VMI alumnus uses email database to endorse Northam

Anthony Gockowski
Contributing Editor/Investigative Reporter

  • An alumnus of the Virginia Military Institute recently sent out an email to all of his fellow alumni to encourage them to vote for Ralph Northam in Tuesday’s gubernatorial election in Virginia.
  • In response, VMI Alumni Agencies issued a statement saying it is investigating the action, which "clearly violates the VMI Alumni Agencies privacy policy."
  • Email sent to VMI alumni encouraging them to support Ralph Northam for Virginia Governor.

    An alumnus of the Virginia Military Institute recently sent out an email to all of his fellow alumni to encourage them to vote for Democrat Ralph Northam in Tuesday’s gubernatorial election.

    According to a copy of the email obtained by Campus Reform, Bob Suthard sent an October 17 email to each respective alumni class, asking them “spread the word to vote for Ralph Northam,” a graduate of the school, for Governor of Virginia.

    "This action clearly violates the VMI Alumni Agencies privacy policy."   

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    “Depending on your politics, you may not agree with Ralph Northam on every single issue. But, at the end of the day, he is a person of integrity, and the bullet points above reflect the qualities we admire in a VMI graduate and in someone who will lead the Commonwealth over the next four years,” Suthard continued, offering a list of reasons to vote for Northam.

    “So, let’s join together to put a Keydet in the Governor’s mansion. Spread the word to vote for Ralph Northam ‘81 for Governor,” he concluded.

    While Suthard provided a disclaimer that “the opinions in this email are of a personal nature and in no way reflect an endorsement by the Institute,” the VMI Alumni Agencies disagreed, calling Suthard’s actions “strictly prohibited” in a response email.

    “Recently an email was distributed to alumni in respective classes (the exact same email went to each different class) endorsing a candidate for elected office and encouraging VMI alumni to vote for that candidate based upon their shared educational experience,” VMI Alumni Agencies Chief Executive Officer Stephen Maconi wrote, noting that the use of any “personal information of alumni, including email addresses, gained via access to the Alumni Association database for commercial or political purposes is strictly prohibited.”

    “This action clearly violates the VMI Alumni Agencies privacy policy,” Maconi concluded, adding that “we are investigating this incident,” which “may result in access being revoked.”

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    Anthony Gockowski

    Anthony Gockowski

    Contributing Editor/Investigative Reporter

    Anthony Gockowski is the Contributing Editor and an Investigative Reporter for Campus Reform. He previously worked for The Daily Caller, Intercollegiate Review, The Catholic Spirit, and The College Fix.

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