engineering and Event Services, Customer Service Support for CIT. Anthony McCabe, Building Care Manager for the Carl Becker House on West Campus. Reginald White the HR Director for the Office of the Vice Provost for Research. Jeramy Kruser, the Systems Administrator, Enterprise Services CIT. And Brian Goodell, Custodial Manager for Facilities and Campus Services.
So those are our five candidates for today's employee elected trustee candidate forum. I want to allow five minutes very quickly for each candidate to give one minute of opening statements. We're going to begin with Andrew Page. And I'm going to shift this over to Andrew Page now.
ANDREW PAGE: Thank you, Hei Hei. Good afternoon, everyone. I'd like to say thank you to the Committee for Campus Constituency Elected Trustees, and to everyone who took time out of their busy schedule to attend today's forum.
A little bit about myself. My name is Andy Page. I'm a transplant from the not-too-distant region of Western New York. I came to Ithica in 1994. And I studied television and radio production here at Ithica College. I currently live outside of Trumansburg in the town of Hector with my family and our flock of chickens.
I've worked at Cornell for the past 18 years, starting as a media producer and computer technician at the Language Resource Center in the College of Arts and Sciences. In 2006, I transferred to CIT and became the Technical Director for the newly renovated Bailey Hall. I currently am the Assistant Director for Video Engineering and Events Services at CIT.
Throughout my career, I've had a great opportunity to work with countless special events, such as graduation, and dignitary visits, as well as stand-up new audio visual tools and services, such as Zoom video conferencing. As mentioned in my online personal statement, I believe people should help each other whenever they can, be truthful, and be kind. Thank you.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you, Andrew. We're going to move this over to Anthony McCabe for his opening statements.
ANTHONY MCCABE: Hello, everyone. Yeah, I just want to say, throughout my career, I have been committed to seeking organizational-- what I call organizational justice and improving quality of work life of all employees. I've always been strongly committed to diversity, employee inclusion, and ensuring the health and wellbeing of all students, staff, faculty, and visitors. And I see participation on the board of trustees as an opportunity to safeguard the integrity, reputation, and tradition at Cornell University, while also representing the needs and desires of staff in a mutually beneficial and highly collaborative manner. So I would truly appreciate your support in this endeavor.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you. Moving on to Reginald White.
REGINALD WHITE: So hello, everyone. And thank you for taking the time to be here with us today. As mentioned earlier, I'm Reginald White, the HR Director for the Research Division. My relationship with Cornell goes back to when I was a student in the College of Human Ecology. I would like to say about that relationship is that Cornell changed my life. And my desire about four years ago to come back here was in part a desire to give back to the university some of what its given to me. In that same vein, I started to think about this trustee opportunity as an opportunity to continue to give back to the university. I've had the privilege of interacting with a great number of people across various different functions in the university. And it's just been extraordinary. And so, my desire to do this is in part because of what I have been given. I feel privileged to do that. And would love your support and the opportunity to support you and represent you on the board.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you. Moving on to Jeramy Kruser.
JERAMY KRUSER: Hi. Thanks, everybody, for being here today and taking time out. My name is Jeramy Kruser. I currently work for CIT. I think you're all extremely lucky today because you have a panel of candidates here who are all leaders within the community. I have worked with all of these folks over the course of my career. And I have been working since I joined Cornell in 2012 to improve the lives of our employees.
I'm a military brat and veteran. So I've only come to Ithaca in the last 10 years. But this is my chance to build on my experience of community and learning to be a member of community. And it's an extremely rewarding experience.
I'm currently serving as the employee elected trustee. I volunteered to-- I was elected to fill the remaining term for Chad Coats, our previous employee elected trustee, when he moved away from Cornell. And I've been focusing in the last two years on really enlisting support for initiatives that improve the lives of our staff, our faculty, and our students in improving equity and the appreciation for the contributions that our staff bring to the larger community.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you. And last, but not least, we have Brian Goodell.
BRIAN GOODELL: Hi. First, thank you for this opportunity to share so my thoughts. And thank you for hosting this event. My name is Brian Goodell. I work in Building Care. I've been at Cornell for about 30 years, a little bit over 30 years, actually. I've served this great university in many capacities. I've served on the EA 20 years ago, where I was on the university assembly as well.
I left that when I became UAW Local 2300 president, and served my constituents for three years there, trying to improve the working lives all around the board. And now I'm back on the EA. And I also chair the Benefits and Policies Committee, where I've done a lot of good, I believe, since I've joined the team.
I believe that that there's got to be a voice. And I can offer many voices because I've served in this university in many capacities. I've been in many departments over the years and served in many job titles. So I come with a different perspective. I would like to be your voice on the board of trustees.
I feel that I can bring that unique perspective to the board because of that vast array of experience I have acquired over those 30 years. I feel that I could use the skills I have acquired and provide a valuable staff perspective to the board of trustees if you elect me. So I'm looking for your vote. I'm asking for your vote. And I'm hoping you will vote for me.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you, Brian. So we're going to move on to the Q&A portion of this forum. So please enter your question in to the Q&A section of this webinar. I will read five pre-selected questions. We're going to go one by one. And the order will be Andrew, Anthony, Reginald, Jeramy, Brian.
So I want to first start with the pre-selected questions. And I will be monitoring the Q&A, so if anybody has any questions, please also feel free to submit. So question number one is a pre-selected question. And I'm going to start with Andrew. And the question is this. What do you believe are the top three issues for the staff today?
ANDREW PAGE: Thank you. Yeah, so I think that there's a lot of issues that staff are currently considering and dealing with at the moment. But I think one of the top concerns right now is continuity of employment. I think COVID has had a profound impact on what we do and how we do it. And many are thinking about how do they sharpen that proverbial saw. And where do they fit in this new normal.
I think the university is doing an excellent job in being transparent and preserving staff positions. But I think also that furloughs, and benefit reductions, and pay cuts, and an uncertain future just puts everyone on edge. So I do see that as a top concern for staff today.
In the same vein, with the profound impact that the pandemic has had, I think that child and elder care is also an issue for many staff. Daycare, and school closures, and delays have put a lot of people into a difficult position. And so now they have to manage these new family obligations and responsibilities with the shifting landscape at work. So I think this is another strong issue for many. And this one I think creates a lot of stress.
And then, finally, I think safety is a concern. This pandemic, it's scary, and it's real, but I do think the university and the state have provided significant leadership. I think that they're making the right decisions and doing the right things. And that we're doing the things that we need to do to keep the community safe. But still, I think, again, it's something that's on peoples' minds. And it's an issue for many.
So I would put it in that order. I would think about-- I think people are thinking about their continuity of employment. I think they're thinking about child care and elder care. And I think they're thinking about just general safety.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you, moving on to Anthony.
