In the wake of her resignation yesterday, Student Affairs Vice President Vicky Triponey leaves behind not only a fledgling student government, but also a legacy of involvement with student organizations.
"I would say that it was completely unexpected," said Hillary Lewis, University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA) president. "I know that I haven't been made aware of anything that would give a hint to the fact that she was resigning."
Ralph Crivello, UPUA College of Engineering representative, said he was not aware of the news, but stressed he hoped Triponey's resignation was "nothing personal, nothing family-related." Still, he said, Triponey "left a mess."
"The political side of it is [that] it is a godsend for students for her to finally leave, and hopefully, we can begin repairing the mess that occurred under her tenure, especially in the area of student government," Crivello said. "She left a lot of decentralization and confusion in her wake."
Crivello, who is also a member of the advocacy organization Safeguard Old State (SOS), added, "there will be a lot of people who will be extraordinarily ecstatic."
SOS recently gained club status and currently runs www.safeguardoldstate.org, which features "The Vicky Triponey Timeline of Terror" and "The Vicky Triponey Watch Blog."
SOS executive director Gavin Keirans said he was surprised, yet pleased, to hear the news.
"I think this is probably the greatest thing in recent history for students to actually regain their voice at this university," he said.
Triponey oversaw the transition from the Undergraduate Student Government (USG), which reigned for 45 years, to UPUA during her four-year tenure at Penn State.
USG dissolved in February; UPUA officially took over in October.
Former USG president Nick Stathes said her resignation is "a positive development for students ... at Penn State that believe in democratic principles and values."
"The notion that any administrator could or should have any power over the student government is an absolute joke and ... [she] used some of her student tools like [former USG president] Galen Foulke and [former USG vice president] Luke Adams to push through her baby, her plan ... UPUA," Stathes said.
Foulke initiated the change to UPUA during his USG presidency, with Adams serving as his vice president. Foulke said last night he did not know about the resignation, but said he had great faith in successor Gail Hurley.
UPUA president Lewis said the resignation should not affect UPUA.
"I hope this whole situation that occurred today will help us grow as an organization," she said. "I don't think this will have a hindrance on anything as we speak."
She added that she hoped Triponey's resignation would "ease the tension with [SOS]."
SOS director of advocacy initiatives Tom Shakely said he feels Triponey's absence is "a big win for students."
"[SOS] and I, personally, have disagreed with Dr. Triponey on how Student Affairs should be run at the university," he said.
Last year, a group known only as "an external body of five" worked under former UPUA adviser and member of Triponey's office Felicia McGinty. The group rejected a revision to UPUA's constitution, despite being unanimously approved by UPUA's assembly.
A resolution appealing to the administration to change the current, and original, constitution is under review in the internal development committee.
"It's not like Dr. Triponey had any kind of a role in our constitution," said internal development committee chairman Jay Chamberlin. "... obviously there is a period of transition that can affect continuity."
Interfraternity Council President Grant Miller said he would miss Triponey's influence on campus.
"I think that Vicky offered invaluable leadership to the student organizations on campus," he said. "She personally influenced me by inspiring me to be a catalyst and make changes in my surroundings."