College Alum Breaks Email Policy To Get Northam Votes

Rob Shimshock | Education Reporter

An alum broke his school’s privacy policy and sent a mass email encouraging fellow alumni to vote for Virginia gubernatorial Democratic candidate Ralph Northam, according to a Tuesday report.

Virginia Military Institute (VMI) alum Bob Suthard emailed all of the school’s alumni Oct. 17. The school’s Alumni Agencies called his email “strictly prohibited,” reported Campus Reform.

“Depending on your politics, you may not agree with Ralph Northam on every single issue,” Suthard wrote in the email obtained by Campus Reform. “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 [Virginia Military Institute] graduate and in someone who will lead the Commonwealth over the next four years.”

The email included a bullet-point list of seven reasons Virginia alumni of the school should consider voting for Northam, such as his military service, experience as a state senator and lieutenant governor, and his “unquestionable” ethics.

“Spread the word to vote for Ralph Northam ‘81 for Governor,” Suthard wrote. (RELATED: New Poll: Gillespie Takes The Lead In Virginia Gov. Race)

“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,” Stephen Maconi, the school’s chief executive officer of the school’s Alumni Agencies, wrote to alumni in an email obtained by Campus Reform.

“Using any personal information of alumni, including email addresses, gained via access to the Alumni Association database for commercial or political purposes is strictly prohibited,” Maconi wrote.

The alumni organization is investigating the privacy policy violation and that “inappropriate use” of its alumni database “may result in access being revoked,” according to Maconi.

“Virginia Military Institute is a public college,” said Stewart D. MacInnis, a spokesman for the college, to The Daily Caller News Foundation. “As such, VMI is scrupulous in avoiding any action that could be interpreted as endorsing any candidate for political office.”

The VMI Alumni Agencies did not respond to a request for comment in time for press.

Northam and his Republican opponent Ed Gillespie are in a close race.

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