ANTHONY MCCABE: OK, here we go. Yeah, I think Andrew really identified the main issues, which has evolved from-- at one time it was child care, and then elder care, now it's just family care or any other dependency we have. So we all have a mixed bag as far as family and relationships. So our needs outside of work vary. So care for others, job security, what's going to happen in the future. We're all concerned about that.
And then our personal health and safety as many essential employees can attest to, because they've had to continuously remain on campus through this pandemic. And so while we want to provide the service and support, we also have to ensure our own safety and wellbeing. So family care, job security, and personal health and safety I believe are the three prominent issues.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you. Moving on to Reginald.
REGINALD WHITE: So I agree with Andrew and Anthony around this. I think the pandemic has changed the environment. And so the issue around job security has become top of mind for folks, this sort of idea of what is the future of the university? Are we going to stay open? How are we going to-- what is the new normal? I think all of those questions are wrapped up into the personal concern about employment as well as the viability of the university.
I also think that the issues around child care and elder care, one of the things that's happened during the pandemic is we've had this-- we already had from the beginning pre-pandemic challenges around child care. And so with the pandemic, that issue has intensified for folks. And so, again, I agree with that.
And then, finally, I think the personal safety is of concern. We hear this from people all the time. That they're worried about whether or not they should be tested and what's going to happen if we see an uptick in the number of cases. And so I think those are the three issues. I don't disagree in any way. I think those are the three issues. So, Andrew, thank you for identifying them.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you and moving on to Jeramy.
JERAMY KRUSER: So, of course, I have to-- everyone has addressed this. And it's because it really, it is on top. And it's the concern for health and safety, both for ourselves and our families. I've taken care of my immuno compromised in-laws. So I very much feel the reality of trying to protect my family and being concerned about these things.
And I agree with what Reggie said, there's been some very thoughtful science-based approach to protecting us. But it is still a concern. And it's a valid concern that we all need to look at. Attached to that is the job security and personal finances.
How do how do we know that we're going to still have a job tomorrow? How do we know we can afford all of these new expenses that we're facing? All of these things kind of interrelate with each other. And I think we need to really bring a kind of holistic approach to how we look at the concerns that are faced.
Because the third, and this hasn't been mentioned yet, and I think it really needs to be, is the work-life balance. As we're looking at reductions in staffing from early retirements, with a hiring freeze going at the same time, we're looking at an additional burden placed upon our staff in doing a bigger job of more asks. Some of them are COVID related, so brand new tasks that have never been part of it.
We have to ask ourselves not only do we have a job tomorrow, but can we still do all of this and how do we step back from that? Are we going to be able to take the breaks we need to be healthy, both mentally and physically moving forward? So I think that the big things are job security and finance, health and safety of ourselves and our family, and that work-life balance.
How do we continue to push forward? Because we can only work at 120% for so long. Eventually there has to be a way for us to step back, take the break that we need for our personal mental and physical health.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you. And Brian.
BRIAN GOODELL: Well, I guess I can take the easy way out and say ditto to all the previous speakers. But I do have a couple there. What I believe the three top issues are obviously is COVID-19 and its impact to the staff and the employees here at Cornell University, not only for their jobs they have now, but for the transformation of those jobs in the future, what will become of those jobs for protection sake. We've seen some jobs get developed because of COVID-19. We've seen others that are a real sensitive and they need to be developed.
Job security and job safety, that's another top issue. I think that the staff and the employees are very concerned with their safety. I've been here and working with frontline staff and essential staff. And I can tell you that their safety is very important to them. And they're concerned.
Even though we're doing all this scientifically based stuff that we can at Cornell University, those concerns are genuine. I know that I have people that are worried about if they get it here and have to bring it back to their family. So there's genuine concern there.
I also have staff that are concerned, and I think this is number three top issue, is the cuts that happened already and that we're already done, surviving through them, and if there's more coming. I know that we took a big loss the last time we had an economic crisis here at the university. And it looks like we did again. And people want to know if that's going to be coming back to them afterwards when Cornell is doing well. So those are the three top issues I would say, and then ditto what everyone else said.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you. Moving on to question number two. It sounds like we're hearing a lot of employees being asked to work harder than ever in the midst of this pandemic. How will you as a trustee ensure that employees are adequately compensated and acknowledged for their efforts? I'm going to bring this over to Andrew first.
ANDREW PAGE: I think it's important to maintain the work-life balance, especially as we go through this pandemic and people's lives and the work that they're being asked to do. [INAUDIBLE] I think that one of the things that the university will have to do is a review of positions as we get through this and we find out what is the new normal. I think we're going to want to go back through and assess what are the new rules? What are the new types of positions? What are the new responsibilities?
And then make sure that those are being applied across the institution in an equitable way, so that people are not being saddled with additional responsibilities above and beyond with their current workload already was, and that these things don't become sort of hidden burdens that are done on the side or around the fringe. I think it's going to be important that we do take that step back and do that reckoning.
There's going to be reckoning that's going to have to happen I think not just across the job descriptions and the types of roles that people are doing, but also across all the services that we offer. And to what extent this is a responsibility of the board of trustees, I think, it's likely more of an operational responsibility that should be executed by the leadership at the university. But I do think that the board trustees will have a role to play to identify these types of issues and raise them as priorities as appropriate.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you. Moving on to Anthony.
ANTHONY MCCABE: Yes, I believe that we've done a good job, I think, acknowledging the employees who have been identified as essential and have had to continuously work since the onset of the pandemic. My staff of 30 custodians on the West Campus have not had a break. They've been here continuously and continued to work to support the students and the West Campus.
And although there's been a good deal of acknowledgment, which is wonderful, and it's greatly appreciated, I feel that some type of almost a hazard compensation premium would be in order. Because these people are exposed to a great deal more-- not only more risk, but the changes that are taking place on campus, it's pretty stressful and it's overwhelming. And although our staff are stepping up and doing a fantastic job, again I believe some compensation for consideration of their position would be in order. And so, yeah, I think that we do we do acknowledge them, but the compensation would also be favorable.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you. Moving on to Reginald.
REGINALD WHITE: So I want to just go back for a second and add a fourth issue to the conversation around the three issues. And that issue is diversity inclusion. So one of the things that's been happening is that we've been-- in the midst of the pandemic, we've also had the protests and the concerns around Black Lives Matter, those kinds of things. So I want to put that on the table as well.
I think this issue of how do we compensate people for the time and the effort that they've been putting in during the pandemic, I think that's a real issue. From a human resource perspective, we're constantly asking this question. And I think we have to weigh that with the financial realities of the current situation.
So as Brian pointed out, we have in this situation experienced losses, and we are likely to continue to experience losses until we get this pandemic under control. And so, realistically acknowledgment is the best we can do at this particular point. Yes, we'll have to, when things settle down, have to look at where we are and make decisions that are consistent with our capacity to afford those kinds of things, both at the individual level, but also at the university level.
