Amidst the usual banter and uselessness that most UPUA meetings encompass, the Presidential remarks last night from T.J. Bard were a refreshing example of leadership. Bard introduced “6 Points for Change” for the Penn State administration. Signed by T.J. Bard of UPUA, Pete Khoury of CCSG, and Jon Lozano of GSA, the six points advocate for more student involvement in the way the University operates.
The six points are outlined below:
- Reform of the Board of Trustees. This is perhaps the most important of the six points and also the most difficult to accomplish, as it would require changing the Board of Trustees by-laws. Bard wants the BOT to institute one permanent voting student position on the board, in addition to the one traditional student trustee already appointed by the Governor (currently Peter Khoury). Bard also wants three non-voting student positions to have speaking privileges during BOT meetings and to participate in BOT standing committees. Representative Eli Glazier encouraged Bard to seek more than only one additional voting member and to instead shoot for five. Glazier said, “There isn’t a better time than now to try and take as much for students as possible.”
- All-University Cabinet – Bard wants to reorganize the All-University Cabinet which would include representation from “every constituency” at Penn State (i.e. students, faculty, adminstrators and alumni). This cabinet would meet frequently to discuss issues universal to all students.
- Student Search Committee – Bard wants students to be actively involved and sit on search committees to hire senior administrative officials, including the president. President Rodney Erickson will be retiring in 2014, and Bard wants students to have an active role in selecting the next president and any other senior positions that need to be filled.
- Town Hall Meetings – Bard wants senior administrators, the President, and most notably the Board of Trustees to hold open town halls for students and alumni to speak and ask questions. President Erickson has pledged to hold at least one town hall meeting per semester, but the Board of Trustees has yet to hold a town hall.
- Listservs – Bard wants student leaders to have access to the University-wide listerv to send e-mails to all students. Rodney Erickson is often ridiculed for sending excessive e-mails. Imagine having T.J. Bard show up in your inbox once a week.
- Investigation Results – The Penn State administration is currently being subjected to an independent investigation, led by Louis Freeh. Bard wants complete and expedient access for students to all results of the investigation when they become available.
Bard said that these six points have been carefully developed over the last several months, after meeting with many Penn State leaders and constituents. How many of these points Bard and the other student leaders will be able to accomplish remains to be seen.