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The GW Hatchet

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Alumni Association ousts president over merger turmoil

Alumni Association President Venessa Marie Perry said the organization wants to fill some of its newly vacated positions with alumni living oversees.

Alumni Association President Venessa Marie Perry has been removed from her post amid internal turmoil about the organization’s impending merger with the University, according to multiple individuals familiar with the situation.

The GWAA’s Board of Directors voted Wednesday during a special meeting to remove Perry from her position as head of the organization, which is set to merge with the University’s alumni office this summer, according to emails describing the meeting obtained by The Hatchet.

The decision came after at least seven members of the GWAA resigned over discord about the merger and claimed Perry silenced anyone who voiced opposition to the change, but Perry said members were repeatedly given the opportunity to provide feedback about the union.

“I’m proud of the things I accomplished and believe the foundation has been laid for great things in the future,” Perry said in an email Monday. “I realize that change isn’t easy and this may have been difficult for some people, but I am convinced that the Alumni Association will be better off as a part of the University.”

Perry served as president of the organization for about a year.

Thirteen board members initiated removal proceedings against Perry late last month and sent her a letter requesting that she resign from her post, saying members’ confidence in her leadership has been “irreparably damaged.” The letter, which was obtained by The Hatchet, cites a lack of transparency, “unilateral” decision making and attempts to remove board members without due process as reasons for removal.

“Plans for potential integration with the University need to take place in an informed, effective, constructive and positive manner which we feel is not achievable under your leadership,” the letter states.

The signatories wrote that if Perry chose not to resign, they would call a special meeting to remove her from office.

Martin Baum, the treasurer of the association, was installed as interim president after the vote, according to an email Baum sent to board members, which was obtained by The Hatchet. Baum, who signed the letter requesting Perry’s resignation, did not immediately return a request for comment.

At least three board members resigned immediately following the removal vote, while at least one resigned after the letter was delivered, according to resignation emails obtained by The Hatchet.

“I can no longer support the direction of this board or the tactics I’ve witnessed in the last few months culminating with tonight’s ‘discussion,'” a former board member, who stepped down after the vote, said in their resignation letter.

Meredith Roaten contributed reporting.

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