Yudichak Unveils Board of Trustee Reform Bill for Penn State University

State Sen. John T. Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) unveiled comprehensive reform legislation that would fundamentally alter the governing structure at Penn State University to make its Board of Trustees more inclusive, engaged and accountable.

“The Pennsylvania State University Commonwealth Act (Senate Bill 800) is a structural reform plan that would reaffirm the legal status of Penn State as a state-related university,” Yudichak said. “Under the current leadership of the Board of Trustees, the University has walked further and further away from its historic partnership with Pennsylvania acting more like a private institution than one of the Commonwealth’s state-related universities.”

Yudichak said the trustee reform legislation was crafted to have the Penn State board be similar to the governing configuration employed at Pennsylvania’s three other state-related universities Pittsburgh, Temple and Lincoln.

“We are aligning the governing structure at Penn State with other state-related universities to establish a more uniform standard for university governance that moves the Penn State board away from our insulated, opaque system of governance  that hampered its operations and divided the Penn State community over the past several years,” Yudichak said.

The Pennsylvania State University Commonwealth Act (Senate Bill 800) is a bi-partisan effort sponsored by 30 members of the state senate that would set the voting membership of the Penn State Board of Trustees at 36 members and make the Governor, the Secretary of Education and Secretary of Agriculture non-voting, ex-officio members of the Board.

Under Senate Bill 800, the board of trustees would consist of 14 Commonwealth Trustees (six appointed by the Governor, four appointed by the President pro tempore of the Senate and four by the Speaker of the House); 10 at-large trustees appointed by a trustee selection committee and 12 alumni elected trustees.

“The current majority of the Board of Trustees has used the rhetoric of board reform as blunt tool to exclude open, deliberative debate on the board and failed to responsibly engage the Commonwealth in it’s discussions,” Yudichak said.  “Any trustee reform effort must pivot on openness, accountability and respect for the nearly 160 year partnership between the Commonwealth and Penn State University.”

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