Penn State

Trustees file lawsuit over Penn State Alumni Association election snub

Four Penn State alumni trustees have filed suit against the Penn State Alumni Association. Clockwise from top left: Anthony Lubrano, Alice Pope, Bill Oldsey and Ted Brown.
Four Penn State alumni trustees have filed suit against the Penn State Alumni Association. Clockwise from top left: Anthony Lubrano, Alice Pope, Bill Oldsey and Ted Brown.

Four alumni trustees who were denied slots on the Penn State Alumni Association ballot have taken their case to court.

Ted Brown, Anthony Lubrano, Bill Oldsey and Alice Pope have filed a lawsuit in Centre County court asking for an injunction that would add their names to the 32 other candidates in contention for 10 seats on the alumni council.

“With heavy hearts but with moral certainty, we take this action,” they said in a press release Tuesday. “The willful violation of its own bylaws by the leadership of the PSAA to keep our names off the ballot forces us to bring suit against the alumni association of the university we love and serve.”

The situation started more than two months ago, after the PSAA nominating committee decided it wasn’t appropriate to have the trustees involved in the association’s leadership.

According to Executive Director Roger Williams, having the four on the council would be a conflict of interest that would have “the potential to compromise our autonomy and independence.”

The trustees disagree.

“There is no justification for PSAA to refuse to place any of the plaintiffs’ names on the ballot for council,” their court filing states.

The association has already been sued by another candidate denied a berth and, in answer, told the court James Smith’s name would be added, along with another would-be candidate, Elizabeth Morgan. Both names have since been added to the list of candidates on the PSAA website.

However in an April 6 letter to council members, Williams said there would be no change of heart regarding the trustees, who had warned of litigation.

“What do the leaders of the PSAA fear? In the end, this matter can be resolved quickly by placing our names on the ballot and allowing the nearly 180,000 members of the PSAA to choose for themselves who they want to represent them on council,” the trustees wrote.

PSAA is the largest dues-paying alumni association in the world and has been for 10 years, according to its website. It represents 631,000 graduates of the university and has been in existence since 1870.

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