Nik DeCosta-Klipa, Boston.com Staff
November 20, 2020 | 4:44 PM
Smith College officials say they would never tell an alum how to do their job.
However, they’re leaning ever so slightly on Emily Murphy, a top official in President Donald Trump’s administration and member of their 1995 class, to do hers.
Murphy, the administrator of the General Services Administration, has been under pressure over her decision to delay signing paperwork to formally recognize President-elect Joe Biden as the winner of Nov. 3 election and begin the transition process, as Trump continues to dispute the results citing unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud.
In a statement Thursday, a Smith College spokeswoman told the Daily Hampshire Gazette that while the Northampton women’s school “does not seek to influence the professional actions of any alumna, we hope that a peaceful transition of power takes place in alignment with the core values of democracy.”
The statement comes as a group of Murphy’s fellow Smith College graduates have begun calling on her to sign what is known as the letter of ascertainment, which allows Biden’s transition team to access funds, equipment, and government data. According to The New York Times, Murphy’s information has been removed from Smith’s alumnae directory — though it’s unclear when, why, or at whose request.
A native of St. Louis, Murphy was appointed by Trump and sworn in as GSA administrator in 2017. Her office has argued that they are simply following the precedent set following the 2000 election, when the transition was delayed by a court fight that — unlike the Trump campaign’s recent flurry of challenges — centered around one decisive state where the margin of victory was just a few hundred votes.
According to the Associated Press, which called the race for Biden nearly two weeks ago, the Delaware Democrat has 306 electoral votes, compared to 232 for Trump.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, recently said he couldn’t think of “a worse time to stall a transition than amid a deadly pandemic,” ripping Trump and fellow GOP officials for refusing to acknowledge the election result.
The delay has also led House Democrats to demand a briefing from Murphy by Monday, potentially followed by a congressional hearing. Pamela Pennington, a GSA spokeswoman, told the Washington Post on Friday that they had no updates.
“An ascertainment has not yet been made,” Pennington said. “GSA and its Administrator will continue to abide by, and fulfill, all requirements under the law and adhere to prior precedent established by the Clinton Administration in 2000.”
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