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Monthly Archives: June 2012

Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees recently spoke with the media to provide his own personal thoughts on what happened at Penn State. Despite that he indicates he was speaking for himself – he is recognized as the vice-chair. The AP sent out his statements to as many as 900 AP outlets.

To quote the article: “Keith Masser, a Penn State trustee, said in an interview that he initially thought the scandal was about a failure of administrative oversight of the football program. Now he suspects it goes deeper.”

Another quote from the article: “Masser stressed he was speaking for himself and not the board at large, and said he wants to be careful not to draw premature conclusions. But he said it now appears like “top administration officials and top athletic officials were involved in making the decision to not inform the proper authorities.”

What is most troubling about this speculation by Vice-Chair Keith Masser is that the BoT has demonstrated again that they do not understand the corner stone of Due Process. They have again made speculations and accusations against University employees without having all the facts.

Read the article: AP: Penn State trustee says cover-up seems evident in Sandusky case

Read the responses that some of our members prepared as a result of Keith Masser’s statements.

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June 16, 2012

Mr. Masser,

According to the Penn State University Board of Trustees bylaws, “Misuse of
Information” (Article 6, section 1(b)) is prohibited. I understand that is in the context of
conflicts of interest for monetary gain, but I have to wonder if your recent comments
suggesting Graham Spanier is guilty of a “cover-up” are a violation of the article. You
certainly imply that you have read and reviewed privileged emails that the University has
denied even to their author under the guise of an “ongoing investigation”. Why would
you have access to such information? And if you do not have access to this information,
why would you form an opinion in public without affording Graham Spanier due
process? This seems to be a common theme with you and your fellow Trustees. What do
you gain by speaking out “as an individual” – when in fact you are supposed to be a
public representative of the University – without even having met with your fellow
Trustees to review this information?

You sold Paterno down the river without due process. You sold Curley and Schultz down
the river without due process. You have now publicly sold Graham Spanier down the
river without due process. When will you sell out your fellow Board of Trustee members,
the true villains according many alumni and respectable leaders?


Jeffrey W Simons
Class of 1996

Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees recently spoke with the media to provide his own personal thoughts on what happened at Penn State. Despite that he indicates he was speaking for himself – he is recognized as the vice-chair. The AP sent out his statements to as many as 900 AP outlets.

To quote the article: “Keith Masser, a Penn State trustee, said in an interview that he initially thought the scandal was about a failure of administrative oversight of the football program. Now he suspects it goes deeper.”

Another quote from the article: “Masser stressed he was speaking for himself and not the board at large, and said he wants to be careful not to draw premature conclusions. But he said it now appears like “top administration officials and top athletic officials were involved in making the decision to not inform the proper authorities.”

What is most troubling about this speculation by Vice-Chair Keith Masser is that the BoT has demonstrated again that they do not understand the corner stone of Due Process. They have again made speculations and accusations against University employees without having all the facts.

Read the article: AP: Penn State trustee says cover-up seems evident in Sandusky case

Read the responses that some of our members prepared as a result of Keith Masser’s statements.

…………………………….

June 16, 2012

Dear Mr. Masser:

As a life member of the PSAA since 1964, I am embarrassed by your recent statements.
You say that you are speaking only for yourself, but you are the Vice Chairman of the
Board of Trustees publicly passing judgment on Penn State officials before they have had
their day in court. You say that you want to avoid drawing premature conclusions and
then you go on to draw premature conclusions.

The Associated Press sent out your accusations of a cover-up to 900 media outlets. Have
you no understanding of the damage that does to our University? Or are you purposely
trying to divert attention once again from the failings of the Board to act responsibly from
November 9th until now?

You and this dysfunctional Board seem not to understand the basic concept of due
process. If you won’t step down from a position you are obviously not prepared for, at
least have the decency to make no further inflammatory comments.

Gary Levitt, Arts & Letters ’64

Members respond to the letter Board of Trustees Chair Karen Peetz sent  to all Penn State alumni that included a response to the recent alumni survey conducted. Read the responses that some of our members prepared as a result of this letter

Read Karen’s Letter
View the Alumni Association Survey Results

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June 12, 2012

Thank you for the 3 page post-it-note.

The world in which the BOT resides is a mysterious and distant planet. It
has yet to be determined if life as we know it exists there. Attempts to
communicate have not been acknowledged. However, recent signals have
detected that some form of life may exist.

Stay tuned for further developments.

Michael P Spyker ’73

Members respond to the letter Board of Trustees Chair Karen Peetz sent  to all Penn State alumni that included a response to the recent alumni survey conducted. Read the responses that some of our members prepared as a result of this letter

Read Karen’s Letter
View the Alumni Association Survey Results

…………………………………………………………………….

June 12, 2012

Dear Karen,

You do realize that Coach Paterno did say he would resign at the end of the season before
you guys fired him. Just please stop with the stupid comments like that and other
comments like “the BOT voted unanimously 32-0 to dismiss Coach Paterno”. The funny
part about my last statement is that the BOT is so incompetent that you probably read that
and STILL don’t know what is wrong with that statement.

The Board of Trustees have been, are, and continue to be a complete embarrassment to
the Pennsylvania State University and the alumni. The sooner you all step down, the
better it will be for the entire Penn State Family to move forward. The longer the current
BOT members remain and try to re-write history to try and save their own legacies, the
longer it will take for the Penn State family to start moving forward with the healing
process. Until that time, I am going to redirect all of my donations that would have gone
to the University to the Paterno’s foundation. At least I feel they still have the best interest
of the university in mind.

