When former Vice President for Student Affairs Vicky Triponey resigned suddenly on Sept. 13, 2007, an official statement said only that she was taking a much-needed sabbatical.
Now, a year later, many students and administrators, some who worked closely with Triponey, will not speak about the circumstances surrounding her resignation.
"I'm mostly interested in thinking about my service here and looking forward. I don't really know anything," newly appointed Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims said, adding he was not briefed on his predecessor's resignation before he took the job at Penn State. "I don't think anybody had much they wanted to share with me ... and I didn't have any questions about it."
Jay Chamberlin, Class of 2007, who served as University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA) president during Triponey's term, said her resignation was surprising.
"Not too long before she resigned, I had a conversation with her, and she seemed very positive," he said. Though Chamberlin said the resignation "was a topic of conversation for a while," he added he "doesn't like to speculate" about why she resigned.
Current UPUA President Gavin Keirans said he "didn't want to talk about Vicky Triponey anymore," but said the recent appointment of Sims is a step in a new direction.
"Damon has brought in a brand new perspective on how to relate with students and really look out for their best interests. I really feel like we're going to have a very positive relationship," Keirans said.
Both Triponey and her husband, Michael Meacham, an associate professor of health policy and administration at Penn State, declined to be interviewed for this story.
"We value our privacy at this point and don't feel we have anything to add to the public discussion at Penn State," Meacham wrote in an e-mail.
During her four-year tenure at Penn State, Triponey presided over a number of controversial measures that included a student-government reorganization, a potential funding cut for student radio station The Lion 90.7 FM and the creation of an administration-appointed board to allocate the student activity fee.
In the year since her resignation, Triponey's legacy at Penn State has diminished.
In February, the Triponey-created Funding Allocation Board (FAB) merged with the University Park Allocation Committee (UPAC) as part of a collaborative effort between the office of Student Affairs, the Student Activity Fee Board, FAB and UPAC. The UPUA assembly has also approved constitutional reforms that have brought its structure closer to that of the now-defunct Undergraduate Student Government (USG).
Most university officials would not speculate on the reasons behind the resignation.
Former interim Vice President for Student Affairs Gail Hurley was tapped to fill Triponey's position in 2007; she did not return calls by press time yesterday.
University spokespersons commented sparingly on the resignation.
"Obviously, that's a big decision in everybody's life. I don't really know what was on her plate," university spokeswoman Lisa Powers said last week.
Penn State President Graham Spanier declined to comment on the matter.
Triponey, who was not available for comment when she resigned and has dropped out of the public eye since, applied for a similar vice-presidential position at Portland State University in March.
The job was eventually awarded to Jackie Balzer, and Portland State officials declined to comment about Triponey.
"We cannot give out personal information about people who applied for jobs on campus," said Scott Gallagher, director of communications at Portland State.
Many students interviewed said while they disagreed with Triponey's policies, they had no problems with Triponey as a person.
"I feel bad about her," former Safeguard Old State Executive Director Tom Shakely said. The student advocacy group once published a "Vicky Triponey Timeline of Terror" on its Web site.
"Every time something goes wrong, everyone's always like, 'This is Triponey's fault,' " Shakely said. "I mean, it's not like she's the devil or something."
Former USG President Nick Stathes, Class of 2007, said he disagreed with Triponey's involvement in the creation of UPUA but "had no malice towards her at all."
Stathes stressed student leaders' willingness to move on.
"They've put their own personal interests aside and they are working hard for students. It's represented in UPUA right now, which looks now to be operating for students and not for the administration," he said.