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Interest Group Takes 9 of 10 Alumni Council Seats

The most contentious Penn State Alumni Council election in recent memory is finally over. After the dust settled, ten Penn State alumni were elected to serve on the Alumni Association’s 86-member governing board, including nine of ten from the newly formed PSAAforAll group.

Those victorious include: David Paterno (yes, the son), Bradley Mitchell, Karen Keller, Susan Wilson, Laurie Stanell, Michael Kirschner, Toni Knoll, Gary Werkheiser, James Smith, and Elizabeth Morgan. All but Keller were endorsed by the PSAAforAll group, which can be most basically described as the PS4RS of the Alumni Association, with its stated goal to “speak for the truth. Loudly.” For all the publicity this year, voter turnout saw only a negligible increase of 0.27%, or a total of 5.58 percent of 136,059 eligible voters.

This year’s election was not without controversy. When the ballot was released in early February, a group of seven alumni were excluded because of (alleged) factors ranging from lack of leadership experience to lack of service within the organization, outgoing Alumni Association Executive Director Roger Williams said at the time.

A number of lawsuits were filed as a result, including one by four university trustees – Ted Brown, Anthony Lubrano, Bill Oldsey, and Alice Pope – after being excluded from the ballot due to a purported conflict of interest. Alumni Council eventually voted to amend its bylaws to expressly prohibit sitting trustees from serving, and the four alumni trustees were never able to get their names on the ballot. However, winners Smith and Morgan were allowed on the ballot after initially being rejected by the opaque Alumni Association nominating committee, which screens candidates who obtain the required 50 signatures to appear on the ballot (it came out in the court that the committee only ever rejected one candidate before this year — and that was because the candidate turned out to not be a member of the Alumni Association).

For another summation of the controversy this year, John Hook wrote a well reasoned column last month for StateCollege.com. In any case, Alumni Council meetings ought to be a lot more fun next year (all two of them) after each of the ten elected members begin their three-year terms on July 1.

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