BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- This summer's scheduled election for a new member of the Indiana University Board of Trustees has been postponed for one year, until June 2021. Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb has signed an executive order to postpone the election at the request of IU President Michael A. McRobbie and the IU Trustees.
McRobbie and Trustees Chair Michael Mirro noted in requesting the change that the current circumstances would have made regular election practices that include interacting with alumni impossible. They added that it would be difficult for a new trustee starting July 1 to address the complex issues.
"The Board of Trustees is grateful to Governor Holcomb for his order postponing this spring's alumni election in light of the COVID-19 pandemic," Mirro said. "Attempting to conduct an election in the current environment would be patently unfair to the candidates and, in many cases, deny our alumni the opportunity to cast a ballot. Given these extraordinary circumstances, the board appreciates Trustee Pat Shoulders' willingness to serve one additional year until we can undertake a new election next year."
Shoulders will now serve an extra year in his term, which would have ended on the last day of June 2020. In accordance with state law, the Indiana University Alumni Association manages the trustee election under the direction of the IU Dean of Libraries. Ballots are counted on June 30.
"These are unprecedented times that inhibit the conduct of an open election and meaningful campaigning," said Carolyn Walters, Ruth Lilly Dean of University Libraries at IU. "Pandemic conditions also don't allow candidates the opportunity to engage directly with alumni, which is contrary to the spirit of the Indiana statutes governing the election."
Of the nine members of the IU Board of Trustees, three are elected by IU graduates and six are appointed by the governor. All trustees serve three-year terms, with the exception of the student trustee, who serves a two-year term. With the postponement of this summer's election and Shoulders serving an additional year, next year's election will be for two trustee positions. One will be for a two-year term with the other remaining at a three-year term.