The financial big-hitters who constitute the power bloc of the Penn State board of trustees lack stewardship instincts necessary to ensure continued financial viability of the university enterprise.
For readers who have not been exposed to past actions and inner workings of the governing body, two decisions in the aftermath of the 11/9/11 late-night board meeting cataclysm are sufficient evidence of my premise:
• The hastily contracted $8.5 million Freeh study that eventually produced a voluminous report that could have been condensed to the innocuous Tim Curley memos, and
• Offering and taking the $60 million hit for the Sandusky-led Second Mile organization.
No one can unring the bell relating to past inept governance by the power bloc, but it is not too late to reconfigure the PSU board. This can be done by alumni appealing to the Pennsylvania legislature to revise the mix and number of trustees.
Nine alumni-elected trustees constitute only one-quarter of the membership and, at best, are a mere nuisance to the appointed and self-appointed power bloc leadership.
Alumni-elected trustees are the most tested and professionally competent of all the Penn State board. A reduction in board membership to 18-20 trustees including the nine democratically elected members would give more balance and operational effectiveness to the $4.6 billion university enterprise.
Penn State students no longer should be punished financially for the lack of stewardship sense by the current power-based governance body.
Robert L. Horst
The writer is a former Penn State trustee.