Vote for Alumni Trustee
STATEMENT: My commitment to Tufts is a direct result of the support and opportunities that Tufts gave me. I am honored to be a candidate for Tufts trustee to continue the commitment that has been a huge part of my life for decades.
As a student, I was on the Tufts campus from 1968 to 1972, one of the most turbulent periods in the modern history of the university. From the advent of coed dormitories to protests against the Vietnam War to struggles for diversity and equality to demonstrations against a drug bust, the campus was a crucible for change. I was in the middle of many of those events, sometimes as a protester, more often as a reporter and editor for the student newspaper (then known as the Observer but later the Daily). What has stayed with me for decades is the many Tufts faculty and administrators who never stopped believing in me, mentoring me, and supporting me, even when they disagreed with my views or actions. Tufts provided the space and support to learn, to advocate, to grow, to change.
It was that support that prompted me to accept when the then director of Alumni Relations, Ron Brinn, approached me nearly 35 years ago to start a new, revived Tufts alumni group in Washington, D.C., the Washington Tufts Alliance. It was a huge success in drawing alumni interest and participation, and it started me on a path of volunteering for Tufts ever since. I went from occasional visits with and lectures to the Tufts Daily or to political science and Experimental College classes to organizing major Tufts events in Washington, interviewing numerous applicants for admission, playing a leading role in class reunions, and becoming an active member of the Alumni Council.
My involvement with the Alumni Council led, in turn, to leadership positions, including president of the Alumni Association from 2018 to 2020. Among the things of which I am most proud are: helping to create a new strategic plan for the Alumni Council that elevated the importance of diversity and pushed for structural reform; working to expand the Tufts career counseling network, The Herd, to be accessible to alumni seeking opportunities; pushing to create the Jumbos Helping Jumbos program during the pandemic to aid students in need of internships and jobs; supporting an oral history project to capture some of the important stories of Tufts in the 1960’s and 1970’s; and urging support for the Tufts emergency fund to assist students facing hardship due to COVID-19.
I have worked hard to maintain my connections with Tufts. After a 20-year career as a newspaper reporter, launched with the help of Tufts mentors, I have been teaching law for 30 years at several institutions, but since 1998 at American University Washington College of Law, where I earned my law degree. There has been a great synergy between understanding the world of my students and staying in touch with developments at Tufts. My daughter is also a Tufts graduate, having earned a BA in 2010.
If given the opportunity to serve as a trustee, I would work to continue the great strength of Tufts in attracting first-rate students, maintaining its status as a top-notch research institution, pursuing fiscally and socially responsible policies, and rising to meet the demands of change. We must commit ourselves to maintaining campuses that recognize and emphasize diversity in every respect; we can and should be an elite institution without being an elitist institution. We must support the growth of our programs, centers, and courses that explore and provide opportunities for racial and ethnic diversity on our campuses. We must continue to attract excellent, diverse faculty and to support their teaching and research. We must carry on the effort to build financial aid. We must maintain the strength of our well-recognized Division III sports teams and programs that consistently produce championships and great pride for Tufts. We must continue the commitment to the excellence of our professional schools and other graduate programs.
We have been fortunate to have many talented and thoughtful alumni elected to the Board of Trustees by the Alumni Association. They have joined the efforts of Charter Trustees, who are also committed alumni. I have seen their dedication and vision. The trustees play so many important roles, setting goals for Tufts, making sure that these aims are achievable through sound financial management, and dedicating themselves to the continued success of the university. I would welcome the opportunity to join them.
- Tufts BA 1972
- American University Washington College of Law JD 1982
OCCUPATION: Professor of the Practice of Constitutional Law, American University Washington College of Law
- Associate Professor, Georgia State University Law School
- Visiting Professor, William and Mary Law School
- Supreme Court correspondent, Wall Street Journal
- Washington correspondent, Boston Globe
- Reporter, Boston Globe
- Member, Tufts University Campaign Cabinet, 2016-2023
- President, Tufts University Alumni Association, 2018-2020
- Immediate past president, 2020-2022
- President-elect, 2016-2018
- Director, Executive Committee, 2015-2016
- Term Member, Tufts Alumni Council, 2004-2024
- Awards Committee
- Member, 2004-2012, 2016-2018
- Chair or co-chair, 2013-2016
- Strategic Planning Committee
- Member, 2018-2020
- Chair, 2016-2018
- Member, Nominating Committee, 2008-2009
- Member, Citizenship and Public Service, 2002-2005
- Awards Committee
- Reunion and class gift leader: 25th, 30th, 35th, 40th, 45th reunions
- Member, Tufts Lawyers Association, 2018-2020
- Member, Host Committee, LEAD IT, 2018-2019
- Member, Tufts Alumni - Washington, DC, 2010-2014
- Washington Tufts Alliance organizer, 2006-2011
- Admissions interviewer, 1988-2012
OTHER PROFESSIONAL / VOLUNTEER ACTIVITIES:
- American Bar Association:
- Member, Board of Governors, 2018-2021
- Member, Board Governance Committee, 2019-2021
- Member, House of Delegates, 2018-2021
- Chair, Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice (CRSJ), 2012-2013
- Chair or co-chair, CRSJ First Amendment Committee, 2008-2021
- Past chair or member, CRSJ Human Rights Magazine editorial board, 2000-2021
- Member, Standing Committee on Public Education, 2013-2016
- Member, Standing Committee on Silver Gavel Awards, 2016-2018
- Member, Forum on Communications Law editorial board, 2000-2021
- Washington College of Law:
- Adviser, Equal Justice Foundation
- Adviser, Moot Court Honor Society
- Adviser American University Law Review
- Adviser, Administrative Law Review
- Member, Admissions Committee
- Adviser, Public Interest Public Service Scholars program
- Supporter, annual community service day
TUFTS FAMILY: daughter Annie Wermiel, A10