Hamilton College Alumni Election:

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, Hamilton alumni have received a letter from the college's chairman of the board endorsing the official candidates, while enforcing limits on communications by the petition candidates (story available here):

Trustee candidates, who seek to join Hamilton's board, were allotted 100 words for a written statement that accompanies the ballot. They may also send mail to Hamilton's 17,000 alumni at their expense, but they may not send mass e-mail messages or mention Web sites in the written statements.


Ms. Neal said the officially nominated candidates had received a boost from a recent letter to alumni, signed by the chairman of Hamilton's board, that encouraged alumni to vote for the three candidates named by the Alumni Council. Ms. Barrie acknowledged that such a letter had been mailed.


Ms. Barrie denied that the rules had been created to influence the election. For example, she said, e-mail messages are banned to prevent spamming and because Hamilton has e-mail addresses for only 60 percent of its alumni. Surface mail is a more thorough way to contact alumni, she said, because the college has a higher percentage of their street addresses.

Of course, Barrie's explanation applies only to email, not to web sites, which do not spam anyone. It alsohas been reported that the referenced endorsement letter was even sent on Hamilton College letterhead. The Alumni Council Executive Committee also sent out an endorsement letter on college letterhead.

An informative article on the campaign restrictions from the Syracuse Post-Staandard is available here.

FIRE comments favorably on the free speech position of one of the petition candidates here.

The Hamilton College Alumni for Governance Reform website that contains links to many of the documents is here.

Hamilton alumni who wish to vote must be sure that their completed ballots are received by next Monday August 15.