State Representative Scott Conklin Aims to Legislate a Smaller Board of Trustees

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State Representative Scott Conklin held a press conference yesterday, flanked by Anthony Lubrano, where he introduced four bills that would drastically shrink the size of the Penn State Board of Trustees.

Conklin plans to introduce four separate bills that would shrink the size of the Board of Trustees — currently at 32 members — by 10 seats, as well as change the makeup of other groups within the trustees’ framework.

“To say it’s time to update the current system is an understatement,” said Conklin to the Centre Daily Times. “My legislation aims to reorganize what has been deemed to be an unusual, contradictory and conflicted board structure.”

Here’s an outline of the proposed changes:

The following entities would be represented on the Board of Trustees:
  • The Governor (Non-voting);
  • The Secretary of Agriculture;
  • The Secretary of Conservation and Natural Resources;
  • The Secretary of Education;
  • The Pennsylvania State University alumni;
  • Pennsylvania county agricultural societies; and
  • Pennsylvania business and industry groups
There would be 18 voting trustees, 3 voting trustees ex officio, and 1 non-voting ex officio. This bill would also strip the Governor’s seat of its voting power.
  • Prohibits Penn State’s president from serving on the Board of Trustees in any form — voting or being on subcommittees. It also reaffirms the non-voting governor’s seat.
  • Permits each trustee three 3-year terms (they’re currently allowed 4 terms).
  • Requires that Penn State (plus Pitt and Temple) to full compliance of Pennsylvania’s Right to Know law.
  • Every Penn State employee must file a statement of financial interests with the State Ethics Commission so to avoid conflicts of interest.

“It is imperative that we enact the measures necessary to establish transparency at all of our state-related institutions,” Conklin wrote in a press release. “By creating an open window into the operation of Pennsylvania State University, we will bring the necessary healing to the Penn State community and put an end to any latent collusion or malfeasance.”

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About Author

Kevin Horne was the editor of Onward State from 2012-2014, and currently holds the position of Managing Editor Emeritus. He graduated from Penn State with degrees journalism and political science in 2014 and is currently seeking his J.D. at the Penn State Dickinson School of Law. A third generation Penn Stater from Williamsport, Pa., Kevin is a director of the Nittany Valley Society 501(c)(3) and is involved in student government.

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