The Board of Trustees met at Penn State Schuylkill today, where it approved a tuition increase, operating budget, new officers, and emeriti trustees (aside from proposing to complete the Freeh Report, which you can read about here).
As reported yesterday during committee meetings, University Park will see a 2.99 percent in-state tuition increase for 2014-15, a 2.73 percent aggregate rise. The board also approved a $4.6 billion operating budget for next year.
Today’s meeting began with the welcoming of new trustees before attention turned to officer elections for the year. The only nominee for chair was current chair Keith Masser. For vice chair, the board elected executive committee member Kathleen Casey, nominated by current vice chair Paul Silvis, over alumni-elected Bill Oldsey, nominated by fellow alumni trustee Ryan McCombie. Afterward, McCombie was named to fill the vacant executive committee spot left by Casey.
President Eric Barron then gave his first official address to the board, which was a departure from the reports to which we’ve become accustomed. It covered student affordability and deserved its own post.
Public comment was par for the course. After Schuylkill student Bryan Underkoffler provided a heartfelt thanks to the university for the opportunities it provided him, four alumni spoke to the board. Notably, alumna Ceil Masella questioned Chairman Keith Masser on why he has yet to appoint any alumni-elected trustees to any committee chairships. He responded by defending his choices based on merit, and when she raised her voice to counter, he refused further discussion.
The meeting was not without its drama. Yesterday, trustee Anthony Lubrano expressed grievances over granting emeritus status to former trustees Paul Suhey and Sam Hayes because of impending possible board reform, and he expressed the same concerns during today’s meeting. This time, Governance and Long-Range Planning Committee vice chair Richard Dandrea countered, saying that future reform is irrelevant to the status of the pair of trustees. He told Lubrano of his expectation that he will bring forth a resolution to amend the board’s standing order regarding voting on emeritus status. During the emeritus vote, all of the alumni-elected trustees abstained amidst otherwise-unanimous yays.