Penn State Trustees Discuss Tuition Increase
The Penn State Board of Trustees gathered Friday afternoon for its regularly scheduled meeting, discussing a wide range of issues and financial reports, most notably its next state appropriation request and budget proposal.
After President Erickson’s opening remarks, which can be read in full here, the public comment session began. Ten spots are allocated for preregistered speakers, but only five folks spoke this month. It’s worth noting that members of the board actually responded to Curran, Truglio, and Jubelirer — a first since the public comment session began last year. This drew the ire of some members of the gallery, who were peeved that Masella and Stine’s more critical comments did not draw a response.
Here’s a rundown of the speakers:
- Brian Masella, a former Penn State letterman, spoke about restoring the wall that once surrounded the Joe Paterno statue. It included plaques that listed all of Joe Paterno’s wins and games by season. He asked that the wall be restored because tearing it down was disrespectful to all ex-Penn State football players who did nothing wrong. “Those plaques represented the motivation, hard work, and dedication of hundreds of football players.” Masella said he sent a letter to the trustees about this months ago and never received a response.
- Professors Brian Curran and Maria Truglio jointly spoke about the new Penn State wellness healthcare program.
- Peggy Stine said she wanted to speak about student life, but ended up talking about how much she believed the trustees have failed.
- Robert Jubelirer, former Pa. Lt. Gov., spoke about what he saw as a lack of transparency in the Board. “It’s time to put Penn State Board of Trustees under the ethics act,” he said.
- Justin Cortes, a 2012 graduate and former CCSG Vice President, spoke about reassessing Penn State’s priorities and working together instead of engaging in infighting. “Let us once again focus on what makes us the best in the world…we can only do that together.”
President Erickson introduced the state appropriations and budget proposal for 2014-15, which includes a request for an additional $14.7 million (5 percent) from the state for a total of $299,685,000. This budget would result in a 3.49 percent in-state and 2.99 percent out of state tuition increase.
“The request to the Commonwealth and our budget planning are driven primarily by our top priority — keeping tuition increases low,” said President Erickson. “Our plan also is driven by the overarching priority to maintain the quality of our academic programs and provide the high-value education that our students deserve.”
Senior Vice President for Finance and Business David Gray also have an update on the five year capital plan, which outlines expenses for a number of different building renovations and additions over the next decade. The entire project list, which is expected to cost $2.7 billion(!), can be seen here.
Outside the Penn Stater Hotel, where the Board met, a protest was brewing. Dubbed the “March for Truth,” approximately 200 folks gathered to voice their displeasure with the Board and administration. I didn’t stick around much longer after Franco’s Tiananmen Square moment, but you can catch a recap of that here.
The Board of Trustees’ next scheduled meeting is set for November 22.