A message to supporters
It’s been a while since my last campaign update, and a lot has happened since then. The trustees approved their plan to reorganize themselves into a system of committees and subcommittees unlike any public body I’ve seen. They did this after holding a secret weekend meeting in February, which was clearly illegal but creatively justified by their attorney. And they continue to reject the ideals of leadership, integrity and transparency that are obviously necessary, even as alumni are united in demanding change.
But reform is on the horizon. In 9 days, Penn Staters will have the opportunity to put an end to the old way of doing things and usher in a new era of leadership, transparency and openness that we haven’t seen in years.
While I’m hopeful real change is on the verge of happening, I’ve become increasingly concerned about those who’ve emerged as front runners in the race. Many candidates’ backgrounds are impressive. They’re corporate executives with decades of experience, former football players and even a Navy SEAL. But in most cases, they’re silent on what they’ll do if elected. That’s exactly the kind of status quo we must reject.
I’m the only candidate who wants trustees to file annual financial disclosure forms and freeze tuition over students’ undergraduate careers. And I’m among the few who’ve called for bylaw reform, stronger ethics rules, allowing public access to records, shorter term limitsand replacing appointed trustees with those elected by alumni.
I know how much work it is to learn about 86 candidates, but I urge you to carefully consider your choices and vote for alumni who embody the ideals you demand. The advocacy group Penn Staters for Reforming the Board of Trustees has created a sortable table that will help you scan through candidates information and narrow the field to those who promise reform.
In addition, please consider Jes James Sellers, an Ohio resident who shares my commitment to changing the board of trustees.
In addition to the PSREBOT website, there are number of way to find out more about the trustee candidates. The Goon Show, a Penn State football radio program, has recorded 15-minute interviews with most alumni running. StateCollege.com is writing short profiles of everyone on the ballot. The Penn Stater magazine will publish answers from candidates, although the questions have little to do with recent events. The Centre Daily Times is planning a special voters guide in their print edition on April 21 – the day of the Blue and White Game, although most interested alumni will have voted by then. And if you’re attending the game, some candidates will be available in the IM building for a few hours in the morning.
Your help is key
My fiancee and I will be heading back east for a few days next week to spend time with a friend who’s recovering from cancer surgery. Working from home in solitude is taking its toll, and it’ll be great to see the old Maryland crew again. But I won’t stop spreading my message of change. I still need your help.
Here’s what you can do:
- Tell your alumni friends about my campaign and my plan for financial disclosures, term limits and public access to university records.
- Join the Penn State Alumni Facebook group and post a message about my campaign.
- Write a letter to your your local newspaper about my campaign.
Voting starts on April 10. Don’t slow down!
For the Glory,
Ryan Bagwell, ’02