So I think we'll have to weigh the financial constraints, and challenges, and opportunities that we have with the need to acknowledge people and to show them that we appreciate the work that they've put in to help us get through this difficult time.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you. Moving on to Jeramy.
JERAMY KRUSER: This is a great question, and it goes right into what I was talking about in the previous, of work-life balance, and how do we compensate for the extra ask that's going on right now. Because there are a huge number of us right now working at 120% and have been working at 120% since the beginning of COVID.
Our facilities folks, Brian and Andy, will certainly attest to-- Andy and I both working and in CIT can attest to the extreme stresses and hours put upon our IT folks. It's across the board that we are, through our dedication to the university, really putting in this extra effort. And we're facing challenges that we've never really seen before.
This isn't, as Andy pointed out, this isn't actually something that's addressed directly by the board. This is delegated down to the administration, to Mary Opperman's office. And the way forward with that-- with working on ways to develop compensation is really to work with the HR, Mary Opperman's office. Work with your Employee Assembly. They are dedicated and involved in this.
And really building those collaborative groups, because they are genuinely interested in our benefit and our best interests. So we're going to work with them. We're going to find ways that once the resources become available to do more than just say thank you to those folks that are now putting in well beyond the normal amount of effort.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you. And Brian.
BRIAN GOODELL: And I do agree with Jeramy on working with the Employee Assembly and HR. I've seen some positive changes happen through the Employee Assembly. As I said, I was chairing the Benefits and Policy Committee, and we were able to change the bereavement policy with the input of the Employee Assembly and pass that through to the president. So that's one way of changing.
But as a trustee, I personally would advocate for the employees to be fully compensated for all that they have given to the university during this time, especially after we get out of this crisis. I know that the sun will shine tomorrow, so this crisis isn't going to be forever. And it's when we come out of it that we've got to remember who got us through it.
And that's what's important to me. I think that that's where we've got to do the most advocating. And that's when we've got to remember who got us to this point, who saved us. And that's essential employees and the ones that continued to work through this pandemic.
And I have some that work for me, a phenomenal crew of building care workers. They've done a remarkable job. And I've seen facilities people every day pouring their hearts in, trying to make this campus safe and open for everybody that's involved. So I think that we have to just remember those people, and use those sources that we already talked about. But we have to remember who got us through it.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you very much. I've noticed some feedback in regards to the order. So I will be changing the order. So please, panelists, bear with me. So the next question we're going to move onto is this. Retention of diverse staff populations remains an issue at large throughout the university. What are some of your initial ideas, concerns, on how to address this issue? And how will you advocate for the recruitment and retention of diverse populations in this role? I'm going to do reverse order now. I'm going to begin with you, Brian.
BRIAN GOODELL: You caught me off guard just a little bit, but that's all right. So the first thing, retention of people, is I think we need to look at how we are hiring currently. I think that we need to evaluate that. I've been on a few hiring committees. I think that those are things that we could do better within our means.
The other thing is, when we're looking, when we're going outside of the university, we need to look locally a little bit more. I don't think that we get a lot of local participation. And just to say that it's just not interested I think it's a cop out. I think that we do have some people locally that would be interested in creating a more diverse workforce if we tapped into those resources, and honed in on that, and educate people that there's some great opportunities here at Cornell for them as well.
It's not just limited to people outside. So those are a couple things I would do. I served on a couple committees during-- not long ago, we had Lynette Chappell-Williams here as an advocate. And I served on a couple of her committees. And we were looking at diversity on campus. And tapping into resources at hand I think would be a great way to add diversity to our great institution.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you. Moving on to Jeramy.
JERAMY KRUSER: Support and belonging are really key. I think that talking about hiring practices is great. We follow all of the expected outreach for hiring, but I think one of the places that we really need to put some more work in is once we've got members from underrepresented communities here on campus, we need to provide them with the support to actually continue within those roles. We need to be finding ways to encourage that sense that not only have we invited you here, but this is where you belong. You are part of our community.
And I think that in the short term that means we need to develop new ways of virtual community making. When we start looking at longer term, do we have ways to celebrate and encourage, not just bringing people from diverse backgrounds into the Cornell community, but expanding what Cornell community means to include those diverse backgrounds and celebrating those is important.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you. Moving on to Reginald.
REGINALD WHITE: This is a really interesting question and an important question. From my human resource perspective, I know that for years this issue of retention of professionals of color has been a challenge. Our turnover rate is significantly higher. In my role as the Chair of the Men of Color, you can imagine this is a concern for us. We see more people leaving.
And I think that when I talk to people about the issue, in part it is, as Jeremy mentioned, this idea of belonging. But in addition to that, it's providing opportunities for people to develop their careers. It's providing opportunities, the support piece, so providing training, providing opportunities for promotion, this the sense of I belong at Cornell, but I belong in the fabric of Cornell. I belong in the ways in which Cornell is moving forward, and that there are opportunities not only for the university to advance, but for the individuals themselves.
So when I've talked to people who have left, it's often because they've felt like they could not get the kinds of career opportunities here that they got in other places. And so part of it is giving the opportunities for people to develop here and recognizing that if people have the opportunity to stay here for 30 years, it's because, as Brian mentioned earlier, he's had lots of different opportunities, as I have in the years that I've been here. So I think it's about providing opportunities and creating that sense of belonging.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you. Moving on to-- excuse me-- Anthony.
ANTHONY MCCABE: Yes, I think this question leads to a another question regarding the anti-gay racist agenda. And with that, I would say that I first became involved with battling such issues 1986, when I joined my first affirmative action committee. And I have been involved with and supported diversity inclusion for the past 30 years.
Because some of things I realized is that none of us is as smart as all of us. And the more different we are, the stronger and smarter we are. And I believe that being on the board of trustees, I have an opportunity to interact with those people who manage the processes, whether it's recruitment, hiring, interviews, promotion boards. Because although when we think of anti-racist, we think of overt, conscious racism, but there's also biases, unconscious biases that we have.
And so I think there are some things, if we examine our own hiring and promotion process, that we can see that there's some things built in. For example, I know in interviewing some staff there were comments, well, that person doesn't speak English very well. So that's an impediment right there, is that there's a language barrier. So I think we need to look at what are the barriers to access, first of all, and then open those doors.
And then when we have people that are in Cornell, we need to have an open and fair promotion and development system, which I think Cornell has gone a long way in accomplishing that. So as a member of the board, again, I could work with different groups to identify bottlenecks or barriers to our goal. And then come up with solutions to improve.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you. And finally, Andrew.
ANDREW PAGE: Thank you. Yeah, I think it's an incredibly important question. And listening to my colleagues here respond, I have to agree with the key concepts of recruitment and retention concern, and how do you recruit from diverse populations at the university, and not just at the highest levels, where we may have funding to do outreach and do a national search. That's just simply not an option for the vast majority of our positions.
