Press Releases | Freedom of Expression

Yale Alumni Deserve Open Elections—and Discourse

May 4, 2017 by ACTA

WASHINGTON, DC (May 4, 2017) The American Council of Trustees and Alumni, a Washington-based independent higher education watchdog, released a statement supporting a petition circulated by alumni of Yale University calling for a more fair and transparent election process for alumni members of the Yale Board of Trustees, formerly the Yale Corporation.

The William F. Buckley, Jr. Program (a designated ACTA Oasis of Excellence) invited candidates for the Alumni Fellow Election to participate in a forum on free speech and intellectual diversity. However, board leaders informed the group that candidates of prohibitions on campaigning or speaking to campus groups. Alumni must vote for the Alumni Fellow based solely on biographical statements.

ACTA President Michael Poliakoff (Yale ’75) said:

“By preventing trustee candidates from providing any information beyond biography, Yale is preventing alumni and students from participating in the board election in an informed and engaged manner. Controversies involving free speech have recently roiled Yale, and it’s therefore no surprise that alumni are disappointed by the obstacles on campus to free expression. A healthy campus community rests upon shared governance and open communication. The board and university administration should lift the gag order and embrace a fairer election process that allows the alumni community to hear the ideas of the candidates in a free exchange of viewpoints.”


MEDIA CONTACT: Ted Eismeier,


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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