Penn State President Eric Barron recently sent out a call asking Penn State alumni to lobby Pennsylvania legislators in support of a $318 million appropriation of taxpayer funds for the university.
As a Penn State alumna who also supports good governance and the transparency required for watchdogs to expose and correct corruption, waste, fraud and abuse, I ask Pennsylvania’s legislature to withhold public funding for Penn State.
Please withhold funding until Penn State’s executive leadership explicitly endorses Auditor General Eugene DePasquale’s June 2017 recommendation that Penn State and the other state-related universities be subject to the Right-to-Know-Law and the Public Official and Employee Ethics Act, from which they are currently exempt.
To date, Penn State’s leadership has explicitly rejected calls for compliance with the transparency and ethics laws to which other public entities are held.
If, and only if, Penn State’s executives publicly endorse those transparency and ethics measures, the legislature should then concurrently adopt the legislation to impose the Right-to-Know and ethics laws on Penn State, and approve the public appropriation.
Without public accountability to ordinary citizens through these important state laws, Penn State does not deserve public funding, or even the many tax-exemptions the institution currently enjoys as a nonprofit corporation.
Katherine Watt, State College