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The Cost Of A BoT Meeting Is Too Damn High

It costs a pretty penny to gather Penn State’s leadership in one room.

As it’s done in the past, the Board of Trustees released budget sheets from previous meetings with a list of expenses paid by the university. In its agenda for Thursday’s Governance and Long-Range Planning committee meeting, the board released its meeting expenses for September and November.

For the September meeting, the Board shelled out $62,788.54 to put on the show, and another $50,454.97 for its last meeting of the year. Some simple math shows that’s more than $1,850 per voting trustee for each two-day meeting at the Penn Stater. At the January meeting the Board released its expense report from its meeting last May, which totaled $56,983.

So what does an average of $55,000 a meeting buy you? Evidently a lot of food.

For its November meeting, the board spent more than $14,000 on dinner and reception expenses and another $14,000 for lodging. The total direct meeting expenses came to $35,000. Direct meeting expenses for the September meeting are considerably higher, at $49,857.68. Mainly because the meeting cost $15,186.93 for meals, breaks, and conference services compared to $1,665.65 in November. The full expense breakdowns are below.

Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 10.57.50 PMScreen Shot 2015-05-06 at 10.57.42 PM

The Board only formally meets six times a year, putting a conservative estimate for its annual meeting expenses at more than $340,000. Granted it’s no small feat to get 50+ people in the same place for two days, and the meeting expenses don’t just cover the voting trustees. There are a host of student leaders, emeritus trustees, administrators, and other guests from across the commonwealth at every meeting.

Hopefully the food pays off and is enough to keep everyone on their best behavior.

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About the Author

Ben Berkman

State College, PA

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