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Alumni Fellow Elections and Legacy Admissions: Hartford Weighs In

by Lee Bolman

Alumni fellow elections and legacy admissions both made news in Hartford during the last week of February. A district court judge ruled that the Yale Corporation has full authority to define the procedures for electing alumni fellows (Hernandez, 2024). The court rejected a claim by alumni Victor Ashe ’67 and Donald Glascoff ’67 that Yale violated a provision in its charter when it eliminated the possibility of nominating candidates by petition. Ashe said after the decision he would likely appeal, but Scott Gigante GRD ’23, said that the decision simply means the fight will not be won through the courts.

Meanwhile, a committee of the Connecticut House of Representatives heard testimony on a bill that would prohibit Connecticut colleges from asking about or considering legacy as a factor in admissions (Reich & Weinman, 2024). Admissions director Jeremiah Quinlan testified for more than an hour against the bill, arguing that it was an unwarranted invasion of the university’s autonomy and might impinge on academic freedom. He suggested that the legislature would do better to prioritize initiatives that promote access for first generation and low access students. Representatives of the Yale College Council and other student groups testified in favor of the bill.

Your comments are welcome below.

1 comment to Alumni Fellow Elections and Legacy Admissions

  • Bill Weber


    Thanks for this note on the Yale Corp election process and the legacy issue.

    I fully support the Conn. court decision on the Yale Corp election process.

    As my experience in local government demonstrates, persons wishing to gain access to boards with an agenda tend to fail because of lack of support by the respective boards and/or the public. In my case I lost an election to a person with a sole agenda of opposing gas well hydrofracking. She had no other plans for governing the town, lost support of the board and the public was no longer interested. I won the next election and good government resumed! The other two examples of failed agendas are with two men who came to their respective town boards with agendas that had no support and were disruptive. They resigned for lack of cooperation and interest of their peers on the boards.

    I am not aware of any possible agendas Messrs. Ashe and Glascoff may have had, but had they joined the Yale Corp board by a disputed election process, the disruption potentially ensuing would not be in the best interest of Yale. And, BTW, they are too old and we do not need old geezers managing Yale!

    And—I make no more comments on Legagies, as my feelings are well known!