For the first time in years, the election of Penn State’s alumni trustees will be irrelevant.
The university announced the ballot positions for the 2015 election Monday, revealing that there are just three candidates for the three alumni seats.
Incumbent trustee Anthony Lubrano took the first slot. Newcomer Robert Tribeck, a 1991 graduate, took the second spot. Another incumbent, Ryan McCombie, is third on the ballot.
This is the smallest roster of candidates in recent years.
In 2014, 32 alumni vied for the three positions. In 2013, it was 39. In 2012, it topped out at a whopping 86 candidates.
An uncontested ballot is not even something that happened before the flood of alumni anger over the firing of longtime coach Joe Paterno after the arrest of retired assistant coach Jerry Sandusky for child sex crimes in November 2011. When the ballot information was released in March 2011, there were five candidates for the three vacancies.
According to the Penn State release, Lubrano, Tribeck and McCombie met the qualifications for trustee, received 250 nominations and agreed to run for the seats. In previous years, the required number of nominations was 50.
Penn State spokesman Reidar Jensen said that four candidates qualified, but only three agreed to run, but he would not speculate on the lower numbers.
Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship said in a January statement for the three men that 13 people had sought the organization’s endorsement.
“I can’t control who decides to run but I was prepared to be in a contested election. I’m equally happy to be able to focus on the issues, though,” said Tribeck.
He credited the small number of candidates to satisfaction by the alumni in the representation of the current nine elected trustees. Lubrano, McCombie and their colleagues have been a vocal minority on the board, challenging the gubernatorial appointees, business and industry representatives and agricultural society elected blocs on issues such as governance and a review of the Freeh report.
“I think the track record allowed people to feel they were serving their interests,” Tribeck said.
“I had no expectation as to candidate turnout,” said Lubrano. “I certainly like my chances of re-election more with three candidates.”