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Penn State Board of Trustees Reform

March 10, 2014
HERSHEY- A state lawmaker from Luzerne County says while Penn State Universityís Board of Trustees has adopted a series of reforms, the board hasnít gone far enough and the state legislature needs to step in and make the necessary changes.

Our speaker is Senator John Yudichak of Luzerne County, sponsor of legislation that would reform Penn State Universityís Board of Trustees.

At this yearís Senate budget hearing for Penn State University, Senator Yudichak said he was disappointed that the Board of Trustees did not ask for a meeting or respond to his proposed legislation to reform the board. That has since changed. Senator Yudichak met this week with the chairman of the Board of Trustees and the chairman of the boardís Governance Committee. He describes it as a cordial and productive meeting but still believes that permanent reforms to the board must be approved by the state legislature and the governor.

Senate Bill 1240 would reduce the number of board members from 30 to 23 and change the way trustees are selected. The Penn State board has hired a lawyer to consult on topics such as the size of the board and the selection process, but Senator Yudichak says real reform measures can only take place and be permanent if the state legislature and governor approve them.

Although the legislation has 34 co-sponsors, the Republican chairman of the Senate State Government Committee has not brought up the bill for a committee vote because he wants to see what kind of reforms Penn Stateís trustees make on their own. Senator Yudichak says that isnít good enough because future trustees can reverse any changes made by the current board.

Last May, the board voted to adopt a series of reforms, such as taking away the presidentís and governorís voting powers. Senator Yudichak says, however, a future governor may want his or her right to vote restored and so a future board of trustees can reverse any changes made by the current board.

Senator Yudichak says heís determined to see his bill come up for a vote in the Senate.

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