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The Sentinel

An Eye on the Penn State Administration


Will Penn State Really Do ‘More With Less’?

Editor’s Note: Penn State President Spanier, Vice-President Gail Hurley and members of the Pennsylvania media have been contacted by Safeguard Old State on this matter.

In light of Dr. Vicky Triponey’s abrupt and unexpected departure as Vice-President for Student Affairs at The Pennsylvania State University, the entire Penn State family is presented with a unique opportunity. Part of what made Dr. Triponey such a controversial figure in her four years in Old Main were the many new departments and salaried positions she established within the Office for Student Affairs.

Dr. Felicia McGinty, who departed Penn State just weeks ago, was just one of a number of Student Affairs administrators hired by Dr. Triponey. Dr. McGinty was hired as Associate Vice President for Student Engagement, a department that did not exist just three years ago. Many of the recent changes within Student Affairs have erected unnecessary and redundant walls of bureaucracy between the administration and the students.

Student Engagement should be a way of life, not necessarily an office in Old Main.

Penn Staters of all ages have often heard of the University’s dedication to doing “more with less” as taxpayer appropriations from Harrisburg typically fail to meet the levels requested by President Spanier each year.

We in Safeguard Old State publicly call on President Graham Spanier and the Office of Student Affairs under interim Vice-President Gail Hurley to truly and concretely do “more with less” and immediately suspend the current search to replace the vacancy left by Dr. Felicia McGinty.

The Center for Student Engagement (CSE), created by Vicky Triponey, already has capable leadership under Mr. Barry Bram. Gail Hurley must reassess the structure of the department and examine whether such a position is in fact necessary.

As the student-union building, the HUB-Robeson Center already houses more for-profit businesses and administrative centers than actual student organization offices. By consolidating the Center for Student Engagement under Mr. Bram rather than filling yet another administrative liaison position as vacated by Dr. McGinty, the Office of Student Affairs and President Spanier would be reaffirming their commitment to a more responsible, accountable and less spend-thrift administration.

This recommendation is just the first of many recommendations which Safeguard Old State will be unveiling to improve the operation of the Office of Student Affairs in an effort to enhance the university’s goal of maintaining its status as one of the nation’s premier research institutions while also achieving its oft-proclaimed goal of nurturing a truly student-centered Penn State community.

Safeguard Old State is a student-founded grassroots advocacy organization that operates out of offices in State College, PA and strives to revitalize the Pennsylvania State University and her students’ interest in an “enlightened conscience”, of which President Atherton spoke fondly so long ago.

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[…] to Vice President for Public Relations Bill Mahon, our administrators constantly strive to do “more with less.” Yet given the empirical […]

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