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Alumni Council Ballot Announced Amid Controversy

Another year, another controversy surrounding the Penn State Alumni Council election ballot. The ballot, announced last week, includes 31 candidates vying for 10 positions on the 90+ member Alumni Association governing body, but there were some controversial omissions.

To gain a position on the Alumni Council ballot, candidates are evaluated by a Nomination Council, which utilizes a rubric of sorts to score the council hopefuls. In general, the rubric looks at activeness and participation within the Alumni Association. Candidates needed 17 points out of a possible 25 to earn a spot on the ballot.

However, in recent history, that nomination process has excluded those who have been critical of university leadership and the Board of Trustees — particularly people associated with the PS4RS group (or at least sympathetic to some of the group’s views). For instance, Ryan Bagwell, who operates the Penn State Sunshine Fund and who has sued to get documents related to the handling of the Sandusky situation, Tweeted that he was rejected from the ballot. Linda Berkland, an active PS4RS member, Tweeted the same.

This isn’t the first year there has been controversy surrounding the Alumni Council ballot. The 2015 election saw seven alumni originally excluded from the ballot by the Nomination Committee, which cited a lack of leadership and activeness in the Association. The ballot was later amended to include two candidates following a lawsuit. Several alumni trustees also unsuccessfully fought to be included on the on the Alumni Council, and the Council’s bylaws were later amended to disclude current trustees (this, despite the fact that the immediate past president of the Alumni Association automatically becomes a trustee after their Alumni Association term).

Alumni Association CEO Paul Clifford was quick to point out the ballot and the Nomination Council on Twitter, even to those who were denied a position on the ballot. You can find the candidates below and the list of current council members here.

Edward Bardella ’85 Hbg
Brian Binkley ’02 Eng
Ned Brokloff ’82 Eng
David Cavanaugh ’76 A&A
Benjamin Clark ’13 Bus
William Cluck ’82 Lib
Kristin Crossland ’91 Edu
Lynn Cruser ’83 Bus
Todd Dietrich, ’04 IST
A. Michael Erdman ’69 Eng
Elizabeth Haas ’80 Com
C. Jay Hertzog ’68 Edu, ’70g, ’72g
Kelley Lynch ’87 H&HD
Judy Barkus Meehan ’87 H&HD
John Page ’80 Sci, H&HD
Fran Parisi ’96g Edu
John Perate ’96 Bus
Mark Poblete ’07 IST
Thomas Range ’89 Sci
Jeffrey Reyes ’10 IST
Tracy Riegel ’85 H&HD
Carl Rosenberger ’81 Lib
Christopher Saello ’88 H&HD, ’97 IDF
Andi Schletter ’04 Lib
William Scruitsky ’86 Lib
Samuel Settle ’12 Lib
John Shaffer ’88 Com
Robert Taylor ’93 Eng
Liana Trigg ’15 Sci
Eugene Whetzel ’69 Lib
Carl Williams ’92 A&A, ’95 H&HD

The online election will take place May 10-31 and all Alumni Association members are eligible to vote (even PS4RS members!). The association expects to announce the results on or about June 1.

About the Author

Lexi Shimkonis

Lexi is an editor-turned-staff writer who can often be found at either Irving's or the Phyrst (with the chances she'll have her backpack being the same). Lexi is a senior hailing from Spring City, PA (kind of) and studying Civil Engineering. Please email questions and/or pleas for an Instagram caption to [email protected], or for a more intimate bond, follow her on Twitter @lexshimko.

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