After a comprehensive, months-long selection process, in which every alum suggested to the Council's Nominations Committee is considered, the Alumni Council announced its slate of candidates in the Winter Scene. The elections process culminates at Reunion weekend: if no alum files a petition to run against any of the Alumni Council-nominated candidates, they are elected by unanimous consent. If an alum does file a petition—as any alum who gathers 75 signatures can do—then the Alumni Corporation holds a contested election, which occurs in the month or so before Reunion, and which is happening right now.
The Nominations Committee's comprehensive process described on the Alumni Council’s nominations and elections page, and election rules are fully laid out in the Alumni Corporation’s bylaws.
This year, two challengers have filed valid petitions to challenge the Alumni Council's nominees. Their names, autobiographies, and statements prepared by the candidates as to why they are running for the Alumni Council are on the Ballot page. They are also available on the official election website. This year, as in prior years, the two petition candidates are being supported by ABC ("A Better Colgate"), an independent organization not associated with Colgate which advocates for reforming the governance of Colgate through direct alumni elections of Trustees.
Have there been contested elections before?
Since this process has been in place, there have been two challenges to the Alumni Council’s nominees. In 2006, eight petition candidates sponsored by a group called “Students and Alumni For Colgate,” or “SA4C”—precursor to the current group ABC—ran against the Alumni Council’s nine nominees. The Alumni Council candidates won that election by a wide margin. The election cost Colgate over $100,000 to manage.
In 2011, four petition candidates supported by ABC ran against the Alumni Council’s nominees. The Alumni Council candidates again won by a wide margin with between 61-69% of the over 6200 ballots cast. That election cost Colgate approximately $60,000 to manage. Costs were reduced by the introduction of electronic voting.
The following timeline contains relevant dates and information for the contested election.
In 2012, any potential petition candidates must ensure that their petitions are received at Colgate University’s Alumni Affairs Office by close of business on Tuesday, April 10, 2012.
For valid petition candidates received by April 10, 2012, the Alumni Corporation will prepare a ballot for each of the contested slots. Both Alumni Council-nominated and petition candidates will be asked to prepare the following statements by April 16, 2012 to be included in an official ballot:
The Alumni Corporation must reserve the right to decline to publish information that is inaccurate, misleading or defamatory.
- a personal statement that addresses “why I want to serve on the Alumni Council,” which is to be 100 words or less;
- a personal biography that includes whatever biographical information the candidate wishes to provide, which is to be 75 words or less, and
- a list of Colgate alumni volunteer activities, if any.
Ballots will be mailed on or about May 3, 2012, and an e-mail directing members to the online voting site will be sent on or about May 3, 2012. Periodic reminder e-mails will be sent before online polls close on June 1, 2012.
Alumni may vote in one of three ways:
These are the only means by which a member of the Alumni Corporation may vote.
- Alumni may vote online, at a secure website managed by an independent, third-party elections firm, using a username/password sent by postal mail and e-mail. The deadline for online voting is June 1, 2012.
- Alumni may vote by mail, by returning the ballot received by mail according to the instructions on the ballot. Ballots submitted by mail must be received by June 1, 2012.
- Alumni may vote in person, by bringing their own ballot to Colgate on the date of the Alumni Corporation’s annual meeting. The time for in-person voting is 15 minutes after the start of the 9:45 start of the Annual Meeting on June 2, 2012.
Those elected will be announced within a few days after Reunion Weekend.