On Tuesday afternoon, the Penn State Faculty Senate convened for their monthly meeting in the Kern Building. President Rodney Erickson opened the meeting with a few remarks regarding state funding before introducing the new Board of Trustees Chair and Vice-Chair, Karen Peetz and Keith Masser.
After giving a brief presentation regarding the Board’s current structure and responsibilities, Peetz reviewed the new proposed plan to revamp the Board with students, faculty, and alumni as non-voting members on various Board committees.
At the conclusion of her presentation, Peetz fielded several questions from the Faculty Senate. One member of the faculty senate inquired about what influenced the recent statement regarding the removal of former president Graham Spanier and the late Joe Paterno.
“That was long overdue,” Peetz replied. She added, “If that would have come out in December it would have been ideal. We tried in January — it wasn’t effective.”
Peetz insisted that the January attempt resulted in this New York Times article.
“We spoke to the New York Times, it got edited, changed and morphed into a more dramatic story. Then we had disagreement about what more should come out.”
Peetz also added that the faculty and alumni were most vocal about their yearning for a formal explanation regarding the decisions to remove Spanier and Paterno from their respective positions.
Due to the expected decrease in state funding, Peetz and Masser have recently met with officials from Cornell University to examine their public-private organizational model, which allows the University to still receive some funding from the state for certain educational ambitions. Peetz insisted that if Penn State were to move towards being a private university, it would not be a quick decision.
Shortly after Peetz concluded speaking, the Faculty Senate debated and voted down a motion that stated “moral obligations alone should not be made a basis of evaluation or job performance.” However, the Faculty Senate did pass a resolution to honor the late Joe Paterno.
The next Faculty Senate meeting is scheduled for April 24th.