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There’s No Such Thing as A Free Trustees Meeting

Penn State trustees aren’t paid, but that’s not to say the position doesn’t come with some considerable — and evidently expensive — perks.

The Board of Trustees releases budgets for meeting expenses from time to time, and it did exactly that on the second page of this week’s Governance and Long-Range Planning committee agenda. The Board spent nearly $57,000 to run its two-day meeting at the Penn Stater in May — in other words, $1,900 per voting trustee. Considering three trustees were absent at that meeting, it comes out to well over $2,100 per voting trustee.

Of course, the meeting expenses pay for more than just voting trustees. Student government leaders, the president’s council, and emeritus trustees are all provided meals, transportation, and hotel rooms. (Full disclosure: I’ve been known to grab a slushie or a bag of chips from the snack bar from time to time at the media table.)

If you thought student government buying terrible pizza was bad, check out this expense sheet:

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 2.26.10 AM

Obviously it’s expensive to get 50+ people in the same place at once for two days, but when you consider the average trustee salary is well into the seven-figures, some of this can look a little funny. With six meetings a year, the expenses come out to more than $340,000 — and that’s likely a conservative estimate, as the annual Hershey and Commonwealth campus meetings necessitate increased travel expenses twice a year.

I was not able to find expense budgets for governing body meetings at peer institutions, but feel free to share that information in the comments if you know of any.

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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