Move to pare Penn State board of trustees gains traction

     The late Penn State head coach Joe Paterno pictured at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pa., on Saturday, Aug. 12, 2006 (Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo, file)

    The late Penn State head coach Joe Paterno pictured at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pa., on Saturday, Aug. 12, 2006 (Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo, file)

    A move to reduce the number of voting members on Penn State’s Board of Trustees has bipartisan backing in Pennsylvania’s Senate.

    Penn State’s board of 30 voting members came under fire after the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case.

    The state’s former auditor general, Jack Wagner, cited research showing larger trustee boards are less effective and less inclusive when making decisions.

    Legislation soon to be introduced in the Senate would reduce the board from 30 voting members to 23.

    It’s a far cry from the 11- to 16-member average among Big Ten universities or other land-grant schools.Still, it represents a significant drop, said Sen. John Yudichak, the measure’s sponsor.

    “In the General Assembly in particular, this is the art of the possible,” said Yudichak, D-Luzerne. “And we understand that there are unique constituencies on Penn State’s board, the alumni and the agricultural community particularly, that are elected to the board so that presents a challenge in terms of a full scale shrinkage to a number that’s at 11, 12, or 15.”

    The proposal also outlines changes on the process of selecting board members.

    Lawmakers say it’s still possible Penn State trustees will take action themselves to thin their ranks.

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