So how can we promote diverse recruitment at all levels of the institution. I think we have to start thinking about how we engage our community. Like Brian was saying, we need to get local. And I think there's opportunities to engage with the local school districts, with the local community colleges, with other regional institutions where we can do that type of recruitment and try to broaden the pool of those that we bring into the university across all levels of the institution.
And then I think the retention component is super critical and it's a difficult issue. Because I think we need to create, as Jeramy and others were saying, a sense of community. And Reginald, I think, hit it as well, where that community needs to be broad across the entire institution, so there's not silos. But also, we need to create I think support in the communities for various peoples of color or for other selected populations. So that you feel like you have that sense of belonging, not just with people who you identify with, but across the entire institution.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you. I'm going to combine two questions that were pre-submitted, and I'm going to do a random order for people to answer the questions. I want to give everybody an opportunity to be the first to answer the question. So the next question as a combined question that we have pre-selected is, can you describe the most important qualities of the employee elected trustee, what qualities must they have?
In addition, it sounds like the trustees operate at the highest level of the university governance. Can you describe what gives you the confidence to feel you are well prepared to operate at that high level? So I want to begin with Jeramy.
JERAMY KRUSER: So the three most important qualities the trustee must have and operating at the governing board. So communication is vital, as has been said by a number of folks. This isn't a position you can do alone. This isn't-- this is a representative position.
And as such, you need to have outreach and communication with staff members from across the university. You need to be hearing those stories that you don't live and using that to inform your voice on the board. Trust is vital, because there are often times that-- in fact, until the board has made a decision on something and made it public, you can't actually discuss what the process is and what's behind it. So you need to have the staff trust that you're going to make decisions in their best interest and that the voice that you're providing to the board of trustees is in their best interest.
And self motivation, because nobody is going to be behind you pushing here. You need to be able to identify places where you can be of benefit and be able to motivate yourself to be pushing on those spots where you can make an impact for the university.
What gives me experience is I've been on the EA, Employee Assembly, the University Assembly, and the Executive Committees of both. I've been the chair of the Campus infrastructure Committee. I've been involved in presidential task forces, one related to accessibility for web accessibility, University Codes and Judicial Committee. I've sat in the position as employee elected trustee now for two years. I've made good progress in that time.
I've attended meetings of every committee of the board. I continue to attend as many meetings as possible, even those committees that I don't have a vote in, because this helps me understand what's going on and helps me do the best that I can to be a representative of the staff community.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you. Moving on to Brian.
BRIAN GOODELL: OK, I'm on again. So what are the most important qualities a trustee must have? It's got to be-- availability would be one, be present. Outreach and communication would be another. Again, let your constituents know what you're working on and be as transparent as you can. And trust and relatable, you must know what issues affect these constituents. So those are things that I think are three qualities that you must have.
As for what previous experience you might have, I've been at Cornell for 30 years. That's a lot of experience rolled up there. As I said earlier, I've served in many capacities. I've worked in many areas on campus and believe that most experiences helped me gain a lot of insight to many of the employees concerns on campus.
I have served in different capacities over the years. I served on the Employee Assembly, the University Assembly, not only 20 years ago, but I'm serving there now. I was elected by my peers of the local UAW as their union president for three years. I rejoined the Employee Assembly and served the last term, where my peers elected me as a chair of the Benefits and Policy Committee, where I think we've done some fabulous work.
I feel that my combined experience would be beneficial to the employees if I'm elected your employee trustee. I've also served on many committees, Transportation Advisory Committee, Work and Family Advisory Council. Over the years I've served in many capacities. And I think all that experience would help me relate and share what's important to staff.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you, Brian. Moving onto Andrew.
ANDREW PAGE: Yes, thank you. So three things that I think the employee elected trustee would need to have, one I think is just good listening skill, the ability to really listen to an individual and understand what issues are affecting them. I think a lot of issues will be familiar to the trustee, but a lot of issues aren't going to be. They're going to be completely foreign to them because of the different walks of life that we all have. So I think that being able to listen is important.
And then hand-in-hand with that is the ability to take information from various sources, and be able to combine that together, and see trends, and understand, and be able to get at underlying issues based upon observations, or feedback that you're hearing from others, or other information sources that you might have.
And then the last trait that I think you would want to have is an ability to be strong at time management, be able to manage your time well, and also to then be able to execute well. I think that they'll be just a-- it's a big job. And so there's a lot that individual will have to be able to do.
As for myself, I've been at the university for a while as well, and have had a progressive responsibility here, and understand the need to be able to manage multiple tasks and priorities simultaneously, and have a track record of doing so. I've previously been involved with the Employee Assembly on the Communications Committee.
And I've also been involved with various efforts that involve the university leadership and occasionally board of trustees, supporting large events across the university, from graduations, to inaugurations, to the sesquicentennial. So I do have some visibility into the operations of the university at the highest level.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you. Moving on to Anthony.
ANTHONY MCCABE: Yes, I would say that more than ever, empathy and trying to understand what other people are going through, and what's important to them and why. Open mindedness, being like an empty vessel and taking in various perspectives, and trying to identify solutions. Accessibility, being available, being present, as Brian said, through participation in various committees and groups, and things like that, where you get a better sense of the day-to-day reality of staff.
And I have spent the last year-- I was the Vice Chair of Operations and Finance for the Employee Assembly, working regularly with the Executive Committee, which was a great opportunity to understand the dynamics of that committee and the inter-relationship with other groups and assemblies on campus.
And for the past 30 years, I've worked in senior management and interacted with officers, executives, et cetera. And so I'm very comfortable in presenting the position which I represent, and also being open and collaborative with others.
So I've had many positions. I've worked from custodian to senior management. I understand the nature of work for various people and the concerns that people have. And would really look to-- I feel I could represent then everyone well.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you. And finally, Reginald.
REGINALD WHITE: So I agree with some of the comments from others around some of the qualities. So the first one I would say is accessibility. The ability, as Jeramy pointed out, this is a position where you represent a group of people, the staff. And so being accessible as a way of being, being willing to talk to you, to engage with you, et cetera.
The second piece I'd say is a tolerance for ambiguity. So part of what I've learned in lots of different areas in terms of governance is that sometimes I think people make issues simple when they're there there's a level of complexity to them. And so this tolerance for ambiguity.
And what I call the other side of that is discernment. So being able to discern what is most important, how are the issues related, those kinds of things, I think are related there. And then finally, which leads to your second part of the question, this ability to have confidence and credibility, so that when you do speak, when you do represent the issues, that the other board members see you as someone who's credible in terms of sharing the perspective and representing it, but also in terms of being able to understand, again, the complexity of the issues that are at hand.
