Yudichak, Corman Push Penn State Reforms
State senators announced reform proposals to Penn State governance structure Wednesday.
John Yudichak (D-Luzerne) and Jake Corman (R-Centre) held a press conference in Harrisburg to unveil legislation that would change the Board of Trustees at Penn State University.
His Pennsylvania State University Board of Trustees Reorganization Act would reduce the board of trustees from the current 30 voting members to 23 voting members.
Under Yudichak’s proposal, the Board of Trustees would be composed of eight elected alumni, five Governor appointees, five elected members from the Agriculture industry, and five members from business and industry appointed by a trustee committee comprised of the chairperson and one member from each category. The Pennsylvania Secretary of Education and Secretary of Agriculture would serve as non-voting members of the Board of Trustees.
The bill would also prohibit the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and all state row officers from serving on the Board of Trustees.
“The Penn State Board of Trustees, as currently composed, is out of step with the majority of other major public research universities across the country. The legislature has been an important partner to Penn State University throughout history and it is time that we legislatively address the glaring limitations in the current governance structure.”
Yudichak is a graduate of Penn State University. Corman’s district covers its main campus in State College, Pa.
The Board has been the subject of criticism in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Although they removed the President and Governor as voting members, they have not met most of the reforms that former Auditor General Jack Wagner recommended. This led to a push from Penn State reformists who see the state legislature as the only viable way to reform the Board of Trustees.
One of the leaders of this latest push is Bob Jubelirer, a former state senator and Lieutenant Governor. He challenged Trustee Keith Eckel to a debate last month on if the Board of Trustees could change itself or “whether significant new state legislation is needed to affect that change.”
Jubelirer supports the action from Yudichak and Corman.
“State Senators Jake Corman of Centre County and John Yudichak of Luzerne County in a bipartisan effort are introducing legislation regarding the composition of the Board of Trustees,” he said. “Certainly the Board should not do anything until this legislation is introduced. It is just another example of a Board gone awry determined to keep the status quo and trying to convince others that they believe in reform and transparency.”