Resignation Letter of Trustee
J. Matthew Simon, Ph.D.
114 Yorkshire Drive
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15208
March 1, 2000
John F. Horrigan, Jr.
Chair, Board of Trustees
13th and Bern Streets
P.O. box 15234
Reading, PA 19612-5234
With this letter, I am resigning from the Board of Trustees of Albright College, effective immediately. I enjoyed my service on the Board and, as an alumnus of the College, will continue to wish the best for Albright. I regret leaving several years before completion of my second term; however, events of the past year make it difficult for me, in good conscience, to remain a member of the Board.
To a large extent a board's basic role is to focus on the "beginning and ending" of activities, with much of the work in the middle being entrusted to an able administration and faculty. In particular, a board, because it delegates significant authority to the president in this way, has a special responsibility to see that the person it chooses to lead the institution emerges from the selection process as an individual who is believed and respected.
Over a year ago I expressed concern, in writing and in conversation, about aspects of the presidential search that I thought could compromise the process. Not only do I feel that responsible advice was ignored but my impression is that subsequent efforts to avoid answering specifically stated questions from the faculty and others has served only to erode credibility.
My position is that many of the concerns regarding Henry Zimon cannot be dispelled by a simple general pronouncement from a select committee. I do not need a committee to tell me what to think. What I do need is adequate information so that I can form my own conclusions.
Last November in a person-to-person meeting with Dr. Zimon, I requested a limited amount of information that would have clarified my thinking on several matters related to the controversy surrounding the president. Not only was I denied that information but I was denied available information regarding comparisons between current and past fund raising efforts. I asked for the information on fund raising because Dr. Zimon claimed astonishing success compared to the three previous presidents and I was interested in the details.
Board members have a "duty of care" that requires the exercise of independent and informed judgement. It appears that present "spin control" is precluding my efforts at obtaining the information and verification I need to function responsibly and effectively as a member of the Board of Trustees.