Finally, in September 2006 the Young Alumni Trustee was named but the reorganization had left the members of the Senior Class Gift Committee with no clear responsibility
The Young Alumni Trustee is a position on the Board of Trustees that is granted to a graduating senior each year. The successful program had been in effect since 1996 and each member that is awarded the position serves a three-year term. By April 2006, the selection committee had settled on two finalists, Cathleen Doan and Brian Levin. The winner was to be announced at commencement ceremonies on May 20. On April 25, 2006, students received an e-mail re-opening the application process and encouraging students to reapply.
The selection committee justified their actions based on low student interest and lack of diversity among the applicants. Doan and Levin were still considered finalists, but Laurie Musgrove, Vice President of University Advancement, said they were seeing if "other students should be joining them as finalists". Robin Warde, Interim Director of Alumni Relations, said the concern was the small number of original student applicants. Warde noted that only 5 members of the class of 661 had been interviewed and said, "something different needed to be done".
Doan and Levin resigned their position as finalists in protest of the move to reopen the process. In a letter to the administration announcing their withdrawal they noted that, "we are questioned, not on our merit, but on our diversity". While no one on the campus discounted the need for diversity, committee member Michael Oliveri supported Doan and Levin and contended, "we feel it inappropriate at this point in the process to be forcing it in". He felt the changes should have been made in the following year.
It was apparent that the board had been remiss in addressing this problem sooner. According to Warde, they had been concerned over lack of participation in previous years. Musgrove and Warde, however, waited until the finalists had been selected to make the last minute changes. Musgrove had some misgivings and expressed the "wish that timing could be different". She continued to encourage Doan and Levin to stay in the process and viewed their withdrawal with "disappointment and dismay".
Doan and Levin stated that the controversial process was a, "blatant contradiction to the values, like character, and ethics that the institution stresses to the students in all aspects of the Bryant experience and community". They also made it clear that they would support whatever candidate that was appointed to the important position and asked only that the Young Alumni Trustee recognize the injustice and commit to questioning poorly made top down decisions. Their hope is that they can prevent this situation from occurring in the future.
Before commencement ceremonies, the Board of Trustees took control of the nominating process after overriding the previous decisions made by the nominating board. President Ronald Machtley and BOT Chairman Thomas Taylor headed the new selection committee. No winner was announced at that time. In September 2006, the Bryant University Board of Trustees (BOT) named Saddi Williams as the 2006 Young Alumnus Trustee at their annual meeting during Homecoming Weekend. The BOT also established the Bryant Senior Advisory Council (BSA), a 30 member