Art Greenwald, Ballot Position No. 32

Greenwald photoArt Greenwald ’76 Lib

Freelance writer/journalist
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Read Greenwald’s official bio and position statement here. (PDF download.)

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1. Describe how you think the relationship between the Board of Trustees and the university president should function.

As in all healthy and productive human relationships, it must function as a partnership based on mutual respect, trust, communications, compromise and cooperation, all for the betterment of the university and the people it serves. While he must be respected as leader and supported in his executive role, the university president should never rule as a top-down dictatorship with the BOTs as passive underlings rubber-stamping policy. Both parties must be active and equal partners, amenable to all ideas, positions and possibilities. The president must create an open and engaging atmosphere in which BOT members feel they can comfortably, and without recrimination, discuss and debate germane and sensitive issues freely and candidly, even the unpopular, minority ones. Censoring or alienating anyone on the BOT should never be tolerated. Civil disagreement, diplomacy and fair negotiation are fundamental to this relationship. BOT members must also be permitted the right as well as the duty to politely and respectfully ask relevant questions of the president before, during and after decision-making. Regarding appropriate contact with the president whether electronically or in person, it should not be narrowly regulated nor confined to structured board meetings. Within reasonable boundaries, an open-door policy with the president is advised, lines of communications open, steady and maintained. It is also crucial that a president seek input from BOT members on vital issues and vice versa. The BOTs and the president must work together as one team, the Penn State way, to ensure an operationally and economically sound and stable institution.

2. What would you do to help heal the university community and to assist the university as it continues to recover from the Sandusky scandal?

After deep reflection on this question, I conclude that there are no simple solutions. Like grief, healing is a process that cannot be rushed. And yet, as an optimist, I believe that with time, prospective and thoughtful actions, the wounds that refuse to mend so easily will one day heal. Countless people have been damaged by Sandusky’s heinous acts, and emotions remain raw. Pain, shock, sadness and disbelief persist. Some are scandal-fatigued and prefer to accept and move on. And others cannot; they are still justifiably angry and indignant, conditions hardly ripe for recovery. I believe that we cannot fully heal until the truths are fully known and we must continue fervently to pursue them, however long it takes. More questions than answers remain, falsehoods, distortions and misinformation abound and they must be challenged. True healing demands justice be attained for Coach Paterno and all accused. We must honor his 61 years of service and hold accountable the BOT by voting those members out who failed to represent the interests of Penn State. I would also encourage an honest acknowledgement that mistakes were made. Sandusky duped everyone,  and we need to become more educated on child abuse so we might better recognize the signs. Let us seize this tragedy as a teaching moment. We cannot change the past and picking at the scab keeps us divided and stuck in negativity. But, we can change the future by reaching the truth, coming to terms with it, and moving on in solidarity and purpose.

3. What, in your view, are the major fiscal challenges Penn State will face over the next three years—and how should the university address them?

While major cutbacks in state and federal education funding are expected to continue amid an unstable economy and lagging recovery, Penn State must adapt in the face of such fiscal realities, while still meeting its primary mission—to educate. Shrinking revenue from state and national sources makes it imperative that Penn State consider more efficient and effective cost-control measures along with creative ways of generating added income to cover its ever-mounting expenses. The biggest challenge Penn State faces over the next three years is how to keep revenues and expenditures in balance without reducing essential services. Tuition control and stabilization, student debt and affordability presents another colossal challenge fiscally, especially for those prospective and current students from middle to lower class families who can no longer afford the exorbitant admissions bill. Gone are the days when government assisted and made up the difference with grants. To address these complex issues, I WOULD NOT raise tuition, but lower it for income-pressed middle class Pennsylvania families. Accommodating the academically fit students must be our top priority. I would also revamp the student loan services, and offer financial aid to as many students as possible at lower interest rates. In striving for smarter, sounder fiscal policies, I advocate for trimming the fat through administrative cuts, (particularly low-value and redundant positions and services), slashing needless programs, increasing class sizes, a merit pay freeze on high-paid administrative personnel, creation of academic scholarships like those in athletics and increasing those programs through alumni giving programs and fundraising.

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