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Auditor General Says State University Boards Need Fewer Members Board Wrap Web.mp3

The four state-related schools, which receive hundreds of millions of dollars in commonwealth funding, have recently come under fire for the size of their boards of trustees.

In particular, a report by the state’s outgoing auditor general has questioned the need for a 32-member board of trustees at Penn State.  Jack Wagner’s study was released as a follow-up to the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.  He said the case showed it’s too difficult to keep so many trustees informed in a fast-moving crisis.

“Think about it.  Keeping all 32 members in the loop is certainly complicated when they are scattered all across the commonwealth and the nation,” said Wagner.

The other state-related schools in Pennsylvania --the University of Pittsburgh,  Temple, and Lincoln –- also have trustee boards which exceed the size suggested by various academic associations.

“The consensus among experts in academic governance is that the optimal size for a board of trustees is fewer, and I repeat, fewer than 20 members,” said Wagner.

Lincoln University’s board has 39 voting members, the same number as Temple University’s board, which includes three non-voting members. The University of Pittsburgh’s board has 40 members, four are nonvoting.  A Temple University spokesman said board size is a sensitive issue, particularly among board members.  But he did not address Wagner’s recommendation.
Pitt did not return a request for comment, while Lincoln University was closed the week before the Thanksgiving holiday.