Penn's Board of Trustees granted President Liz Magill the right to vote on resolutions, bringing the University in line with most of the Ivy League.
Previously, the president of the University was not eligible to vote at board member meetings, because they had an ex officio position within the University's governing body. The new statute, which was amended on March 3, allows the president the ability to vote but does not include voting rights for the other ex officio members, including Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro.
“The Board did a review of peer institutions, and based on that study it was clear that best practices dictated giving the President a vote," Vice President of University Communications Stephen MacCarthy wrote in response to a request for comment. "This is simply an administrative update to reflect that finding.”
Many of Penn's peer institutions in the Ivy League allow their presidents to vote on their governing bodies. A spokesperson for Brown University wrote that Brown's president has been a voting member of its governing board since the school was founded. The school's charter states that Brown Corporation will have a 12-member Board of Fellows and a 36-member Board of Trustees, with the university president as a fellow.
Cornell University's charter uses similar language. The school wrote to The Daily Pennsylvanian that its president has voting rights on the Board of Trustees, as the president is considered an ex officio trustee during their tenure, similar to Penn’s president now.
Princeton University also includes the president and the governor of New Jersey as ex officio members with voting rights. Harvard University’s Board of Overseers has included the president among the fellows since its establishment in 1642, while Yale University's Board of Trustees consists of 17 members, also including the president.
Dartmouth University's website does not specify whether or not its president has voting rights. Director of Communications for Media Relations for Columbia University Samantha Slater declined to comment on the matter.