I was dismayed but not in any way surprised to read the guest essay on the lack of  transparency in the Alumni Trustee election process. My own experience with that process closely echoes what is described in the essay.

In late 2023 a colleague submitted a nomination on my behalf for the Region I election set to occur in April 2024. The colleague immediately received the standard automated acknowledgment but after several weeks I heard nothing else about the status of my nomination.  After reaching out to the trustee staff via email, I was told that I had missed the deadline for nominations. I would have graciously accepted that explanation had the deadline been published anywhere on the Committee to Nominate Alumni Trustees website. 

The website was completely devoid of any information on the following:

1.  The time frame for submitting nominations.

2.  The selection criteria employed by the committee to determine nominees (the most important of all).

3.  The process for notifying both successful and unsuccessful nominees.

4.  How the members of the committee are themselves selected.

The essay authors also mentioned the prohibition on nominees issuing campaign platforms or statements, a curiously undemocratic rule unfortunately shared by peer schools such as Harvard and Yale. I try to imagine candidates for a local town council or school board being prohibited from telling voters what issues they intend to address if elected. I suppose we are to just trust these candidates? I suppose the administration is afraid that trustees will speak their minds in a manner contradictory to the positions held by the administration?

I have spoken about this issue with a handful of other dissatisfied alumni, but I was not aware that there were others who shared our sentiments. I am hopeful that enough alumni join the essay authors in advocating common-sense reforms to the process.

Richard Golden ’91
Pottstown, Pa.