Two e-mails sent to alumni by a group opposing the Rev. W. David Lee’s DIV ’93 Yale Corporation bid have aroused the suspicions of Lee supporters over the group’s ties to the Yale administration. But Association of Yale Alumni Executive Director Jeffrey Brenzel said the group has received no University assistance in compiling its contact information.
This year’s election, in which Lee is facing Maya Lin ’81 ARC ’86, has witnessed unprecedented campaign literature sent to alumni by Lee and by the Alumni for Responsible Trusteeship, a pro-Lin group led by former University Secretary Henry “Sam” Chauncey ’57. Lee and Chauncey both said they used the 2000 Alumni Directory to gather contact information for alumni voters, receiving no official aid from the administration.
But Sam Asher ’04, one of Lee’s student campaign coordinators, said he was suspicious because different groups of alumni have received the two groups’ communications.
“I don’t know what exactly is going on because it seems to be a different list than ours, because I have heard of people receiving Chauncey’s mailings but not Lee’s,” Asher said.
Ted Wittenstein ’04, Lee’s other student campaign coordinator, said he was troubled by connections between Chauncey’s group and the administration.
“It is a little troubling that they are so closely affiliated with the administration and the Yale Corporation itself,” Wittenstein said.
Brenzel said that neither Lee’s nor Chauncey’s group has received contact information from the University, but he said ultimate control of Yale’s alumni records rests with the University’s officers.
Yale President Richard Levin is traveling, and University Secretary Linda Lorimer could not be reached for comment.
Brenzel said that in January alumni were also concerned that Lee had received contact information from the AYA.
Chauncey said the group compiled the names from the Yale alumni directory.
“We could only send them to the people whose e-mails were actually in the directory,” he said.
Chauncey said any response or criticism his group has received over the mailing is not surprising.
“I am sure that there are people who were offended to receive an e-mail regardless of the topic,” Chauncey said, adding that Yale alumni chose to be in the directory.
He said he does not think the mass e-mail was an inappropriate use of the directory.
“This is certainly unsolicited, but the purpose of the Yale directory is so that Yale graduates can get in touch with each other,” Chauncey said.
Chauncey, who moved to Vermont last year after living in New Haven for 50 years, has dedicated much time and effort to his opposition of Lee’s bid. He said he is involved because he cares deeply about the Corporation and the strength it contributes to Yale.
“I am in this because I believe in something,” Chauncey said. “I have worked with the Yale Board of Trustees and have seen how they have labored to keep Yale in place.”