State Senators to Introduce Legislation to Reform Board of Trustees

State Sen. John Yudichak, a Democrat representing Luzerne, Carbon, and Monroe counties, and Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Jake Corman, a Republican representing Centre, Huntington, Juniata, and Mifflin counties, will host a news conference to introduce legislation addressing the need for Penn State Board of Trustees governance reform. Both Pennsylvania senators are Penn State graduates.

The conference will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday in the Capitol Media Center in Harrisburg. Sen. Yudichak will propose legislation at the news conference that would make significant reforms to the structure of the Board of Trustees. It is expected that one of those structural changes will be a significant reduction in size.

State politicians have become increasingly critical of Penn State’s governance structure. Multiple lawsuits from state politicians like Governor Tom Corbett and Sen. Corman have cited flaws in the Board of Trustees. Former Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner called for BOT reform in a 124-page report outlining his proposals.

Here are the major recommendations from Wagner:

  • Remove the university president as a member of the Board of Trustees.
  • Make the Pennsylvania governor a nonvoting member.
  • Shrink the board’s size from 32 to 21 members.
  • Only require 13 trustees to meet quorum and conduct official business .
  • No longer grant emeritus status to employees who don’t qualify, as was the case with Jerry Sandusky.

Several trustees have also publicly criticized the current structure of the board and addressed the need for reform. Trustees Anthony Lubrano and Jim Broadhurst testified in front of a Pennsylvania Senate committee on government about the subject in March.

“The Penn State Board of Trustees, as currently composed, is out of step with the majority of other major public research universities across the country,” Yudichak said in a press release. “The legislature has been an important partner to Penn State University throughout history, and it is time that we legislatively address the glaring limitations in the current governance structure.”

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Jessica Tully

Jessica Tully is a first-year law student at Penn State's Dickinson School of Law. She graduated in May 2014 with degrees in journalism and political science.


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