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Election FAQs 



Why is this year's Overseer election unusual?

As in most years, the Harvard Alumni Association (HAA) has nominated eight alumni for the Board of Overseers. But this year a slate of five others, who are not all alumni, petitioned to be added to the ballot. They are running together under the slogan "Free Harvard/Fair Harvard" (FHFH).  Thus, there are a total of 13 candidates running to fill five slots on the Board of Overseers. The five candidates who get the highest vote totals will be elected.


Who is the Coalition for a Diverse Harvard?

We are a group of Harvard and Radcliffe alumni who came together out of concern about the FHFH slate and their anti-diversity activism. There are now about 650 alumni  who support this effort. 


Why did you decide to endorse only five Overseer candidates?

We believe all the HAA-nominated candidates are well qualified to serve. But since there are only five open slots, the HAA slate faces a numerical disadvantage in that there are eight HAA candidates splitting the vote, as opposed to five FHFH candidates. The best way to defeat the FHFH slate is to concentrate alumni votes on five Overseer candidates. We understand some alumni may have their own favorite candidates. If you do vote for another candidate, please use all your remaining votes on Coalition-endorsed candidates.


Why do I need to use all five of my Overseer votes?

Alumni often vote for only one or two candidates. But this year if you don't use all five votes against the FHFH slate, you increase the chances that FHFH candidates will win all five open slots.


How did you decide who to endorse?

The Coalition, along with other organized groups of Harvard and Radcliffe alumni, asked the 13 candidates to answer a questionnaire about their views on diversity, affirmative action and race-conscious college admissions. A Candidate Review Committee evaluated these responses, along with the official bios and statements and our own research, and chose the five we felt would best support campus diversity.


What is the Board of Overseers?

The Harvard Board of Overseers is one of the two governing boards of Harvard University. The Board, which consists of 30 members, “exerts broad influence over the University’s strategic directions” and “provides counsel to the University leadership on priorities and plans." Each year five new Overseers are elected by alumni and serve six-year terms.


How do I vote?

All Harvard degree-holders will be mailed a paper ballot by April 1, 2016. Ballots must be received back at Harvard by noon on Friday, May 20, 2016.  


Alumni living abroad may choose to join together (often via a local Harvard Club) to send ballots (sealed in their individual envelopes) together in one larger express mail envelope.  Ballots not in their individual envelopes will be invalidated.  For FedEx or other express mail services from overseas, the PO Box address will not work, so they should be mailed to arrive by May 19, 2016 to:


Kate Freed
Harvard Alumni Association
124 Mt. Auburn Street, 6th floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
T: 1 617 496 0765



What if I lose my ballot?
Call Election Services Co. at 1-866-720-4357, or email by May 11, 2016 to request a replacement. Please include your name, mailing address, degree and graduation year.


For even more logistical details:

Go to the FAQs on the HAA website.





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