Our View | Alumni voters have spoken; it’s time to go to work

May 11, 2014 

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Newly elected Penn State board of trustees members Bob Jubelirer and Alice Pope get hugs from supporters after the trustees meeting Friday at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel.

ABBY DREY — CDT photo Buy Photo

All three Penn State alumni elected last week to the board of trustees listed among their priorities controlling expenses at the university and reducing tuition costs passed on to students.

This is a great place to start as newcomers Albert Lord, Alice Pope and Robert Jubelirer join the board this summer.

Voters spoke loudly as they again chose three candidates endorsed by the organization Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship.

Despite the efforts of other groups and strong campaigning by individual candidates, PS4RS swept the alumni seats for the second straight year, and now has taken seven of nine seats up for alumni votes since the Sandusky scandal hit in 2011.

And although the 31 candidates for the alumni seats have varying philosophies and goals, we applaud the unanimous pledge shared by the three winners to tackle costs.

“Spending priorities must be established and disciplined,” Lord, former CEO of Sallie Mae, said in his campaign statement on the PS4RS website. “Current tuition can be cut; further we should project and commit to (the) next five years’ tuition levels.”

Pope, a St. John’s University associate professor, said she would push to “enhance affordability of a Penn State education. We must maintain our mission as a land-grant university dedicated to providing a quality education to all the daughters and sons of the commonwealth.”

Jubelirer, a former Pennsylvania state senator, said he wanted to help “make a Penn State education more affordable. Stop wasting money on hiring outside consultants and instead reduce tuition for students.”

We expect with PS4RS support, the trio will also be expected to pursue the organization’s goals of serving as a watchdog on the university, and “improving truth, transparency and effective governance.”

Those are ideals all board members should embrace, despite the many differences that have emerged in the two years since the scandal unfolded and key Penn State leaders lost their jobs.

We applaud Pope for her advance outreach to current board members and officers to “help them understand that the alumni who want change are reasonable people who are committed to the best outcomes for Penn State.”

She believes “groundwork was laid for ongoing dialogue.”

We hope she was right, and that all board members — both new and returning — are prepared to move forward with open minds and with the determination to work for the betterment of the university.

Lord, Pope and Jubelirer were clearly the top choices for alumni who participated in this year’s board election.

Now it’s time to go to work.

Much has been accomplished in two years, but considerable work remains as the board considers governance issues, makes key administrative hires and sets the agenda for Penn State’s future — including a focus on costs and tuition.

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