Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship Encourages Alumni to be Informed Before Voting with Launch of 86 Online Candidate Profile Pages
In trying to educate a vast alumni base, the burgeoning watchdog group has seen more of the same from the University and its Board of Trustees.
APRIL 10, 2012 —- In trying to educate an alumni base more than 500,000 strong about the importance of the upcoming Board of Trustee elections, it’s no surprise that Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship first turned to the Penn State Alumni Association. But would you believe the Alumni Association, at the direction of the University and its Board of Trustees, would not proactively help disseminate information to the alumni base? “It was a complete shock to us that they would act as a total roadblock in merely educating alumni, and so we’ve taken matters into our own hands, and undertaken the hard work for them,” said PS4RS Founder Michelle Murosky.
On the very first day alumni are eligible to vote in an election to place three new Trustees on the beleaguered Board, the all-volunteer watchdog organization has announced a new online resource that lists the names of all 86 candidates, their bios, ballot positions and position statements, taken directly from their submissions to the Board of Trustees’ web page. However, recognizing the void in additional information, PS4RS has taken an additional – and laborious — step in the best interest of its alumni constituents to include websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and email addresses for each and every candidate about which the information is currently available through online web searches. The 86-page resource, created objectively and voluntarily, is available at http://www.ps4rs.org/2012BoTcandidates.html. Voting and ballot instructions are also available at https://ps4rs.org/vote.html
“This isn’t at all about the three candidates our organization has endorsed,” explained Murosky. “It’s about making sure that our entire alumni base first, knows they are eligible to vote; and second, will do so with all the available information at their disposal. We’ve watched the University’s half-hearted attempt at posting very limited material – and absolutely no contact information — on the 86 candidates who are running in the most important Trustee election in the history of our University,” she said. “It is unconscionable that they would not take a more active role in encouraging the alumni base to learn and to vote. But then again, perhaps they don’t view an educated voter as beneficial to their cause.”
Murosky added that at the onset of the balloting, candidates were advised by the Board of Trustees to not campaign using social media, and that it was only in a recent decision reversal that the University agreed to host a candidate event during the upcoming Blue-White game on April 21, which is nearly halfway through the voting period. “What year are they living in? And why aren’t they embracing today’s methods of communication to stay in touch with the largest and most passionate group of stakeholders they have? You would never hire an addition to a company without proper research, the same applies to the Board of Trustees.”
In one recent email received from a suburban Philadelphia alumni chapter to PS4RS, Murosky noted that the group was advised: “The University and Penn State Alumni Association prohibit alumni Chapters and Groups from publicizing events, bios and weblinks for individual candidates for elections to the Board of Trustees and Alumni Council.”