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The Sentinel

An Eye on the Penn State Administration

Vicky Wants PSU ‘Student-Centered’?

That is, of course, if you believe in a world where students have control of their own activity fee. Unfortunately, this is not that world.

The quote to which the title of this post refers is a “Who’s Who” feature from 2004 in The Daily Collegian:

Vicky Triponey is the newest member of the Office of Student Affairs. She was appointed vice president of Student Affairs on July 1, 2003 and replaced Bill Asbury, who served as vice president for 27 years. Her main goal as vice president is to make Penn State a more student-centered university.

It seems an apt time to sit down and figure out, three years later, what in the hell any of that actually means. “Her main goal as vice president is to make Penn State a more student-centered university.

The sole point and purpose of Vicky Triponey’s position in Student Affairs is to ensure Penn State is a “student-centered university”. And look, how could this not be a student-centered university?

A university, by definition, exists for the purpose of students. It’s inherently tied to being student-centered!

That Triponey would ever publicly state that her goal was to make this place a more student-centered university speaks to the disingenuous attitude with which functionaries at Penn State like her think of their purpose here. For just being a goal, it means she’s barely fulfilling her basic job description.

To get into the real peculiarity of things, Triponey has actually done a better job making the department of Student Affairs a more student-hostile environment in her now four years here. She’s spent less time as a Penn State administrator than some undergrads have spent studying toward their degree, and she’s destroyed many of the student traditions (control of the activity fee, a strong student voice in governance, tuition input, legal services, food and drinks in class, to name just a few) that made her predecessor Bill Asbury’s reputation such an admirable one.

If Vicky Triponey’s goal was to make Penn State “a more student-centered university”, then my goal for her going forward is to start being honest, and just tell us outright that she really just wants to assume control over all aspects of student life at Penn State. Ugh.

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