University Charter and charge to the Committee

University Charter Clauses Pertinent to Elected Trustees

Cornell’s Charter is part of New York State Law. NYS Education Law Article 115, Section 5703.1.d, quoted here:

Board trustees. Fifty-six trustees shall be selected in such manner and for such terms as the board of trustees may determine. At all times, such board trustees shall include at least: two members from each of the fields of agriculture, business and labor in New York state; eight trustees to be elected from among and by the alumni of the university; two trustees to be elected from among and by the faculty of the university at Ithaca and Geneva; two trustees to be elected from among and by the membership of the university’s student body at Ithaca; and one trustee to be elected from among and by the nonacademic staff and employees of the university at Ithaca and Geneva.

University Bylaws Pertinent to Elected Trustees

The university bylaws further clarify the student and employee elected trustee positions.

Article II, Section 2.a.(4) details the positions open to students and non-academic staff:

(d) Two trustees shall be elected from among and by the membership of the University’s student body at Ithaca for terms of two years each, one being elected each year.
(e) One trustee shall be elected from among and by the nonacademic staff and employees of the University at Ithaca and Geneva for a term of four years.

Article II, Section 5 of the University Bylaws defines the constituencies for student and employee trustee elections:

Election of Trustees by Other Constituencies: The election of trustees by any faculty, student or employee constituency shall be conducted in accordance with election regulations adopted by the Board of Trustees from time to time. For the purposes of such elections (i) the voting membership of the University Faculty shall be as defined in the first paragraph of Article XII, Section 1., of these Bylaws; (ii) the student body of the University at Ithaca shall consist of those persons registered as students in one of the academic divisions of the University at Ithaca and possessing a currently valid student identification card indicating such registration; and (iii) the employees of the University shall consist of those persons employed at Ithaca and Geneva (including both nonacademic and nonprofessorial academic employees) who are not members of the University Faculty as defined in Article XII of these Bylaws and who are not students as defined in (ii) above.

Charge of the Trustee Nominating Committee

Additionally, the Board of Trustees has approved a specific charge for the Trustee Nominating Committee to guide it in executing student and employee trustee elections.

As approved by the Board of Trustees on Saturday, 20 October 2007:

Nominating Committee

There shall be a nominating committee consisting of:

  1. Up to four current or former trustees, appointed by the Board of Trustees. One of whom shall be a current or former faculty-elected trustee, up to two of whom shall be the incumbent student trustees, and one of whom shall be a current or former employee-elected trustee. An employee-elected trustee or a student-elected trustee who is a candidate for reelection shall not be appointed.
  2. Two undergraduate student members, named by the Student Assembly, and one graduate or professional student member named by the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, who are not candidates for the trustee position.
  3. In the years when there is an employee-elected trustee vacancy, three employee members named by the Employee Assembly. These individuals shall not be candidates for the trustee position, and shall, insofar as possible, represent statutory and endowed, exempt and nonexempt employees.
  4. Chairperson - The Chairperson shall be elected by the Board of Trustees from among the trustee members. A Vice Chairperson may also be appointed.

All members of the committee shall serve one-year terms, starting as soon as possible at the beginning of the academic calendar year and ending on the last day of scheduled exams for that academic calendar year.

The duties of the Committee shall be as follows:

  1. To nominate candidates for student and employee-elected trustee positions. In doing so, the Committee shall seek out individuals who have a demonstrated record of participation in campus activities and a commitment to the betterment of the University. The Committee shall seek individuals representing different interests and groups. Individuals may self-nominate. Both Committee-endorsed and self-nominated candidates must provide nominating petitions on which 200 signatures from their constituency shall be required.
  2. To provide an education program for nominees before the start of the election. This shall consist of a discussion with:
    1. Several current members of the Board of Trustees, which would include responsibilities of a Board member - legal, fiduciary, work, etc.; the broad, non-constituency role of each member of the Board; participation on the Board and its committees.
    2. The President and members of her staff.
    3. The University Counsel and Secretary of the Corporation.
  3. To provide for education of the community about the candidates. It shall set basic guidelines for the process of individual candidates making them known in the community. As part of this, it should ensure those nominees’ credentials, data about his/her participation at Cornell, and other such relevant information are made available to the campus. This should include opportunities for the campus community to meet the nominees as well as providing information through die media.


The Office of the Assemblies shall conduct elections. The election shall be a direct election with the successful candidates being seated as student-elected or employee-elected trustees.