I've had lots of exposure in my-- prior to coming back to Cornell, I spent years in the corporate space. I've served on large boards and interacted with all levels of individuals. I've also, in my alumni role, was the president of the Human Ecology Alumni Association Board, which led me to having opportunities to interact with the deans.
And then I was also on Cornell Council. And so there's Trustee Council Weekend. And so I was interacting with the trustees on an annual basis. And so I feel like the experiences that I've had give me the opportunity to represent the staff well, but also to be credible in the midst of other trustees.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you. Now we're going to move on to the Q&A submitted by staff members. I'm going to try to combine some of these questions and try to have you address some of them together. So I'm going to bring this question over to Anthony. Not one candidate is woman identified. How will these candidates address issues specific to women staff on campus?
I'm going to combine that also with a question in regards to how you would support and advocate for staff with a disability. So how would you advocate for staff which you don't identify as, whether that is individuals with disabilities, women, other people of color? So I'm going to forward that question to Anthony first.
ANTHONY MCCABE: Certainly. Well, I guess with all underrepresented groups, underrepresented groups, again going back to empathy and understanding the situation, my views of diversity is all inclusive. And that it's not only groups, but individuals. So individuals have their needs, and their backgrounds, and their differences. So it's about understanding the needs.
For example, I'm not a woman. For me to say, well, I understand what women need, that would not be true, but I need to create opportunities for women's needs to be heard. Similar with people with disabilities, or people of color, or people who are facing barriers or obstacles to success that others might enjoy.
So I believe that creating opportunities for people to be heard is key. And I believe also that's the key to leadership too. Because we talk oftentimes about dignity and respect, and I think people minimize that. They say, well, as long as I don't yell at anybody or anything like that, I'm being respectful. But it's really about listening to people is being respectful. Hearing their ideas, and then acting upon that, getting back to them.
So as an employee elected to the trustee-- board of trustees, that would be really important to understand the needs of a diverse group and to properly represent those needs and concerns.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you, Anthony. I'm going to move on to Reginald.
REGINALD WHITE: So I'd echo some of what Anthony said around this. So we only have our own lived experience. We only have the identity that we associate with. But this goes back to my comment earlier around accessibility.
So being accessible, being someone who is open, who is empathetic, who listens from an authentic place, from the human experience around the challenges and obstacles that people are facing, and then is willing to, with a place of empathy, be willing to, as those conversations come up, as those issues come up, to be able to advocate on behalf of those people becomes a critical element in this conversation.
And so I think part of it is this just sort of an ability to recognize the limitations of our lived experience, the limitations of our capacity to fully experience what other people experience. But also to be empathetic enough to, and humble enough, to be able to say, I don't know what I don't know, but I'd like to know, and be curious in that space, and being in that exchange where because of understanding and listening to the perspectives of folks, that you're enhancing your, and enlarging your capacity for understanding the human experience. So I think we're all limited by our identities, but we all have the capacity to grow by the experience of listening and engaging with other human beings.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you, Reginald. Moving on to Jeramy.
JERAMY KRUSER: So as Reginald was saying, I can only live the life I have. And that what that means is that there is so much out there for me to learn from all of the people that I work with. They are my best teachers. And more than just being kind of a passive listener, I think we really need to continue to reach out and pursue these conversations.
And I know, Reggie, you do too, because we met in C Corps, where we were both actively pursuing some of these conversations that are difficult around race, around gender, and learning how to best have those conversations. And not just to listen, but to pursue those life experiences we can't live. So that we can better understand and better represent those lives that we can't personally experience.
And it goes back to what I was initially saying as one of the primary needs for a trustee, which is a need for communication and outreach. You need to be actively looking for ways to engage with staff, students, and faculty. Because we are representative of the entire university. Need to be finding ways to reach out and have those conversations. And when it becomes uncomfortable and difficult, that's a real good indication that you've got something to learn. And that's the point where you're learning something new.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you, Jeramy. Moving on to Brian.
BRIAN GOODELL: Wow, that was deep. And I really felt both Reginald and Jeramy, what they were saying there. I'm living in a land of privilege. I'm privileged to have a job at Cornell. And I'm privileged to be who I am. And it's really hard for some people to understand that if you have everything that you ever wanted, it's hard yet to see what people don't have.
And so we've got to throw ourselves into some uncomfortable position sometimes to try to find out what we can do to make it more equitable and inclusive. I worked on this as an EA member and a UA member 20 years ago when we endorsed open doors, open hearts, and open minds statement. That had a lot of impact and I think still does.
I am reminded when we face those struggles of a quote that Frederick Douglas said. He said, "If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet appreciate agitation, plant crops without plowing the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of the many waters. This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did and never will."
So I've thought-- I think about that. And I say, we've got so much further to go. And the only way we're going to do that is if we do start listening to each other and what they need.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you, Brian. Moving on to Andrew.
ANDREW PAGE: Thank you. So the key off of everything that I've heard so far from my colleagues here, there's a lot of wisdom in these words. But I do think it's, at the end of the day, about listening, and empathy, and self-awareness. And so being able to understand what people are saying, and listening to their experience, and trying to synthesize that, and really trying to feel what that situation is, or how others' lives are.
But also, having the self-awareness to understand where your biases might lie. And to think about, and think honestly about yourself and how you interact with others. And are you open as an individual? So I think for me, that's something that I like to dig into. And frankly, it's been something that I've only started to really reflect upon in the past year or so. But I do think that that's a key trait for someone in order to be able to represent others that you do not identify with. So again, it's the listening and the empathy, but also self-awareness.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you, Andrew. The next question from the Q&A is this. And I'm going to send this over to Reginald. Can the candidates share their thoughts on ways Cornell might build a stronger culture among management of valuing and taking advantage of institutional knowledge and experience brought by long-term employees, especially given the recent voluntary retirement incentive that will bring the departure of a large number of long-term employees? I'm going to send this to Reginald.
REGINALD WHITE: OK. That was a long question. So I think this is a challenge for organizations in general, is how do you keep-- how do you use the institutional knowledge, and take advantage of it, and allow yourself to grow as the world continues to change, as the requirements and the demands of whoever your constituencies are?
And so I think for Cornell, we are at that place where there are people who have been here for a number of years, and who are ready to think about their lives in different ways. They've made their contribution. They are ready to move on with their lives. And we have another generation, the younger generation, who are interested in engaging in the university and contributing to its future.
And so I think the opportunity for us as an organization is to continue to recognize the value in each of those positions, and even the people who are in between, who are not sure. They're not quite ready for retirement. And they've learned some things from the people who have been here for a long time.
But again, we're not heading backwards. We're heading into the future. And heading into the future means that we try to harness the knowledge and information that's been in terms of the way we used to do things. And we then take advantage of the opportunities that are present today so that we can continue to have relevance into the future.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you, Reginald. Moving this on to Jeramy.
