Saturday, September 19, 2015

Re: Emertius status for Alexander, Shaffer, and Strumpf

To: Penn State Trustees
cc: alumni networking, also posted at PennLive with this article.

"We can share different opinions on positions that individuals have taken," Eckel said, "but we should not be divided in recognizing the unselfish service that members have made."

What Keith Eckel refuses to acknowledge is that whatever honorable service Marianne Alexander, Carl Shaffer and Linda Strumpf might have rendered to Penn State in the past went straight down the sewer, along with Eckel's own service, when they scapegoated Coach Paterno and then lied about it in the bargain. A liar, at least by the standards of the 19th and early 20th century, was not a gentleman or a lady by definition. As another example, France's Marshal Petain was stripped of all the honors he rightly earned during the First World War (except for the title of Marshal of France, which could not be revoked) because of his collaboration with the enemy during the Second.

Somebody who scapegoats any employee, whether he coaches the Nittany Lions or sweeps the floor, also is without honor and is grossly unfit to hold any position of supervisory responsibility. Lying about the circumstances afterward is yet another dis-qualifier. Kenneth Frazier and Karen Peetz are similarly on record as lying to and on behalf of Penn State when they said Paterno was fired for failure of leadership (Keith Masser later testified in a deposition that he was fired for public relations reasons not for anything he had or had not done, but because his presence would be a distraction, and Frazier said pretty much the same thing.) Do they also scapegoat Merck and BNY employees, and/or lie to their employees, customers, stockholders, and suppliers? The fact that they did these things at Penn State puts ordinarily discourteous questions of that nature on the table.

The award of Emeritus status to Alexander, Shaffer, and Strumpf is a major disservice and insult to the Emeritus Trustees who rendered honorable service to Penn State, much as Nobel Peace Prizes for the likes of terrorist Yasser Arafat, charlatan Al Gore and, most recently, Barack Obama--do they now put Nobel Peace Prizes in Cracker Jack boxes?--devalues the award for people like Theodore Roosevelt, who really promoted world peace by mediating the end of the Russo-Japanese War, and humanitarians like Mother Teresa. (Irena Sendler, a Pole who risked her life to rescue Jews from the Holocaust, was passed over in favor of a phony like Gore.) It's like giving a first place trophy to everybody who showed up, which makes the first place trophy worthless for the competitor who actually came in first.

I see that Karen Peetz has not yet been awarded Emeritus status even though her "service" as Chairwoman technically entitles her to it. Maybe she hopes Penn State will forget she was ever an alumna, let alone a Trustee, which is probably best for her. To paraphrase what she herself said about Paterno while lying about him, her service has been marred and we have to step back and ask, what does that mean?

I remind Keith Eckel that he also is a proven (by Masser's and Frazier's depositions) liar, and therefore not a gentleman whose arguments deserve consideration, much less respect, by any person of honor and character. Finally, if Rodney Erickson and Tom Corbett were still ex officio members of the Board when it issued the knowingly defamatory statement about Paterno in March 2012 (to the effect that he was fired for failure of leadership), they also are liars and therefore not gentlemen.*

In the future, I hope the Board will not further insult former Trustees who have served with honor and dignity by awarding Emeritus status to the likes of Anne Riley, Paul Suhey, Jesse Arnelle, Joel Myers, and others.

William A. Levinson, B.S. ‘78

* If the Board released a dishonest statement to the effect that Paterno was fired for failure of leadership even though, as later admitted by Masser and Frazier, he was fired for public relations reasons, and Erickson and Corbett did not correct this statement, they are parties to it. That would be covered by the “tolerate those who do” aspect of the U.S. Military Academy’s Honor Code. The bottom line is that every single member of the Board as of March 2012, with the sole honorable exception who repudiated his actions, is a liar who is not entitled to anybody’s trust or respect.

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