Penn State board meets in private to discuss president search

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The search for a new president at Penn State will continue without a definite timetable, and the presidential search committee will continue to operate confidentially.

That was the news from a statement issued after a private PSU Board of Trustees meeting this morning in which the trustees received an update on the search and then generally declined to comment afterward.

Originally, the board had scheduled a public meeting for today to discuss a personnel decision, which was said to be the hiring of a new university president to replace Rodney Erickson. Several current trustees criticized the board this week for not keeping them in the loop about developments in the search process. Rather than involving all members of the board, the presidential search committee consists of 12 of the 32 trustees.

This morning's meeting lasted about 90 minutes and took place in a basement boardroom of the Nittany Lion Inn. In a statement released after today’s meeting, board chairman Keith Masser stressed the need for confidentiality.

“It has been shown repeatedly that a confidential search process for an executive position attracts the best and most qualified and extraordinary candidates,” he said.

Most trustees declined comment after the meeting. Trustee Keith Eckel said the process was “moving ahead vigorously.”

Anthony Lubrano, one of the critical trustees who earlier this week told PennLive that the voices of the alumni trustees were being marginalized, said this morning, “We had a very lively, healthy discussion.” Mr. Lubrano said he still had no knowledge of any candidates for the presidency.

The turmoil surrounding the board this week is nothing new for the group and has centered again on transparency. State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale told the Post-Gazette this week that he understood the need for confidentiality but believed all members of the board needed to be involved in the decision-making for selecting a new president to ensure the best candidate is picked.

Mr. Erickson is stepping down next summer.

Mark Dent:, 412-439-3791 and Twitter @mdent05

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