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Former Lt. Governor Bob Jubelirer Challenges BoT’s Eckel to Public Debate

Correction: The previous version of this article identified the trustee Jubelirer challenged as Keith Masser instead of Keith Eckel. We regret the error.

Few Board of Trustees candidates intrigued me more last cycle than Bob Jubelirer. The seasoned Pennsylvania politician served in the State Senate for more than 30 years and ultimately the 29th Lieutenant Governor of our Commonwealth.

Jubelirer also has strong Penn State ties. He received his undergraduate degree here and attended Dickinson for his law degree. In 2008, he actually taught a class at Penn State Altoona. He also ran for the Board of Trustees earlier this spring but failed to get the PS4RS endorsement and finished a distant sixth.

I was surprised to see Jubelirer at the last Board of Trustees meeting at the public comment session. The former politician criticized what he called a lack of transparency on the board while touting the Pennsylvania Sunshine Law, an open meeting/open government law that he helped enact in 1998.

“There’s nothing to be afraid of,” he said during public comment. “It’s time for state-related universities to approach Right-to-Know.”

Jubelirer sent a copy of the following letter to the media yesterday, addressed to Board of Trustees Governance and Long-Range Planning committee chair Keith Eckel asking him to agree to a friendly debate. Although the prospects of that are unlikely, especially considering the possibility of Jubelirer running for the board again, one can always hope, right?

Dear Keith:

I very much appreciated the opportunity to address the Board for three minutes at the recent Trustees meeting on September 20. However, I was somewhat surprised you chose to respond to my remarks, which I understand is highly unusual. I did hear some of your comments even though your back was to me, and therefore I asked for another minute to respond to you. Unfortunately I was denied. We clearly have a difference of opinion on the appropriate role of the Board in reforming critical governance issues. As you know there is legislation in Harrisburg in both the House and the Senate that would dramatically change the makeup of the membership as well as how the Board operates.

Therefore I would like to invite you to discuss these important issues in a public forum on or near campus this fall where the two of us can have a moderated debate on whether the changes you related in your response to me represents real reform, or whether significant new state legislation is needed to affect that change. I am sure we can enlist an agreed-upon a third party organization to sponsor this exchange and establish a fair set of rules of engagement.

Keith – we have known each other for a long time. I respect you very much, but it is clear that we do not agree on some critical matters surrounding transparency and other governance issues. As I said in my comments to the Board this only engenders mistrust.

Please be aware that I am forwarding copies of this email to various members of the media who covered the Board of Trustees Meeting.

I look forward to your response and am confident that we can enlighten students, alumni, faculty and other Penn State constituents who continue to remain interested and invested in the future of our beloved university who choose to attend.

Bob Jubelirer

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About the Author

Kevin Horne

Kevin Horne was the editor of Onward State from 2012-2014 and currently holds the position of Managing Editor Emeritus, which is a fake title he made up. 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 also the president of the graduate student government. Email: [email protected]


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