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Special Committee on University Governance
July 11, 2012

Penn State University Community:

In the aftermath of the events of last November, the University Faculty Senate had extensive discussions about the role of the Board of Trustees in those events and many expressed concerns about insufficient communication between the Board and various University constituencies.  In response, then Senate Chair Dan Hagen appointed the Special Committee on University Governance, a diverse group of faculty, students, staff and alumni, to study the Board’s structure, functions, practices and responsibilities as they relate to the Board’s interactions with the University community and to make recommendations for improving communication. 

The membership and charge of the Special Committee are posted at 

The purpose of this letter is to briefly report on the progress of the Special Committee and to renew its invitation to any entity or individual in the University community to communicate directly with the Special Committee regarding any information or suggestions within this charge.

The Special Committee continues to assess how the Board of Trustees has previously interacted with constituencies within the University community and how the Board’s current structures and practices affect those interactions.  We are specifically interested in hearing suggestions for improving the Board’s communication and interaction with the University community.  Our purpose is not to rehash the past but rather to look forward and make constructive recommendations for improving the flow of information and governance of Penn State.  Your feedback will help the Special Committee gain a better understanding of the key issues related to the Board of Trustees and to be better prepared to make thoughtful recommendations.  Please send any comments to

The Special Committee already has consulted with numerous constituent groups and is continuing those consultations.  A summary of those and other activities of the Special Committee are posted at
Further, the chair of the Special Committee has met with representatives of the Freeh Group, and the full committee anticipates meeting with them after the Freeh report is released.
Thank you very much for your help and support for the work of the Special Committee.

John S. Nichols, Professor Emeritus and Chair, Special Committee on University Governance

Board of Trustees Home Page

Karen Peetz presentation to University Faculty Senate 3-13-12

Final Report: Improving the Governance of Penn State, Revising the Structure of its Board of Trustees, and Furthering the Academic Mission of the University:  Report and Recommendations of the Special Committee on University Governance

Return to University Faculty Senate Home Page

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