In Matt Carroll’s report on the Aug. 13 Penn State board of trustees meeting, trustee Anthony Lubrano is quoted stating the alumni who elect the trustees represent a 600,000-strong group (“ Penn State trustees back NCAA settlement to keep $60 million fine in commonwealth,” Aug. 13, CDT).
In fact, less than 5 percent (29,791) of the eligible 613,943 alumni voters cast votes in the 2014 election. The top three candidates, Alice Pope, Albert Lord and Robert Jubelirer, were elected after receiving votes from 1.63, 1.55 and 1.32 percent of the eligible alumni voters, respectively. These individuals may be highly qualified and may serve with distinction, but to infer in the face of these vote totals that they represent Penn State’s 600,000 alumni is not persuasive.
Two steps could correct this situation: First, the university should encourage greater alumni voter participation. At a minimum, the university should ensure all eligible alumni voters are registered to vote and receive ballots. Second, the election process should be modified so that if three candidates do not receive some minimum threshold of votes in the first round of voting, a run-off election is held.
I do not doubt Lubrano’s sincerity, but increased voter participation and a required minimum threshold of support would strengthen the claim the alumni trustees represent Penn State’s 600,000 alumni.
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Paul M. Hallacher