Sunday, September 14, 2014

Thank You, 11/9/2011 Board of Trustees

To: Penn State Trustees
cc: alumni networking

There is a picture circulating online from the Rutgers tailgate party last night that shows a large male stick figure standing behind a smaller one, with his hand on the smaller one’s head, and with his hips forward in an obvious sexually suggestive position. The caption “Penn State” is on the picture. In addition, a Penn State alumnus reported, “Some guy got in my wife’s face calling her a rapist lover, and he bets she rapes little kids.” The alumnus also alleges that he was physically assaulted with a thrown beer can.

While it in no way excuses the conduct of the Rutgers fans involved, they would probably have not thought of it had the 11/9/2011 Board of Trustees’ incompetence, panic, and rush to judgment not admitted falsely on Penn State’s behalf that Penn State was somehow responsible for Jerry Sandusky’s activities. Then, in July 2012, Kenneth Frazier and Karen Peetz—the latter in her capacity as Chairwoman—affirmed Louis Freeh’s findings that Penn State had allowed Jerry Sandusky to do what he did. Both Trustees did this without authorization by a vote by the Board, and both made derogatory remarks about Penn State employees (Paterno, and in Frazier’s case, Spanier, Curley, and Schultz) when they did it.

I think, therefore, that it is appropriate for the Penn State community to recognize Mr. Frazier, Ms. Peetz, and every other member of the 11/9/2011 Board of Trustees, including Governor Corbett and Rodney Erickson, but with the honorable exception of Alvin Clemens, for the caption “Penn State” on a sexually suggestive image of an adult male standing behind a boy, and accusations of pedophilia directed at the wife of a Penn State alumnus.

·         If the Board had done its job on 11/9/2011, this would probably not have happened. (I say “probably” because there are irrational people in the world whom no amount of facts will persuade.)
·         If Trustees Peetz and Frazier had not violated the Board’s Standing Orders in July 2012, this would probably not have happened.
·         If the Board had acted quickly to repudiate Peetz’s and Frazier’s statements in July 2012, this would probably not have happened.
·         If the Board had not been passively-aggressively derelict in its fiduciary duty for the subsequent two years, this may or may not have happened depending on the effectiveness of the corrective actions taken.
·         Al Clemens, however, repudiated openly the Board’s past mistakes, thus making him a role model for character, integrity, and taking responsibility whom today’s Penn State students would do well to emulate.

Now, to recap where we are today,
·         The Commonwealth Court opined on 4/09/2014 that (1) the NCAA sanctions are of questionable legitimacy and (2) the Board was derelict in its fiduciary duty for not challenging them.
·         The NCAA’s own document on sexual abuse casts serious doubts on the judgment, and possibly the integrity and character, of Governor Corbett, State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan, Mark Emmert, various 11/9/2011 BOT members, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), Buzz Bissinger, and Dan Bernstein, all of whom condemned Coach Paterno for not “doing more.”*
·         Judge Leete’s ruling that the Paterno lawsuit can go forward also casts doubts on the legitimacy of the NCAA sanctions.

The roll call vote on Al Lord’s resolution to reexamine, and probably repudiate, the Freeh Report will show unequivocally whether individual Trustees are putting the well-being of Penn State foremost or, as stated by Senator Yudichak, “Commonwealth Court opinion questions the validity of the NCAA consent decree, so why are the majority trustees embracing a flawed, indefensible verdict against Penn State? Further proof personal agendas, not a Penn State agenda, are driving board decisions.”

*  From page 4 of "Addressing Sexual Assault and Interpersonal Violence."

“Cooperate with but not manage, direct, control or interfere with college or university investigations into allegations of sexual violence ensuring that investigations involving student-athletes and athletics department staff are managed in the same manner as all other students and staff on campus.”

From Page 13

Athletics departments are held to the same federal requirements of all institutional staff and departments when it comes to education and reporting requirements. Athletics staff members are required to report any suspected or alleged sexual violence or harassment immediately to appropriate campus offices for resolution; the athletics department is not the appropriate staff to adjudicate a reported case of sexual assault.

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