JERAMY KRUSER: Sure, so to echo some of the things that the Reggie just said-- sorry, Reginald.
REGINALD WHITE: That's OK, Jeramy.
JERAMY KRUSER: We need-- this is kind of really poignant at the moment, particularly as we're facing early retirements. We're seeing a lot of our long-standing employees leaving the organization. The question of how do we retain and make use of this institutional knowledge is immediate. We're facing it right now.
And I think that that Cornell has-- the administration has really put a premium on that experience as part of-- we're facing unprecedented budget shortfalls, yet one of the primary focus has been on staff retention and retaining staff. We don't-- we're not facing nearly the cuts that we're seeing in some other similarly sized organizations. And that's through the efforts and the attention to our staff.
So I think that one is keeping the folks that want to stay here, maintaining that institutional knowledge. Advocating for mentoring I think is important. And we're doing that. We're working on mentoring programs. You've seen that through some of the recent developments in the gig promotions.
And the last is, as Reggie was saying, we need to stay flexible though. We're not-- it's not about the past. It's about where we're going. And we need to ensure that where we're going we have the proper flexibility to adjust as needed into the future.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Moving on to Brian. And again, to reiterate the question, can you express your thoughts on ways Cornell will build a stronger culture among management of valuing and taking advantage of institutional knowledge and experience. Brian.
BRIAN GOODELL: One of the things I've tried to do since I've been at Cornell is record my experience. I think it's my job to pass on something of my years here and to retain that knowledge. If I'm doing all this work for 30 years, and most of it's just going to be thrown to the wayside, then I kind of feel like I wasted that time.
So I try to record it by doing datas. And right where I'm at now, we created a scheduling system, so it can be passed on to the next generation, and the next person that comes behind me, so they don't lose what we've already worked on. So that's very important.
We also need to tap into our history why it's here. I've been telling people this right along that we should get as much information as we can from the people who've been doing it for the longest time. That way we don't lose that. Cross training, those are opportunities where we can tap into that.
To retain the institutional knowledge, we need to know what they've done and what they need to do. But we can look at the future that way too. I see the future as I don't want to see us doing full circle, and continue to do the same things over, and over, and over if they're wrong. I would like to see us do things in the future that are right. And say-- and somebody say, well, we did try that once, and this is the results. Let's use that knowledge to our advantage and make it a better future.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you, Brian. Moving on to Andrew.
ANDREW PAGE: I think one of things we can do is as leaders is mature our process, management processes. So that when things are done, it's not reliant necessarily on institutional knowledge, but it's in a way tied back into a larger process, a documented process so that that can live on. And these are the types of things that they can't just be done, and then put on a shelf, and never looked at again. Really, they need to evolve and in an ongoing way, and have leadership that is responsive and reviewing those as situations change, to make sure that those processes as they're documented are evolving.
There's always going to be some reliance on institutional knowledge. It's inevitable given the complexity of this institution. And also, the way that we're asked to respond and quickly adapt to emerging situations. So that's going to happen. But the more that I think you can embrace mature processes and documented processes, the less reliance you're going to have on institutional knowledge.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you, Andrew. And Anthony.
ANTHONY MCCABE: Yes, thank you, Hei Hei. Yes, I believe what's needed is a significant cultural shift in how we lead and manage. And by that, I mean I fell in love with Cornell five years ago when I read about the value systems here and what we pursue. But the reality is in the workplace you do not always see those values acted out.
For example, I was with a government organization for 30 years who was very top down and autocratic. And I spent three of those years reporting to the district executive-- we had 8,000 employees in our district-- of facilitating a change and teaching on different management principles, called participative management, what you could also call inclusive management.
So what we need to do is present opportunities for employees to participate in decisions that are made that impact them. And so I think we have the thoughts on it. We need to implement it. That's on leadership. We need to prepare our leadership, from a line level manager to a director, how to engage people, how to create an inclusive environment so people can share that knowledge they have.
And when Andrew spoke of process management, absolutely we need to document. We need to come up with what, collectively, what are the best ways to do things, document those things, and standardize them across the university. But we need to do that collectively. And it relies on leadership.
I can't keep control and power to myself. I need to share it. And with that, I will mention that my preferred method of leadership is called servant leadership. And that's a concept that I am looking to promote across the campus in any capacity that I can to have that influence. To lead is to serve. And when we are in service to our employees, we are a lot more successful.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you, Anthony. I'm going to move on to a question. And I'm going to have Jeramy answer this first. This is a question that was partially answered in the beginning, from Christopher Dunn, who asks, there are many issues facing society at large that Cornell must address and for which trustees must offer guidance.
These include climate change, fossil fuels, and racial justice. What does each candidate believe is the top-most issue, which I believe was addressed, and how would he encourage the trustees to deal with it? So how would you encourage trustees to deal with these issues? I'm going to bring this over Jeramy.
JERAMY KRUSER: Boy, so picking a top-most issue in the current climate is really difficult, because there are so many. There are several vital issues that need to be addressed right now. And I don't think you can give a first, second, third place to issues that affect the lives of our staff.
All right, so, the inclusion and belonging, I think, has to be up on top. We're seeing across the nation a real issue with inclusion, diversity, and racism. And that's a-- we are not isolated from that at Cornell. We need to acknowledge that and address that as an issue. You mentioned global climate change.
While the Cornell board of trustees is not going to solve global climate change, I do think that we have a role to play in working against something that genuinely is killing people. And we need to be on the right side of history as that goes forward. So I couldn't pick one thing to say this is the thing. Because when it is literally affecting the lives and livelihoods of our staff, I'm not going to play for second, third place on these things.
But what I can say is that as far as leadership, we need to be confident that we can use our voice even in those spaces where it's not comfortable, it's not always welcome. That we can make a statement that we need to not only look at our bottom line, but also our ethical stance, and are we on the right side of history. What are we going to look like in the future? What is our fiduciary responsibility to the reputation of the university?
JERAMY KRUSER: Thank you, Jeramy. Moving on to Brian.
BRIAN GOODELL: I have to agree that there's too many issues for the trustees, many issues, many vital issues. To pick one would be relatively hard. It would be difficult. Obviously, inclusion and belonging is at the forefront of many people's lives. And we've got to look at that issue. The global climate change, what our footprint is and how we can reduce that footprint of carbon emissions.
Ethics, the future. One that's going to be on the top of everyone's mind right now, obviously, is COVID-19, and the after effects of that, and where that's going to get us, and what that's going to lead to. There's many issues that I would consider top issues. I don't think I can just say one, but there's many of them.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you, Brian. Andrew.
