John Diercks, Candidate for Penn State Board of Trustees


Position Statement on Reforming BoT Structure

I agree with most recommendations for reforming the Board of Trustees (BoT) proposed by past Auditor General (AG) Jack Wagner. The BoT definitely needs to be restructured and the President of the University and Governor eliminated from voting positions on the Board. I also agree with reducing the size of the Board and term limits. Our local State representative, Scott Conklin, has introduced legislation that would restructure the Board based on AG Wagner’s report. Similar legislation has been introduced in the Pennsylvania Senate. However, I don’t support the legislation as currently written because alumni-elected positions are reduced to six, which results in the same proportion of alumni-elected positions as on the current failed board.  We need a higher proportion of democratically-elected alumni on the board. We don’t need the current proportion of Governor-appointed and society-elected members on a restructured board.  With State appropriations being reduced each year as a proportion of the University budget, the proportion of Governor-appointed members should definitely be reduced. That proportion didn’t work in the past, and it won’t work in the future. We need to do away with cronyism on the BoT.  So until the elected alumni get a larger voice on the Board, I won’t support the current House or Senate legislation as written.