My Priorities for Penn State
If elected, I pledge to vigorously work for the following:
Full disclosure of Freeh records
Penn State immediately release of all records of Louis J. Freeh’s investigation. I will review every document to gauge the accuracy of his conclusions and present my findings to the public so we can finally move on.
Make Penn State affordable
A Penn State degree has become too expensive. The Board of Trustees must commit to aggressively reducing tuition with forward-thinking initiatives that are equitable to all.
The cost of attending Penn State should be based on the student’s ability to pay it, not on the number of new buildings wealthy trustees want to build. We should implement a system of need-based tuition rates instead of the single-price model in use today. We should also create a long-term goal to provide free tuition for students whose parents earn less than $60,000 per year.
A special Board of Trustees task force should should be formed to immediately consider the these ideas, as well as the following:
offer lower tuition to children of dedicated alumni;
freeze tuition over the course of an undergraduate’s career;
refuse administration requests for annual tuition hikes;
expand the university loan program and lower its 6% interest rate;
reduce expenses by conducting an external review of university operations to identify opportunities for cost savings;
consolidate the university’s IT operations;
require a portion of all donations for new buildings to be invested in the endowment to offset future maintenance and operating costs.
Disclose conflicts of interest and financial ties
Distrust of Penn State’s leaders is as low as it has ever been. Only 16 percent of alumni trust the Board of Trustees, and only 28 percent trust the administration. Restoring confidence is critical to moving the university beyond the Sandusky scandal.
Although trustees are required to report conflicts of interest, the administration has refused to release this information to the public. The board must end the practice of keeping its disclosures secret, and it should expand rules to include matters involving trustees’ grandchildren, siblings and their families.
Furthermore, we should require all trustees and senior administrators to submit annual financial disclosure forms that document their sources of income. State law requires some trustees to submit this information, but Penn State can do more.
Oversight is the Board of Trustees’s primary responsibility. We must remove board rules that prohibit members from conducting their own due diligence and asking tough questions that their positions of responsibility demand.
Provide access to Penn State information
As a private organization, Penn State has virtually no obligation to answer questions from Pennsylvania taxpayers. We should establish an office to handle requests for information from average citizens and make good on Rodney Erickon’s pledge to be as transparent as possible.
Honor Joe Paterno
According to a January poll by the Penn State Alumni Association, 81 percent of alumni believe Joe Paterno should be honored for his years of service to Penn State. It’s time for Penn State to act on this demand.