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UPUA Solidifies Student-Selected Trustee Position

At long last, a permanent, student-selected trustee at Penn State will soon become a reality.

UPUA President Katelyn Mullen just announced during her weekly report that the proposal to move forward with implementing a permanent student position on the Penn State Board of Trustees will be on the agenda at the next board meeting on March 7 in Hershey. Mullen, along with CCSG President Molly Droelle and GSA President Scott Rager, submitted the proposal, and she says it has support from Board leadership and the Governor’s office.

“The Board has supported it to the fact that they have put the new policy on the most expedient schedule possible,” Mullen said. “President Masser has met with Governor Corbett and there are no roadblocks right now, to my understanding.”

Having a student on the Board of Trustees has been a tradition since the 1970s, although the position is not yet required or codified under the Penn State Charter or the Board’s bylaws. It is not yet known whether or not the new student-selected trustee will replace one of the six gubernatorial appointees. Graduate student Peter Khoury assumed his role in Nov. 2011 and will serve until Nov. 2014, unless the seat is transferred — rather than added — to the overall board makeup. That decision has yet to be made.

Here’s how it will work. The four non-voting student representatives on the Board of Trustees (currently Mullen, Droelle, Rager, and a CCSG appointee) along with the current student trustee (Khoury) will automatically sit on the Student Trustee Selection Committee (STSC). Those five people will accept applications to be on the STSC and eventually select six other students to be on the selection committee (this application is se to go live on Monday). Once that 11-person committee is set, it will accept applications and eventually pick the next student trustee, who will go before the Board to be approved for a two-year term.

Here’s the official (and more nuanced) proposal:

This should be seen as a major victory for student government at Penn State, especially for the Mullen administration. She turned this key campaign promise into her primary goal this year, and after countless hours spent in meetings and lobbying administrations and legislators, it looks like it will finally become a reality.

“Since the student trustee represents the students, we feel strongly that he or she should be elected by his or her constituents to improve accountability and representation,” Mullen said in August.

Six months later, and the students finally got their trustee.

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