The most talked about events of the May 2018 Penn State Board meetings would likely be:
A) The announcement of the Alumni Trustee Election results
B) The announcement of a $800,000 bonus and a three-year contract extension for President Eric Barron
Alumni Trustee Elections, and Board Appointments:
The 2018 PSU Alumni Trustees elections were certain to lead to change – as both Anthony Lubrano and Ryan McCombie, two Trustees who were elected to the Board in 2012 – in the immediate aftermath of the wreckage brought on by the Board’s handling of the Sandusky Scandal – both stepped aside after 6 years on the Board.
We should take a short look back at their tenures –
before looking ahead to the newly elected Trustees.
The absence of McCombie – a ghost Trustee for most of his six year stint – will likely not be noticed.
Lubrano, on the other hand, was generally the most vocal of the Alumni-Elected contingent – but his presence was almost 100% devoted to the defense of Joe Paterno and the Paterno legacy.
His single-minded focus on the Paterno Issues was counter-productive, resulting in two great tragedies of University Governance:
1) The Sell-Out of 2016:
Wherein Lubrano led the support for Ira Lubert’s ascension to Board Chairman, in exchange for (broken) promises – from Lubert – of honorariums for Paterno:
2) The burying of the much-ballyhooed Freeh File Review:
Replacing McCombie and Lubrano are:
Laurie Stanell: A dentist from Bucks County PA, who has been active in PSU issues as a former member of PSU Alumni Association Council and other PSU affiliated groups.
Brandon Short: A former PSU Football player, and currently an Investment Professional based in London UK.
Rob Tribeck, a lawyer with Post-Acute Medical in Cumberland County, was re-elected for a second term.
Stanell’s victory was a particular note:
She becomes the first Trustee candidate since the restructuring of the elections four years ago, to break the stranglehold of control from the PS4RS endorsed candidates.
The PS4RS Board had endorsed Short, Tribeck, and Alvin DeLevie, a lawyer from Philadelphia.
There were, of course, other positions to be filled within
the cadre of non-elected Trustees.
2 “Business and Industry” Trustees (Bob Fenza and Mary Schneider), 2 “Agriculture” Trustees (Don Cotner and Chris Hoffman), the “Academic” Trustee (David Han), and an “At-Large” Trustee (Julie Anna Potts) were all re-upped for another term.
2 “Governor Appointees” also have expiring terms – Elliot Weinstein and Bob Capretto – and no announcement has yet been made as to whether or not they will be re-appointed (which is typical for those positions, the announcements typically are delayed a few months).
The $800,000 Bonus and Contract Extension
for Eric Barron:
You can find more about Eric Barron’s contract extension here:
Eric Barron is now guaranteed over $11,000,000 in compensation from Penn State (exclusive of all benefits and pensions).
Barron – already the most highly-paid President in the Big Ten – will now rake in 82% MORE per year than the average Big Ten President……
All while PSU Tuition continues to be the highest Public University tuition in the country, and Penn State’s long-term debt grows like a baby elephant on steroids.
ACADEMIC Committee Items:
1) Robert Pangborn, Vice President of Undergraduate Education, reported that applications to the University are down by 2% – despite ongoing efforts to market the University in “favorable demographic areas”.
2) Damon Sims, Vice President of Student Affairs, commented on several topics.
Sims expressed great pride in his contention that Penn State “is viewed as a leader in Greek Life issues”.
Sims made no mention of two Greek Houses recently kicked out of University – nor of his role in the Timothy Piazza/Beta Theta Pi Tragedy:
Sims noted that Penn State remains active in the search for a new “Greek Life “ coordinator/director…. a long search which has yet to procure a willing candidate.
Much of Sims’ presentation focused on the University’s expulsion of the “Outing Club” – a student led organization that engaged in outdoor activities (hiking, camping, etc).
Sims’ talk was the epitome of political-speak…. much verbiage, and no meaning.
Eric Barron chimed into the conversation to inject thinly-veiled accusations that “Outing Club” members had engaged in inappropriate behavior, and that was the reason for disbanding the club….. but he stated that he “didn’t want to throw anyone under the bus”.
No one in attendance (including Alumni-Elected Board Chair and Vice-Chair, Bill Oldsey and Alice Pope) demanding further clarification, or spoke on behalf of maintaining the “Outing Club”.
(Much has been written regarding the University “replacing” the Outing Club with a University sponsored – for a fee – Outdoor Adventures program…. so I won’t go into more detail here.)
3) Nick Jones, Penn State Provost (who was recently passed-over for the post of President at the University of Utah) reported that the University had hired a consulting firm to try to find new Deans to fill open positions….
Those openings include the Deans of the Penn State Law School, the College of Health and Human Development, the College of Arts & Architecture, and the Millennium Scholars Program.
4) Late in the proceedings of the ACADEMIC Committee, the Vice-President of the Penn State Graduate Student Association brought an issue before the Committee.
She outlined issues that PSU Grad Students (Teaching Assistants, Research Assistants, etc)face with regard to their Health Insurance.
It seems that there has been an ongoing issue whereby these students experience a “break” in their Proof of Insurance, due to a problem within the PSU management system. This leads to increased expenses for these (lowly-paid) PSU employees… and, often, bypassing necessary health care.
According to the speaker, this issue has been ongoing for years – and no one within the PSU administration has been willing to get involved in solving the problem.
When the student finished her remarks, ACADEMIC Committee Chair Bill Oldsey said:
“Moving on now to the next item on the agenda…. as we have a lot yet to cover….”