Newly elected Penn State trustees, who ran on platforms of openness and change, went through an orientation to the board this past week.
Anthony Lubrano and Adam Taliaferro, elected by alumni, along with Donald Cotner, elected by agricultural societies, participated in the orientation Thursday and Friday. Ryan McCombie, the third trustee alumni elected, was out of the country, but will get the information at a later time, according to the university.
Peter Khoury, a Penn State graduate student and a governor- appointed candidate who’s already on the board, was also there.
Penn State spokesman David La Torre said the incoming trustees met with senior staff and received copies of the university trustees’ charter, bylaws and an administrative handbook.
The new board members will take office at the July 13 meeting, which will be held at the Worthing-ton Scranton campus.
The incoming members will join a board that has been trying to work through sharp criticism over its response to the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
The impact of its handling of the scandal was apparent in the university’s recent alumni survey, which found that only 13 percent would trust the board as a source of information about the university.
The survey also found that 58 percent disapproved of all or most of the handling of the decision to fire Joe Paterno after the Jerry Sandusky scandal broke. Another 31 percent said some of the university’s moves were right, and some were wrong.
Lubrano, an outspoken critic of the board, said recently he will continue to prod members to make the changes needed to operate more openly.
“I’m really hell-bent on seeing that we operate with openness and transparency and that we’re accountable for our actions,” Lubrano said. “To do that will require some changes on the part of the board.”
Currently, much board activity takes place outside of public meetings.
Lubrano said a first step he would like to see is having a public comment period at the end of the trustees’ meetings, which take place every other month.
Taliaferro has said his first priority is getting to know all the trustees. He also wants to see alumni included in board matters.
“They elected us and want us to be their voice,” he said recently.
He said the board, like everyone, has heard the call for change: “They understand a lot of eyes are on all of us going forward.”
Anne Danahy can be reached at 231-4648. Follow her on Twitter @AnneDanahy