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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: January 29, 2013 04:47 PM
From: Senator Andrew E. Dinniman
To: All Senate members
Subject: Reforming Penn State University Board of Trustees
I will be introducing legislation to reform the Penn State University Board of Trustees. Specifically, the first bill will do the following:

Reduce the size of the board from 32 to 22 members.
  • Reduce the allotment of members on the board that the governor appoints (from 6 to 4) and the elected members representing three groups: the Alumni (from 9 to 6), the county agricultural societies (from 6 to 4) and business and industry groups (from 6 to 4).
  • Change the status of the governor from a voting to non-voting member, thus reducing to 21 the number of voting members.
  • Prohibit the President of the University from serving as a trustee, as the secretary or other officer of the board or on any committees of the board.
  • Clarify that emeriti board members are honorary and do not have the right to vote or participate in board discussions in the same way as statutory board members.
  • Change the quorum requirement from seven voting members to a majority of voting members (11 of 21).
  • Limit board members to three terms for a total of nine years.

Additionally, the board of trustees is to develop a process for how business and industry’s representatives on the board are selected. Currently, the board selects such representatives. The new process it will develop will be fair, transparent, involve the business and industry communities, and no longer allow the board to select its own business and industry representatives.

At least two of the business and industry’s representatives shall represent fields that are major academic focuses of PSU and at least one of the governor’s appointments shall be a student appointment.

I am a proud alumnus of Penn State University, deeply care about my alma mater, and want to assure its prominence. My bill is designed to assure a governance board fit and proper for one of the great universities of our nation and indeed the world. I certainly understand that this will be a topic of considerable deliberation and potential amendments. One purpose of the bill is to start the process of reform, which I hope you agree is needed and thus sign onto my bill.

Introduced as SB410