ANDREW PAGE: So I think one of the main issues, and I think it's a place where Cornell can have a significant impact, given the nature of the institution, is in climate change. I do see Cornell as being uniquely positioned to be a leader in this space and to help foster a new economy that will be able to address the issues of climate change. I think it's a-- if we're to have a rosy future in front of us for the next 100 years, 150 years, humanity will have to fundamentally change the way we do things.
And it all ties back, I think, into these other issues. But in my mind, the thing that I find most pressing is around climate change. And it is a place where I do feel that the university could really take a leadership role and be able to contribute and create the technologies, and contribute to the technologies, and the ways of going about thinking that that will have to lead to a solution forward. I think it's going to be a complete retooling of our economy. And it's going to take great institutions like this one to lead that way.
I don't know to what extent that is a place for a member of the board of trustees to dictate or to contribute to the direction that the university goes, but I do think it's something that as an institution we should be considering heavily. Thank you.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you, Anthony.
ANTHONY MCCABE: Yes, thank you, Hei Hei. I think if you look, you'll see a key part of my platform is that I pursue what I call organizational justice, which involves an issue that is really relevant today. And that is summarized by President Pollack and Vice Provost August. I believe yesterday they came out with a document discussing racial justice initiatives. So I think that addressing racial injustice in all its various forms head on is absolutely necessary.
Because today, we have, in the past 6 months, especially, we've all seen we've exposed the underbelly of the beast. OK, it's brought out many of the worst biases and traits of people, hatred, et cetera. So we really need to combat that, stemming first from within our Cornell community, but then expand to our local community we're involved in, and really have a positive influence. And in doing that, we address a lot of our internal needs, because we do want equality and fair access, whether it's through disabilities or cultural differences and like that.
So again, that I believe, is a key opportunity for the board of trustees to really look at that situation of racial injustice that has been inflamed, and how do we contribute to dealing with that in a positive way.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you, Anthony. And finally, Reginald.
REGINALD WHITE: So I'm going to agree with some of the points earlier around this idea that there are-- and this is where I said earlier this idea of tolerance for ambiguity. So as important as I think some of these issues are, they have to-- as a board of trustees, this whole issue of governance means that you actually have to be able to look at the whole university, where it is today, and begin to think about where it needs to go into the future. And then start to prioritize where are the decisions that need to be made at that particular time.
And so, one issue, obviously, that we talked about earlier, is that the financial stability of the university. The future of the university is the first and foremost responsibility of the trustees. And so right now, that's what we're-- that's what I expect they're dealing with, and I hope they're dealing with. And I would want to be engaged in those conversations.
In addition, I think the issues of climate change, I think the issues of racial justice, and looking at the university through the lens of anti-racism is critical, and are opportunities for us going forward. Using-- I represent researchers. And so research, using research and using the expertise that we have as an institution as access points to these things, and finding ways to demonstrate that Cornell, using Jeramy's phrase, we're on the right side of history around these things.
I think these are opportunities for the board of trustees. And I think as a representative, I would try to balance the immediate needs of the university with the needs for the future and walk that fine line. Because I expect that's what being a trustee and having responsibility for governance requires.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you, Reginald. Moving on to a question that was submitted, pre-submitted, and trying to merge that with some of the feedback we're getting online, using the-- so I'm going to send this question over to Anthony. Using the current 2021 operating and capital budget plan as a base, what changes, if any, would you like to see in Cornell's spending priorities?
Combining that with an anonymous Q&A in regards to the management of the endowment and identification of alternative revenue sources, can you speak a little bit more to how important it is to address these issues with the trustees at a time when there's a lot of uncertainty, financial?
ANTHONY MCCABE: Well, I believe it's important to strike a balance between various needs, the need for students in financial aid, the needs for staff, and income security, and benefits, and parents, and students, and faculty. So really have to look at all the constituents represented by the board of trustees and try to find some balance.
And I think what's important in any situation is to share information. For example, being on the Employee Assembly, I became aware of some many impediments just to accessing the endowment, for example. So I think as people can understand what latitudes the organization has is helpful. Because we will all sit there and say, well, why don't we do this or that based on what we feel our priorities are.
So I think that sharing information is important as to the decision making process. And then I think it's important also-- there was an earlier question about working at Cornell. And I think one of the things that's important is trust. Because times that are trying like this really edges at trust. Am I fairly represented and supported and things like that?
And personally, I look to our leadership, President Pollack, Mary Opperman, et cetera, as painstakingly trying to find a balance to support us. And I think that the board of trustees would be in the same position, that every decision regarding the budget is a painful and thoughtful decision, being mindful of all the people represented.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you, Anthony. Reginald.
REGINALD WHITE: I think this is-- first, in terms of the operating budget, as you can imagine, much of our revenue in terms of how we spend money, we have three, in my mind, three basic categories. We have the people. We spend money on our staff. We spend money on our facilities. We start spend money on the financial aid to support our students.
Those three things become our critical priorities to maintain the presence and the prestige of the university. And so I can't imagine that I would suggest that we not continue to invest in those particular areas. They're the sort of lifeblood of who we are as a university.
But I think, as Anthony mentioned, this idea-- you heard early on that people are asking about the endowment, and why can't we tap into the endowment, et cetera. There are restrictions in those kinds of issues. And so, I think it matters not to simplify these things and to understand the complexity of the finances that Cornell is dealing with, both in Ithaca and throughout our other campuses.
And then I think, finally, this question around alternative revenue sources. We are-- I know this from the research standpoint, we are constantly looking at things that we, as from the research side, can contribute to revenue sources in terms of opportunities for advancing and promoting Cornell research and the intellectual property that comes from that.
So I think it's a broad-- there are broad issues there. And we still have our priorities. And I wouldn't make significant changes. But I think we can continue to look for opportunities to enhance our revenue sources.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you, Reginald. Jeramy.
JERAMY KRUSER: This is a tough question, because I don't think that there has been so much attention paid and debate around the operating budget in recent memory. This is-- again, we use the word unprecedented because it genuinely is. We're in a tough spot. But honestly, I'm thankful for the careful planning of our budgeting office, Joanne DeStefano.
And after the last economic downturn, they made some adjustments to the way we do our finance that actually has significantly improved the position we're in now. And it's the reason why we've been able to not lay off as many employees as we might have otherwise. So I just want to put that out there.
Still, we're pulling an unprecedented-- nearly unprecedented amount out of endowment because of the budget shortfalls that we're seeing right now. And we're really walking the line at this point. We're down to, as Reggie was saying, we're paying our staff, we're making sure our students-- we can maintain a needs blind institution and allow students regardless of economic background who are qualified to attend the university. And the rest is keeping the lights on.
And we're really at that point. And that's with pulling a massive amount out of our endowment. And just for the folks that may not understand that, in talking about long-term versus short-term, that endowment is a major percentage of our operating budget.
So if we tap into that, we lose that long-term return on those investments. And a significant portion of our long-term finance that would negatively impact our staff down the road. So we need to really balance and walk that line of immediate gains versus long-term needs for the university.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you, Jeramy. Brian.
