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Penn State Board of Trustees to Announce Election Results, Vote on Governance Changes

by on May 03, 2013 9:01 AM

Today’s Penn State Board of Trustees meeting promises to be an action-packed affair. The board will announce the alumni trustee election results. There will also be a formal vote on sweeping governance changes within the board.

The race for three alumni seats on the board has been a hard-fought battle. We've seen political-style campaigning with billboards and numerous newspaper and radio ads.

The deadline to vote passed Thursday morning. According to the latest update, 32,986 alumni had voted as of Wednesday night, easily making it at least the second largest turnout in the university’s history. Last year, 37,563 ballots were cast as 86 candidates ran for three seats. This year, 37 alumni are vying for three spots with incumbents Paul Suhey and Stephanie Deviney hoping to win another three-year term on the board. The results will be revealed this afternoon during the full board meeting.

Meanwhile, current trustees will be deciding whether to implement a slew of changes that would affect the University’s governance.

Chief among those changes, is a provision that would remove the governor and Penn State president as voting members of the board. It would reduce the number of voting trustees from 32 to 30.

“This [recommendation] was made after consulting with both President Erickson and the governor,” committee chairman James Broadhurst said in the Committee on Governance and Long-Range Planning committee meeting yesterday. “Both support this change.”

One other potential modification includes extending the waiting period for all university employees to run for the board of trustees from three years to five years to avoid a conflict of interest.

Trustees will also decide whether they want to proceed with a plan that would establish separate accreditations for the Dickinson School of Law Carlisle Campus and the University Park Campus. If passed, it would essentially create two distinct Penn State law schools.

“We think going forward it’s going to be a lot easier to recruit if each campus is able to distinguish itself separately,” Phil McConnaughay, the Dean of Penn State’s Dickinson School of Law said in a committee meeting yesterday.

Additionally, trustees will vote on a $44.6 million HUB expansion project and a separate $8.5 million upgrade that will aim to improve on-campus wifi.

These proposals will be voted on today at the Penn State Hotel & Conference Center. The meeting is slated to begin at 1:30 p.m.

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