As a first step, we asked that the Trustees establish a joint Trustee Election Work Group to investigate how direct elections could work for Colgate.
We’re optimistic. We love Colgate. We want alumni involvement to improve. We believe that direct election by alumni of one-third of the trustees will capture this spirit and strengthen Colgate for generations to come.
The Board of Trustees is a self-selected group that is chosen by the Board Nominating Committee. The Nominating Committee is appointed by the chairman and is comprised of eight Trustees and one member of the faculty. Their recommendations are ratified by the whole Board.
Most of the 35 selected trustees serve three, consecutive three-year terms, although the six chosen from the ranks of the Alumni Council may serve only two, consecutive three-year terms. Some chairmen have been retained past their nine-year stint. Some trustees, if termed-out, sit out a year to satisfy the maximum nine-year consecutive service restriction, then are re-selected.
It’s easy to understand why a handful of people would resist giving up control, but their insistence of maintaining the status quo only emphasizes the need for reform.
In the graph below, the red line marks Colgate’s fall in peer school rankings from a high of 15 to the current 22. The blue line marks the decline in alumni donor participation from a high of 55% to the current 39%. (Source: US News & World 2015 Report)