Penn State

Penn State Alumni Association will put two more candidates on council ballot in response to lawsuit

About ten days after a would-be candidate filed a lawsuit, the Penn State Alumni Association said they would add two more names to the ballot for alumni council.

James Higgins Smith Jr. filed his suit March 12, protesting that the PSAA rejected his candidacy for one of the 10 open seats on the 86-member alumni council, despite the fact that he met the qualifications and had the requisite 50 nominations.

On Wednesday, the PSAA filed a response to Smith’s lawsuit. Amid the legal dance of admitting and denying Smith’s arguments, point by point, the organization’s attorney revealed that Smith was being given what he was requesting.

A letter written to Smith on Monday was submitted as an exhibit.

“It is not in the interests of the (a)ssociation or its (m)embers to engage in a legal battle over the petition process. Accordingly the Executive Board has agreed to include both you and Elizabeth Ann R. Morgan ... on the ballot for the 2015 spring election,” wrote Executive Director Roger Williams. “I trust this will resolve the matter.”

Williams said in his letter that the selective nature of the process has been a factor in the council elections for “at least the last decade.”

“Our philosophy and practice have held that the Nominating Committee is the final arbiter of all nominations,” he wrote. “Hence, although your name was submitted both directly and through a petition, the Nominating Committee — after due consideration — opted to not include your name on the ballot.”

In the legal response, the association asked that Smith’s complaint be dismissed with prejudice and said that there was no further claim or cause of action since PSAA was agreeing to include him on the ballot.

There were other names who were not included on the ballot who were not addressed in Williams’s letter. Alumni-elected trustees Ted Brown, Anthony Lubrano, Bill Oldsey and Alice Pope were not placed on the ballot. Neither was former assistant football coach Jay Paterno, son of the legendary former head coach Joe Paterno.