The Trustees Race: How I Voted


I voted for these three candidates because they would be the best advocates of Penn State on the Board of Trustees. I made my selections after reading everyone’s profiles and position statements on the official Trustees website and StateCollege.com. I must say, it is difficult deciding on a slate of candidates when there are thirty-one individuals in the running. Two years ago, more than eighty people ran, so I know that I would have had a more difficult time making a decision then.

As of Wednesday, 14,170 alumni have voted in the Board of Trustees election. Voting ends on May 10, 2014.

Ned Rauch-Mannino (#02)Seal of Penn State

Rauch-Mannino was the only candidate whom I voted for that I did not know of before I read his official platform. He is a strategic consultant for Ridge Policy Group in Washington, DC and Harrisburg. In this profession, Rauch-Mannino is in an ideal position to advocate the interests of Penn State University. Before his current job, he worked in the Department of Commerce. Rauch-Mannino had taught a Temple University part-time, but he has since left that position and, in doing so, is eligible to run for the Board of Trustees.

Rauch-Mannino recognizes that globalization will have an impact on Penn State, and that it is necessary for the university to become a fixture in transnational interdependence. In addition, he wants to lay down five, ten and fifteen year plans to deal with college affordability.

For some reason, the administration halted town halls with the community. I approve of Rauch-Mannino’s plan to hold forums that will serve all groups of Penn Staters. He also doesn’t fault the administration and board for all of their communication problems. His response to StateCollege.com takes a swipe at alumni Facebook pages.

In regards to Joe Paterno, Rauch-Mannino believes they best way to honor the late coach is the continuation of the Grand Experiment, and will focus on graduation rates of student-athletes.

Dan Cocco (#03)

In his questionnaire with StateCollege.com, Cocco made tuition affordability his number one issue. For years, Penn State had the highest tuition at a public institution in the country, a title that was usurped by Pitt last year. High school students should not be wary over the costs of attending a land-grant institution.

Cocco comes from Penn State Hazelton, and I think that will give him a unique perspective on the future of Commonwealth campuses. Additionally, Cocco was one of the few candidates who mentioned they would work with faculty to build up Penn State. He also said he would strengthen the Penn State Alumni network.

Ryan Bagwell (#05)

Bagwell was the only candidate for Trustee whom I knew I would vote for before the ballot box opened. As a supporter of open governance, I sympathize with Bagwell’s campaign to release documents relating to the Freeh investigation . I think that it is important for the Penn State community to learn the full details of why the events of 2012 unfolded as they did. I also support his plan to expand ethics rules for Trustees. Upon reading about his campaign on StateCollege.com, I agreed with his plan to make tuition more affordable for low-income families.

I admit that I don’t agree with everything that Bagwell says or does. However, former New York City mayor Ed Koch put it best:

If you agree with me on 9 out of 12 issues, vote for me. If you agree with me on 12 out of 12 issues, see a psychiatrist.

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