Alumni lawsuit against Yale over trustee petition ballot ban moves forward

Marc E. Fitch

Two Yale alumni have filed suit in Superior Court against Yale University alleging the President and Fellows of Yale College – called the Corporation in court filings – unilaterally ended the ability for alumni to petition for a ballot to be elected to Yale’s governing body and violated the university’s charter established by the Connecticut General Assembly in 1872.

Despite the Yale Corporation’s move to dismiss the lawsuit, Superior Court Judge John Burns Farley has allowed one count of the lawsuit to move forward, according to a decision issued on December 15, 2022.

Plaintiffs Victor H. Ashe, who has served as an ambassador to Poland as well as a state legislator and mayor in Tennessee, and Donald G. Glascoff, Jr., retired chair and co-partner of one of Wall Street’s oldest firms, filed the lawsuit alleging that Yale’s governing body “is engaging in the most obvious form of voter suppression and denial of rights of free expression of opinion,” according to the court complaint.

The President and Fellows of Yale consists of 19 trustees, six of whom are alumni trustees elected by Yale alumni. The corporation also includes the Connecticut governor and lieutenant governor as ex officio members. The Connecticut General Assembly in 1872, established that six trustee seats should be held by alumni who were voted on by eligible alumni.

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