Press Releases | Trusteeship

Colleges Should Welcome Input of Alumni

ACTA Condemns Hamilton College for Restricting Participation in Trustee Election
July 19, 2005

WASHINGTON, DC—In the face of substantial internal threats to academic freedom and excellence, Hamilton’s effort to limit communications regarding the upcoming trustee election is misguided, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni said today.

Hamilton College recently issued Trustee Election procedures which preclude candidates from “including any contact information or references to specific hard copy or online resource material” in their statements of candidacy. Statements must be limited to 100 words and be mailed. Candidates and their supporters are urged not to use email for campaign purposes.

Four alumni candidates are currently running for slots, by petition, on the board of trustees in the wake of controversial events at Hamilton including plagiarism by former president Eugene Tobin, hiring of convicted felon Susan Rosenberg, and the invitation to Ethnic Studies professor Ward Churchill to speak. Churchill wrote an article calling the victims of 9-11 “little Eichmanns.”

“The college’s effort to exclude alumni from important decisions—by limiting the free flow of information from petition candidates to the alumni community—breaks Hamilton’s covenant with alumni and deprives the college of the independent judgment and broader perspectives that well-informed alumni have to offer,” said ACTA president Anne Neal. “It’s symptomatic of academy’s broader unwillingness to encourage the robust exchange of ideas.”

“In light of recent events, there is a critical need to identify informed and thoughtful trustees and to have a healthy debate on the future direction of the college,” said Neal. “Rather than treating them as outside agitators, Hamilton should welcome the petition candidates and allow them to spell out in detail their ideas for the future of their alma mater.”

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni is a national organization of alumni and trustees dedicated to academic freedom, academic quality, and accountability in higher education. It represents more than 400 colleges and universities across the country and is located in Washington, DC.


Launched in 1995, we are the only organization that works with alumni, donors, trustees, and education leaders across the United States to support liberal arts education, uphold high academic standards, safeguard the free exchange of ideas on campus, and ensure that the next generation receives an intellectually rich, high-quality college education at an affordable price.

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