With great fanfare and a high level of visibility, three alumni trustees will be elected May 9.
These three will join a voting board of 30. At the same time, two new business and industry trustees will be elected. How visible is this latter process and how are they elected?
The six business and industry trustees appear to be elected by themselves. These six (two a year) are selected by a committee of five trustees appointed by the board chairman and must include, strikingly, three incumbent business industry trustees.
In contrast, the six agriculture trustees are elected by representatives of the various Pennsylvania agricultural societies. No doubt our business and industry trustees have dedicated many years of service to Penn State (the three longest-serving of whom average more than 15 years of service), but maybe this selection process should change.
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Here is an “old” idea. Change the board bylaws so our business and industry constituents play a role (as they did from 1905 to 2002) in the selection of business and industry trustees.
Penn State is blessed with longstanding advisories (engineering, business, information science, etc.) with talented individuals who represent all segments of business and industry.
Give them a decision-making role. Such a revision by the board would send a clear message to the alumni clamoring for change.
The “math” — symbolic and operational — on how this proposed change would impact the 30-member board composition: 9 alumni + 6 agriculture + 6 business divided by 30 > two-thirds.
The writer is a candidate for an alumni seat on the board of trustees.