What to know about the upcoming Board of Trustees Meeting


On Thursday and Friday, July 20-21, the Penn State Board of Trustees will hold its next public meeting. The two-day meeting will take place in Penn State Harrisburg and will be streamed live online by WPSU.

The board is the university’s governing body and is responsible for “the government and welfare of the University and all the interests pertaining thereto including students, faculty, staff and alumni.” Along with the president, the board is tasked with finalizing and reviewing budgets, approving policies, and overseeing the day-to-day operations at the university.The board is comprised of 38 members, including university president Eric Barron, Governor Tom Wolf, members elected from the Penn State Alumni Association, members in the Penn State community, members who hold various leadership positions within the commonwealth and six members appointed by the governor.
As tradition, since 1971, one of the members chosen by the governor is a student, which is separate from the existing student trustee position.

Public committee sessions will start at 9:30 am. on Thursday and the agenda for each committee can be found here. Notable agenda items include:

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  • the proposal of the tuition and fee rate for the 2017 fall semester by the Committee on Finance, Business, and Capital Planning;
  • the recommended appointment of Dr. Lee Kump and Dr. Justin Schwarts to serve as the Deans of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences and the College of Engineering, respectively, by the Committee on Academic Affairs and Student Life;
  • and a review of the PA Auditor General’s June 23 Report by the Committee on Governance and Long-Range Planning.

One fee of interest that’s set to take place this fall, pending the board’s approval, is the Student Initiated Fee. The fee replaces the activities and student facilities fee, combining the fees into one, but still calculated the same way as previous fees (based on the campus and number of credits in which students are enrolled).

The fee supports “student-centered activities, services, facilities, and recreation to improve student life,” and two Student Fee Boards, one for students at University Park and another for students at Commonwealth campuses, oversee the allocation of the funds.

Penn State’s Campus Recreation, the operator of campus gyms and other fitness initiatives, will see an increase of allocated funding, pending the board’s approval. The Student Fee Board voted earlier this semester to increase Campus Recreation’s funding from $12 per to student to around $60. With the new funds, the optional gym membership fee to access fitness facilities and fitness classes will be eliminated, and Campus Recreation will be able to keep fitness facilities open longer on campus, provide more student employment, and focus on wellness initiatives.

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The Fee Boards are a combination of the existing Student Activities and Facilities Fee Boards and membership on the board includes representatives from the undergraduate and graduate student governments and their appointees, along with five At-Large student representatives.

On Friday, a public comment session will be held at 8:00 a.m., followed by the Board’s call to order at 1:00 p.m. The agenda for the day includes

  • the election of incumbent Thomas G. Poole to serve another term as Board Secretary,
  • and a report by President Eric Barron, Provost Nicholas Kones, and each of the standing committees related to the decisions made on Thursday.

READ: UPUA Calls on Governor Tom Wolf to Uphold Tradition of Appointing Student to Board of Trustees

The previous Board of Trustees meeting, held on June 2nd, focused primarily on the administrative response to the death of Penn State freshman Timothy Piazza. In his remarks, President Barron restated his resolve “to turn the pain and anguish that is radiating through our community into decisive action and reform” that can help “mitigate the behavior [of Greek Life] associated with excessive drinking, hazing, and sexual assault.”

At the meeting, President Barron announced a series of policies that would severely restrict Greek Life going forward, including the transfer of monitoring and adjudication authority to the University, a transition to a one-year delay on the ability of incoming freshman to rush and pledge, zero-tolerance for hazing violations, and a limitation on social events. On June 11, President Barron appointed a Greek-Life Response Team to oversee the implementation and evaluation of the measures.


Adriana Lacy contributed to this report.

 

 

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Ethan Paul http://Thegreatbernanke14

Ethan Paul is a junior Economics & Political Science major. He enjoys writing about current affairs, politics and economics, from a progressive perspective. He conducts research for the political science department, and is currently writing a thesis about the relationship between polarization and political representation. He can be found on Twitter (@sandersforprez) and contacted at ethanpaul@undergroundvoices.co

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