A week after appearing in court to press their arguments over looming elections, the Penn State Alumni Association and the four trustees who want to run for alumni council are filing competing documents.
“PSAA has gone to great lengths to show how ‘perfectly’ they adopted the revised bylaws and now claims that the plaintiffs are not eligible to sit on (a)lumni (c)ouncil and therefore their names should not appear on the ballot,” wrote Rodney Beard, attorney for alumni-elected trustees Ted Brown, Anthony Lubrano, Bill Oldsey and Alice Pope.
But that’s not the issue, he argued, pointing to the fact that the trustees applied to be on the ballot and filed their legal action protesting being passed over before the bylaws were changed last month.
According to criteria already in place when the nomination process began in 2014, Beard wrote, the trustees should have been placed on the ballot.
“The existing corporate memory of PSAA can recall only one time when the (n)ominating (c)ommittee failed to include the name of a self-nominated member on the ballot ... and that was because the person was not a member of PSAA,” he wrote, arguing that the trustees had every reason to believe they would be accepted.
Beard called PSAA’s position that self-nomination only put names up for the committee to consider “disingenuous.”
PSAA attorneys held fast to their position, calling the nomination committee route the “consistent practice” for candidates to seek election to the 86-member governing body.
They cited the “unprecedented interest” in this year’s election, but also pointed to one other anomaly. There had never been interest from a member of the board of trustees in serving on the board.
However, Marianne Alexander, former PSAA president from 2003-2005, was also a member of the board of trustees from 2005-2014. PSAA officials testified in court that the immediate past president of their organization also serves as an officer on their executive board. That same position would also now hold a seat on the board of trustees.
According to the PSAA’s documents, the four trustees were “not qualified” to be on the ballot because of a potential to “exert undue influence,” affect independence and create conflicts of interest.
PSAA claimed that 12 people were not accepted for the 2015 ballot. Two of those have since been added to the ballot after another lawsuit was initiated.