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December 06, 2013
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab

SRU trustees expand meeting access

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. -The Slippery Rock University Council of Trustees is taking a new direction with plans to further expand public access to its meetings and deliberations.

"While the council and committee meetings have long been open to the public, including faculty, staff and students, we believe that in making the agendas available prior to the meetings, publicizing the time and location of the various meetings and encouraging public input, we will strengthen the overall governance of the University," said Robert Taylor, council chair.

Beginning with the Dec. 12-13 quarterly meeting, all sessions will be in the Smith Student Center.

Various committee meetings will be Dec. 12-13, also in the Smith Center. The council's business meeting will be at 1:30 p.m., Dec. 13 in 321 Smith Student Center.

"Our meetings fall under Pennsylvania Sunshine Laws. We have traditionally held our open committee and council meetings in Old Main and the Russell Wright Alumni House and Conference Center, both fine facilities, but we think that by moving the meetings to the Smith Student Center, the heart of campus, we will encourage more faculty, staff and students to attend and to better understand the overall operations of the council and the University," Taylor said.

Taylor is also a member of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Board of Governors.

The 12-member SRU Council of Trustees is charged with governing the University. Its members are nominated and appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Senate, except for the student member who requires only the governor's appointment. Trustees serve a six-year term, but remain on the council until their successor is formally approved. At least two members of the group are alumni of the institution and one member is a full-time undergraduate student.

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education chancellor, currently Frank Brogan, serves as an ex-officio member of the council at SRU and at the other 13 PASSHE institutions.

SRU trustees are required to meet quarterly, or as called by the president, chairperson or at the request of at least three council members.

"We have a number of new members recently appointed to the council, and we believe they want to become even more engaged in setting policy and the future direction of Slippery Rock University. By meeting with other members of the University family, we think they will be able to offer better insights, better direction and even better guidance for the University's future," said Tom Breth, trustee and chair of the council's governance committee. The committee has spent time considering potential changes to council's operations.

The SRU council has a long-established policy of allowing the public to be heard at the public sessions, he said. Council's "Public-to-be-Heard Policy" allows for 30 minutes in the quarterly council meeting for public comment. Each speaker is allotted five minutes, with speakers encouraged, but not required, to register their name and topic through the President's Office prior to the meeting at which they seek to address the council. Anyone wishing to speak will have an opportunity to sign-up on-site prior to the meeting.

Taylor is chairman and chief executive officer of the Cameron Companies LLC, a diversified holding company specializing in business consulting, government affairs consulting, real estate investment and acquisition, legal affairs and turnaround management. He was named to the council in 2004 and previously served as chair from 2006-08.

Breth is a partner in the Butler County law firm of Dillon McCandless King Coulter & Graham, LLP.

Other trustees are: Robert Marcus, a 1961 SRU graduate from Harrisburg; Jeffrey Smith and William McCarrier, both from Butler; Matthew Lautman, a 1999 SRU graduate from Pittsburgh; Dennis Murray, a 1962 SRU graduate from Holidaysburg; Matt Shaner from Sewickly; Suzanne Vessella from Ellwood City; Sen. Mary Jo White from Oil City; and Laura Ordaz, a physic major from Cooperstown.

Agendas for the committee meetings and the regular council meeting are online at:

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.