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The Sentinel

An Eye on the Penn State Administration


National Civil Rights Organization Sides with STOP!

Editor’s Note: This blog post originally appeared on the website of “Safeguarding Traditions Of Penn State,” which was the precursor to Safeguard Old State. It appears here for posterity.

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National Civil Rights Organization Sides with STOP

The FIRE Decries “Affront to our Nation’s Core Values”

STATE COLLEGE, PA- MARCH 3 2006: The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a group designed to protect “the essential qualities of individual liberty and dignity” on college campuses, has published a scathing entry in its blog regarding the student government controversy at Penn State, siding with Safeguarding Traditions of Penn State.

Using money obtained through the Office of Student Affairs, Undergraduate Student Government (USG) President Galen Foulke, also a Penn State trustee, is pushing through a complete overhaul of Penn State’s student government (which has endorsed the Academic Bill of Rights and been highly critical of tuition increases).

This new model, which replaces student governance with student “advocacy”, decreases the total number of student representatives, puts most of the remaining “power” in the hands of a few favored special interest groups, curtails the ability of the general student body to elect representatives, and trumps all of these by granting Vice President for Student Affairs Vicky Triponey administrative veto power over constitutional amendments.

Throughout the secretive process of this proposal’s development and presentation, Foulke has received both monetary and institutional support, including access to PSU’s University Testing Services and a unique Penn State web address.

Triponey, who has promised student leaders since her arrival that her office will stay out of student government, continues to deny any University involvement.

The blog entry, written by former USG Senate President Sean Clark, now a FIRE Program Associate, says that the administration should not cave to Foulke’s demands.

“This attempt to abolish a democratic student government is an affront to our nation’s core values of democracy, freedom, and fundamental fairness. The survey by which the administration is planning to base its decision on appears to be wrought with problems and conflicts of interest. Furthermore, it is unconstitutional for a public university to use a referendum to abolish a student organization. Penn State is making a mockery of the rule of law by encouraging students to evade the democratic requirements for change (such as the requirement for petition signatures) already in place on its campus.”

Safeguarding Traditions Of Penn State
(STOP), a coalition of PSU students, alumni, and friends who believe in preserving the noble ideals of student representation and shared governance upon which Penn State and so many other schools were founded, respectfully asks for your attention and inquiry into this matter.
Please help us to shine the light of truth on the assault on independent student governance.

President Graham Spanier: president@psu.edu (814) 865-7611
Vicky Triponey: vlt11@psu.edu (814) 865-0909
Galen Foulke: gtf109@psu.edu (814) 862-8747
Penn State Undergraduate Student Government: (814) 863-1874
The Daily Collegian (student newspaper): jch260@psu.edu (814) 865-1828
The LION 90.7fm (student radio station): lion-officers@psu.edu (814) 865-7983

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