Excerpt: Last week, Yale University’s governing board, the Yale Corporation, announced a decision to abolish the petition process allowing alumni to seek a spot on the ballot in the annual Alumni Fellow Election. In a letter to alumni, Senior Trustee Catharine Bond Hill disguises this disenfranchisement as a “best practice.” What provoked this ham-handed edict? For the first time in nearly two decades, a petition candidate appeared on the ballot, thanks to the vigorous candidacy of former U.S. ambassador to Poland and Knoxville, Tennessee mayor Victor Ashe. His message of openness, transparency, and reform inspired more than 7,000 alumni to sign his petition.
For years before the recent petition candidacies, alumni requested more information about the candidates, only to be denied and told that the free exchange of ideas would threaten “intergenerational equity.” The Yale Corporation’s latest move revises the university’s motto from “light and truth” to “silence is golden.”