Ryan M. Bagwell, Ballot Position No. 62
Read Bagwell’s official bio and position statement here (PDF download).
Answers to Questions
1. In view of sharply declining state appropriations, what steps should Penn State be taking to secure its financial future?
Penn State has endured an enormous hit to its reputation, and the Board of Trustees should immediately begin the long path to rebuilding trust and confidence in its leadership. But little progress toward a policy of becoming more transparent has been made in the wake of the Sandusky scandal. In fact, the board’s secret and illegal February retreat was a giant leap in the opposite direction. Using my experience as a newspaper reporter, I’ve proposed plans to make trustees more accountable by shortening their lengthy term limits, imposing mandatory financial disclosure requirements and adopting Pennsylvania’s open records law as a Penn State policy. The university’s future – financial and otherwise – depends on electing board members who are committed to the ideals we believe in. We must reject those who lack ideas for reform and embody the status quo.
2. The rising cost of tuition nationally is making college less affordable for many students. Outline the steps you believe Penn State should be taking to address the issue.
State funding is declining, and may never return to levels of the past. We must seek out replacement revenue streams that help our young people pursue the education they deserve without the burden of overwhelming debt. The administration and Board of Trustees should focus on growing the university’s endowment and establish more scholarships for promising young people who may not otherwise be able to afford a college education. With the right leadership making forward-looking investment decisions, I believe we can substantially reduce tuition over the next decade or so. But any change begins with electing the right people who are committed to cutting costs where necessary and making college affordable for the next generation of Penn Staters.
3. What form should Penn State’s land-grant mission take in the 21st century?
Penn State is in a unique position to be a leader in defining higher education’s 21st Century values. The university should become an example of how colleges everywhere can be transparent and accountable while remaining independent and preparing students for jobs in demand. Trustees shouldn’t reward themselves with lucrative university positions. They shouldn’t reappoint themselves each year, and be allowed to remain on the board without term limits. And they shouldn’t blindly raise tuition on an annual basis. We must to elect people who are committed to transform Penn State into a transparent, ethical and honest institution, and choose alumni with the courage to stand up and fight for those values. If elected, I pledge to do exactly that.