BRIAN GOODELL: Did you say Brian? OK, sorry I didn't hear you. So we tackled this thing a couple times. As chair of the Benefits and Policy Committee, and with the help of the committee, we sponsored and later the EA passed a resolution, EA R1, which was a resolution to support continued employment from the Cornell staff with no salary cuts or retirement cuts. We made a formal request to the administration to incorporate reasonable alternatives to such actions.
The changes I would like to see or like to advocate for, and keep in mind I'm advocating for the employees, would be to do more looking into Cornell's assets and see what cuts could be made there instead of further cuts to the employees. Cornell has many alternatives available to address the current financial crisis, such as no or low-interest loans, assets being liquidated, and the endowment.
I know the endowment, nobody wants to touch, so I'd leave as a last resort. But I would also ask the administration to tap into the frontline workers, and survey where these cuts can be made, and how they should be made. There's a lot of good, positive suggestions out there from the staff that I've talked to on where we can look at future savings. And I don't think we're tapping into that totally.
I also believe that we have a lot of resources that we should tap into and we haven't yet. So that's where I would look at trying to at least get us back on the right setting. The future has a lot to offer, but we have to all work together to get there.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you, Brian. And finally, Andrew.
ANDREW PAGE: Thank you. I think it's a difficult, complicated question. And I don't have any good answers of how to address the operation budget. I do think that having a diversified revenue stream is important, looking at the budget and seeing the new revenue that's coming in from E-Cornell. I think that's a movement in the right direction, where we can start to develop revenue streams that don't have the same operational overheads as they have to run a large physical plant.
But at the same time, it's a double-edged sword, because those revenues can be impacted in unexpected ways. So we saw this as well with the medical campus. We have a large amount of revenue coming in from their clinical practice. And we saw that get disrupted by COVID. So it was sort of a double whammy, where the revenue there was impacted, plus the suspension of classes at the same time. But I do think, again, having that diversified revenue stream is important.
But also, there's I think a fundamental issue that the cost that we have to deliver these services, to deliver a higher education to students, goes up, but yet the perceived value of the product that we're delivering doesn't go up in the same way. So this gets sort of reflected in a higher, and higher, and higher tuition percentage versus the inflation. So that's another issue. And again, I think maybe some modern technology tools will be able to help us address that increased overhead cost for delivering higher education.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you, Andrew. It looks like we're almost out of time. I want to provide a moment right now for everybody to provide a closing statement. So everybody is going to have a minute to provide that opening statement. And I'm going to begin with Reginald.
REGINALD WHITE: So I'd like to just thank my fellow panelists and folks who are candidates for this opportunity to have the chance to talk to you today. I'd also like to thank Hei Hei for moderating this panel. And so what I'd say in terms of my candidacy is, what I hope is that I've demonstrated to you that my background, my experience, my exposure to the staff, and to faculty, and to students at Cornell, has greatly enhanced my capacity to be effective in the role of being a trustee.
I feel like this is an opportunity. Anthony mentioned the idea of servant leadership. For me, that's where this is coming from, this idea that I have the ability to give back to Cornell a modicum of what it's been able to give to me as an individual. So thank you for the opportunity. I would love the opportunity to have your support. Even if I don't prevail, I love the opportunity to engage in this conversation. So thank you for the opportunity.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you, Reginald. Moving on to Jeramy.
JERAMY KRUSER: Thank you, Hei Hei. And thank you everyone for attending. My esteemed colleagues on the panel here, as well, I will continue-- I have worked with you before, and will continue to regardless of the outcome of this election. I really appreciate the variety of backgrounds that you bring and the support that you've provided.
I would love to continue in this role for a full term. I've had a half a term. And I feel like I've gotten some initiative started that I'd really like to put more effort into and see developed a little further. But I have every faith that anyone sitting on this panel would do a wonderful job. So there really isn't a losing decision here for our staff. And I really appreciate that. I wish you all the best. And I hope everybody stays happy and healthy.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you, Jeramy. Moving on to Brian.
BRIAN GOODELL: I first would like to thank the panelists, each and every one of them. I've reached out and talked to many of them and worked with them. And as Jeremy said, I don't think that there's a bad choice out of the group. Thank you, Hei Hei for moderating this. I'd like to also thank the assembly office and those that support them for putting this together.
There was a question earlier that I wanted to hit, but I don't know if we got to it, but it was various styles of management and leading. I am predominately a mix of two different leadership styles. I'm a mix of the democratic style leadership and a coach style leadership. I believe that all the answers that we're looking for are right in the midst of us and we're just overlooking some of them.
I think that our greatest resources are the staff, the employees of this fine university. And I think that if we tap into them more, and ask them exactly how to get out of it, we'll get the answers we need. We are so good at looking at resources, it's time we look inside at our own resources, and hopefully come up with ways to get out of where we're at and move forward. I am very appreciative of this opportunity and being able to work with everybody. And I'm hoping that you'll give me your vote and we can go further.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you. I'm going to move this over to Andrew.
ANDREW PAGE: Yes, thank you. Thank you, Hei Hei, for moderating this panel. And thank you all who made time to attend. I just want to reiterate what I heard from Jeremy, and from Brian, and others, that I'm very impressed by this panel, by the candidates. I think the university has a strong slate of candidates for the employee elected trustee position. And so I do think that no matter what it's going to be a good outcome for the university.
I do hope that everyone is able to stay safe, take a break, relax, breathe, find your center. And we will get through all of this. So thank you and have a great afternoon.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you. And finally, Anthony.
ANTHONY MCCABE: Yes, thank you. Those of you that have met me know this, I'm on a mission. OK, and my mission, my life's purpose has led me here. Because my life's purpose is about creating and improving the quality of work life for all people. And that's why I talk about justice, organizational justice, not only to espouse the values that we want, but to see them, and even have accountability to see that they are implemented.
I'm guided by this thought. It's organizing and managing for dignity, meaning, and community, so that all leaders really are responsible to help their employees find dignity in what they do, find meaning in what they do. How does it fit into the overall mission? How is it supported? Why is it important? That's part of the leader's role.
And then community, helping people feel a sense of belonging. When people feel like they belong, they contribute a lot more. So that's part of the servant leadership, is that we have to have effective leadership at all levels of the organization, so that we can truly become an inclusive management organization. God bless everybody.
HEI HEI DEPEW: Thank you, all. I want to just reflect what I've seen in the chat. It seems like, and I agree, that we've got five very well-positioned candidates. I think you've all done a great job of representing yourselves and where you stand with these issues. I thank you all for your time. I thank you for-- I thank all the attendees here. Feel free to vote. Voting begins September 14th. And with that, I hope you all have a great day. Thank you again for participating in this forum. Take care.