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The Sentinel

An Eye on the Penn State Administration

Truth To Power: Vicky Is Bad For Penn State

Let’s revisit an old quote of Tom Shakely’s from The Daily Collegian:

“It’s pretty definite that we’d all agree that the … problems facing Penn State students are being caused by one person, and that’s Dr. Vicky Triponey,” he said.

Whew! Pretty harsh, right? On the face of it, certainly. Let’s get down to it, though: my dislike for Vicky is not because we don’t like or that we hate her or that we even think she’s an especially bad person. In fact, based on many personal encounters and conversations with her, we really do like the woman; she’s both pleasant and personable.

Unfortunately, Vicky Triponey is really just plain horrible at her job. She takes things that aren’t hers (the activity fee), she has used a sledgehammer to destroy some of Penn State’s longest and proudest traditions (student/shared governance) and she frankly just doesn’t seem to give a damn about students as a whole.

Sure, her platitudes run deep, but what she really cares about is (a) making sure she looks good to Papa Spanier and the Board of Trustees, and (b) raking in that fat $150k plus salary every year as a Penn State Vice-President. Her position provides a lot of power, and not a lot of incentive to actually do anything for students, despite what her position in Student Affairs might seem to imply.

Don’t get me wrong — people like her will be happy to meet with virtually anyone and everyone dozens of times in meetings to listen to your problems, anxieties and concerns. They’ll nod their head and offer helpful advice, but the moment you depart the office, it’s as if the meeting had never happened. Why? Because there’s no consequence whatsoever to ignoring students rights.

Unless we’re talking about football: The most startling example of Vicky’s and bureaucrats’ like her total disregard for students? Last spring’s football ticket lottery meltdown. They tried to shove a policy down the throats of unsuspecting students at the end of the semester, and fortunately (for once!) they paid the price and ate it.

Vicky is by no means the only bureaucrat in Happy Valley causing problems for students, but by far she’s the worst. She’s the worst because her position at the University allows her to enable all the other bureaucrats to further ignore and degrade the proud voice of the students at Penn State.

Students are mostly here to get an education, and we don’t expect Vicky and people like her to so actively work against our best interests, our proud traditions and our hopes and dreams.

Unfortunately, this place isn’t as student-centered as Vicky and her cohorts would have us think.

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