STATE COLLEGE, CENTRE COUNTY - Penn State students are speaking up about getting a permanent seat on the school's Board of Trustees.
Earlier this week, Penn State's Faculty Senate sent a 60-page report to the board recommending changes.
One part of that report talks about the student trustee seat, and how it should be selected. WTAJ News talked to one group of students who want a student to have a permanent spot on the board.
While there is a student on the Board of Trustees right now, there isn't a permanent position for one. The faculty's report talked about whether there should be. The group of students we talked to say unequivocally yes. There should be.
Penn State Senior Spencer Malloy's the Chair of the Assembly for the University Park Undergraduate Association. He says he's in favor of a permanent seat for a fellow student on the school's Board of Trustees...
"That sort of permanent seat provides institutional legitimacy, for a student voice at the university and upholds I think the principles of a shared governance..."
Malloy's group has no connection with the report sent by Penn State teachers to the board. His Governmental Affairs Committee is looking at the best way to put a student trustee in office. He's using models from other schools to figure it out. He says based on the faculty's report,
about half of the major public university's surveyed have a student member on their Board of Trustees or similar governing body.
"...Two good examples that have popularly elected students would be Wisconsin and Illinois. So what were trying to do is see how Penn State compares to those schools, and see if a popular vote for a student trustee would be a good fit."
Peter Khoury is a student trustee right now. He was appointed by the Governor.
Board of Trustees member Anthony Lubrano wouldn't say if he'd support a mandatory permanent student on the board. But he did say "Historically, one of the six gubernatorial appointees to the board of trustees, has been a student. I would support an effort to make a requirement that one
of the gubernatorial appointees must be a student."
Malloy says they're still in the early parts of researching what the best way to select a student would be: Election by students? Election by student government? Or an appointment. He says he just wants to make sure one of his peers is heard on the board.
"...I think we're looking into this to do our due diligence in terms of making sure that the student's voice is represented at the school in the best way possible. That's not necessarily saying that an election is the best process but it is saying that we want to take a good look..."
Anthony Lubrano said the board just got the faculty report and will look into it seriously. Meanwhile earlier Thursday it was announced that there are 39 candidates what will run for three spots on the board this spring. They had 87 candidates last year.
If you'd like to see what the current student trustee thinks, Peter Khoury's statement on the issue is posted below:
"Having a permanent codified student trustee position would be beneficial in ensuring a student perspective is present in important university decisions at the highest level of governance at Penn State." -- Peter Khoury