STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — Penn State trustees are weighing whether to make the university president and the governor nonvoting members of the school's governing board.
 
A trustees committee recommended the change Thursday, though the full board needs to vote on the matter. That may not happen for at least another couple of months, as the board studies other potential governance reforms.
 
Making the president and governor nonvoting members of the 32-person board were two recommendations made by former Auditor General Jack Wagner in a report last year looking at university governance. The board make-up has been scrutinized in the fallout of the child sex abuse scandal involving former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.
 
"I personally think it's time for a change," said trustee Carl Shaffer, who agreed with the recommendation at a governance committee meeting.
 
The full board finishes two days of meetings Friday afternoon, when trustees are expected to name potato farming executive Keith Masser as their new chairman.
 
Masser, of Schuylkill County, would replace Karen Peetz, who is stepping down from the leadership post she held for a year after being promoted to president of Bank of New York Mellon.
 
Masser would take over at a critical juncture since the school is coping with a myriad of issues including the search to replace President Rodney Erickson, who plans to step down next year, and settlement talks with Sandusky' accusers.
 
A trustees legal committee did not address potential civil settlements in public session Thursday, but Erickson told The Associated Press there were no new developments to report publicly. He said he remained pleased with the progress of talks.
 
That committee also reviewed the way the university's top lawyer interacts with the school's governing body, including the types of legal issues to which trustees must be alerted — both issues central to board operations following the Sandusky scandal.
 
The role of the general counsel and the office's interactions with the trustees have been in the spotlight since the Sandusky matter, and is even part of the legal defense being mounted by two former high-ranking officials facing criminal charges.
 
Current general counsel Stephen Dunham told legal committee trustees that the review of the legal issues at the university was initiated by recommendations from former FBI director Louis Freeh, who handled the school's internal investigation into the scandal.
 
The recommendations included what issues to take to the board and, even if they are approved on Friday, as expected, the guidelines remain fluid.
 
"It's the most important thing in here. It will just take time," Dunham said in Thursday's meeting. "Ultimately, it's good judgment."
 
Two former Penn State administrators who face charges related to the scandal have said they were illegally deprived of legal representation when Penn State's previous counsel, Cynthia Baldwin, accompanied them to a grand jury appearance.
 
Retired vice president Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley, who is on leave, were charged in November 2011 with perjury before a grand jury and failure to properly report suspected abuse.
 
Late last year, state prosecutors added new charges of endangering the welfare of children, obstruction and conspiracy against them, as well as former president Graham Spanier. All three men deny the allegations against them.
 
Baldwin's role has been a topic of pretrial motions by Curley and Schultz, focusing on whether Baldwin was acting as their lawyer when the three men met with prosecutors, and then testified before the grand jury.
 
The guidelines approved by the committee outlined that the general counsel's first obligation was to "report to, and represent" the university, and that the Board of Trustees was its top constituent.
 
Dunham said the university was also close to announcing the hiring of an athletics compliance officer, required as part of the strict sanctions handed down by the NCAA last summer.
 
Also discussed in the governance committee was the transition of trustees to university employees — and vice versa — which critics have said may create a conflict of interest. Baldwin was a former trustee before becoming counsel, and current acting athletic director Dave Joyner resigned from his trustee post after being appointed by Erickson to replace Curley during the scandal's frantic opening weeks in November 2011.
 
Erickson, who plans to step down when his current contract expires next year, has said Joyner will stay as long as he is president.
 
The board expects Joyner to be among a pool of candidates should Erickson's replacement elect to hire a new athletic director.
 
Results of another survey of alumni conducted in December were unveiled at a separate discussion on outreach. The survey found that more than 8 in 10 alumni remained positive toward Penn State, though that's down from 9 in 10 in 2009.
 
About 75 percent of respondents said the school should publicly recognize late football coach Joe Paterno — fired in the wake of Sandusky's arrest — for his decades of service to the school, down from 87 percent in May.
 
The survey of 1,172 alumni was conducted by an external public relations firm under contract with the university. It was taken online and over the telephone. The margin of error was 2.86 percent.