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about 2 months ago
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Governance Committee Debates Emeritus Status for Suhey, Hayes

Signs of Spring Outside of Old Main -- Photo by Eric Weiss

The Board of Trustees Governance and Long-Range Planning Committee was at odds over the merits of granting emeritus status to trustees whose tenures on the board recently finished during its meeting today, on account of possible impending board reformation.

The board has a standing order that it automatically grant emeritus status to trustees who spent at least 20 years on the board, a length that Jesse Arnelle, Joel Myers, and James Broadhurst all attainted. But for trustees who spent 12 years or more on the board, emeritus status goes to a vote, which resulted in some drama over the status of former trustees Paul Suhey and Samuel Hayes.

Emeriti status is usually a procedural vote, but today’s dissent was a result of the impending state senate vote on a board downsizing as proposed by Sen. John Yudichak. The oft-outspoken Anthony Lubrano contested that the board should vote on emeriti status until those reformations are resolved, citing the recommendations of former Auditor General Jack Wagner that the board should eliminate its granting of emeritus status to employees who do not qualify for it. Lubrano noted that he had no personal grievances with Suhey’s or Hayes’ deserving of emeriti status, but he didn’t feel it was in the board’s best interest to conduct a vote on it.

Ex officio committee member and board chair Keith Masser disagreed, saying he believed the university is best served by having those emeriti trustees to serve as ambassadors. He said that the benefit of having trustees who previously served on the board is valuable regardless of the board’s possible reformation.

Lubrano then asked for a roll call vote for the record, and he and fellow-PS4RS endorsee Barbara Doran abstained among five yays from the remainder of the committee. That approval will be voted on the by the entire board tomorrow, where they will almost certainly be approved.

Emeritus trustees don’t have voting power, but they enjoy speaking privileges at meetings and have their expenses covered to attend board meetings and functions. Counting the additions of Myers, Arnelle, and Broadhurst, there are currently 22 emeriti trustees.

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