THIS KINDA SURPRISES ME, BUT GOOD: Yale students vote overwhelmingly in support of democratizing trustee elections.

The Corporation holds significant power at Yale, ruling on issues ranging from budget oversight to administrative appointments and long-term University priorities.

In May 2021, the University took unilateral action to jettison the long-standing alumni fellows petition process, which allowed Yale alumni to petition for candidacy in the annual trustee election. Now, only candidates nominated specifically by the University may appear on the ballot.

Many students and alumni have renounced the decision over the past two years. In addition to alumni petitions and student government resolutions condemning the change and imploring the University to reinstate its former election process, Victor Ashe ’67 and Donald Glascoff ’67 sued Yale for the change, arguing that the new policy violates Yale’s legal obligations to its alumni.

“One of the reasons students and alumni feel unhappy is because they feel unheard,” Ashe said. “They have no seat at the table, and the University has demonstrated little interest in listening to them.”

Ashe said that he was not surprised by the overwhelming student support for a more democratic trustee election process. He said that if the University were to conduct a similar referendum for alumni, he would expect the alumni — like students — to vote overwhelmingly for democratization.

Ashe argued that this is why the Corporation scrapped the petition process unilaterally rather than with an alumni vote.

“There’s a huge divide between what the administration thinks and what students and alumni think,” Ashe told the News. “Alumni are treated as useful for donations, but otherwise as a nuisance.”

Victor, who I’ve known for years, is a very smart man — and a very effective gadfly.