De Levie Wants To Continue Town And Gown Relations, Focus On Housing Issues As Trustee
Alvin de Levie is the ultimate “townie.” He was born in Bellefonte, raised in State College, and graduated from Penn State in 1973. Now he’s running to sit on Penn State’s Board of Trustees.
“I was imbued from a very young age how wonderful Penn State was and that’s been carried on throughout my life,” de Levie said.
His father, who was the director of foreign studies programs, used to bring him to campus on Saturdays when he was young. While his father was in the office, de Levie would look out over campus and dream of attending Penn State one day. His mother also worked at the language labs in the Sparks Building.
De Levie believes this unique understanding of town and gown relations will help him on the Board of Trustees, especially combined with his experience as an attorney. In this capacity, de Levie represented former fencing coach Emmanuil Kaidanov when he sued the university for wrongful termination, defamation, tortious interference with contractual relations, and a procedural due process claim. The suit was later settled and the university “welcomed Coach back,” de Levie said.
“If I see a wrong like when Penn State fired Coach, I’ll fight to right it.”
He generally supports the goals of legislation recently introduced in Pennsylvania’s state legislature, which would reduce the size of Penn State’s Board of Trustees, require trustees and some employees to file statements of financial interest under Pennsylvania’s Ethics Act, and expand the extent of public documents available under the state’s Right-to-Know law.
“Too much of the work of the board is done in committee and not in open session. I think if the governance is more accountable, more open, and transparent, that’ll be better for Penn State,” de Levie said.
Housing and Food Services is the focus of the other key initiative de Levie plans to pursue if he’s elected. Although Penn State is audited regularly, he says there’s never been a separate audit of Housing and Food Services — even though Penn State’s room and board rates have increased far past the rate of inflation over the past 20 years or so.
“Even a small percentage can make a big difference on the rate of increase of any charge for room and board,” de Levie said. “Too many college kids are graduating with these loans, and it will affect their adult life and long-term until they can pay them off.”
He says he won’t vote to approve an increase of room and board rates until the university agrees to an independent audit of Housing and Food Services’ expenses and costs.
“What it gets right down to is Penn State has been a land-grant college and the mission of Penn State is to provide students in Pennsylvania with an affordable college experience and to provide a world-class education at a reasonable cost,” he said.
De Levie is supported not only by Sue Paterno, Jay Paterno, and Franco Harris, but also by a number of Penn State’s faculty members.
“I’m supported by probably all if not all of the alumni board members presently, but I’m new on this board and they know I’ll fight for Penn State like I did against Penn State,” de Levie said.
“My dad raised me with a love for Penn State and I have my own vision of Penn State. I think I understand the town and gown, the university, the administration, the board, and that’s why I’ve decided to run.”
Alumni should have received their ballots this month via email. Those who did not participate in the nomination phase can request a ballot online.
Voting will close at 9 a.m. Thursday, May 3. Results of the election will be announced at the Board of Trustees meeting on Friday, May 4 at the Penn Stater.
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“Our international students need to rely…on a safe and flexible learning environment that will help make possible the attainment of their educational goals in a safe and healthy manner.”
With barely six weeks until the first ball is kicked for the 2020 campaign, let’s see how the Nittany Lions might line up.
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