Regards,

Chris Sheedy, 1990

Members respond to the letter Board of Trustees Chair Karen Peetz sent  to all Penn State alumni that included a response to the recent alumni survey conducted. Read the responses that some of our members prepared as a result of this letter

Read Karen’s Letter
View the Alumni Association Survey Results

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June 12, 2012

Dear Ms. Peetz,

Aren’t you the one who referred to us alumni as “not getting it” and “stupid”? Didn’t you
misuse and mock the phrase “In hindsight…”? Not one of the many of alumni with whom
I am in contact was asked to take this survey. So who actually took it??

When are you going to stop wasting precious money with your contradicting PR spins
you continue to crank out? It’s time to admit the BoT badly mishandled this situation and
by rushing to judgment, YOU are the ones who have lead our great university down this
black hole.

When are you going to be accountable, report the facts, and stop with all the PR spin? An
new web site? Really?? We’re still waiting for the November 9th minutes which you
conveniently ignore. With each one of these self-congratulatory documents you put out,
you appear to be under the impression we are going to buy it. Sorry. It’s the BOT who
should be taking child abuse classes and wise up.

By repeating yourself over and over, you also seem to think it will make things true.
Again sorry, it’s not working and you continue to waste money on your PR. It’s time to
put the university first, and stop this nonsense of protecting your own and the other
trustees’ interests who should take responsibility. It’s time to come clean and apologize.

Sincerely,
Denise McClellan
PSU ’78

Members respond to the letter Board of Trustees Chair Karen Peetz sent  to all Penn State alumni that included a response to the recent alumni survey conducted. Read the responses that some of our members prepared as a result of this letter

Read Karen’s Letter
View the Alumni Association Survey Results

…………………………………………………………………….

June 9, 2012

To: Penn State Board of Trustees
RE: Letter to Alumni from Board of Trustees Chairman Karen Peetz
cc: other alumni via Facebook and E-mail

The recent E-mail from Karen Peetz is an insult to the intelligence of Penn State’s
alumni, and the same goes for her statement that she wants to “bring Sue Paterno back
into the fold as an ambassador for the University.”

Let’s deal with the second issue first. Coach Paterno took the Trustees’ phone call on
11/9. Sue Paterno returned it promptly and said her husband deserved better. That was the
last phone call the Paterno family had any obligation to take from the Board, and any
obligation to return. The Board then repeatedly reaffirmed that what it did on 11/9 was
right, even to the extent of using Penn State’s money to pay Lanny Davis to insult Coach
Paterno’s memory during the week of his funeral. (See “Lanny Davis Should Shut his Pie
Hole” on PennLive.com.) As recently as March, the Board again attacked Coach Paterno
for a “lack of leadership.” If Ms. Peetz or any other Trustee has anything to say to the
Paterno family, I suggest that he or she say it to Coach Paterno’s headstone. That Trustee
will get the same response that he or she is entitled to from any member of his family.
It is by the way far too late for any kind of apology to be credible, especially in light of
the Board’s ongoing efforts to justify what it did on 11/9. Ms. Peetz talks about the
problems that confront Penn State, but the biggest one consists of the current Trustees.
Penn State cannot heal or move forward as long as any of the participants in 11/9
continue to sit on the Board. Now let us examine Ms. Peetz’s letter:

Dear Penn Stater,
There is no doubt that the Penn State community continues to face
challenging times, particularly as the Sandusky trial began this week. The
last year has been difficult for our entire community, from students,
alumni, faculty and staff to countless others who care deeply about Penn
State. We’ve heard from many of you who are supportive of the steps being
taken at the University; we appreciate that support, and we also respect
and continue to listen to the opinions of those who may disagree.
The last year has been difficult because the Trustees chose to admit guilt on Penn State’s
part for any role in the alleged actions of a former employee whose ties to Penn State
were exactly that; those of a former employee. The last year has also been difficult
because the Board’s admitted rush to judgment on 11/9 is evidence of its collective lack
of fitness to govern Penn State. Things also must be said about the millions of dollars of
Penn State’s money that the Board has squandered on spin doctors whose sole function
seems to be to defend the Board’s actions of 11/9 and not the reputation of Penn State,
which said spin doctors make worse every day.

For all of us who serve on the Board of Trustees, our greatest priority is
maintaining Penn State’s long-standing qualities of integrity,
responsibility, service to the community and excellence in academics.

The first step in promoting integrity and responsibility is to serve as a role model that
Penn State’s students can emulate, and the current Board is anything but such a role
model. A graduate who acts as the Board did on 11/9—rushing to judgment, firing
employees without cause and possibly in violation of the law (Sunshine Act) will put a
quick end to a person’s career in any kind of reputable organization. 11/9 might in fact be
a good case study for Penn State students, on how not to act if and when they are ever
given supervisory responsibility.

That is why, as we learn from and take action to address the past, we
remain accountable to actively governing to ensure the greatest propriety
in all of Penn State’s activities. I want you to know that we are dedicated
to working with President Rodney Erickson to address the crisis and its
related issues, and we will continue to accelerate our efforts in this area.

Mr. Erickson destroyed his credibility the instant he said the Board’s actions of 11/9 were
“courageous,” and he does not enjoy my trust, confidence, respect, or support.
[Material omitted]

 More recently, in May, we held several elections for trustee members, and
set a record for alumni participation. For me, this was a powerful
demonstration of the inclusiveness and resolve of the Board and Penn
State community in addressing our current issues and preparing for future
excellence. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I welcome and
congratulate our four new members: Donald G. Cotner, elected by
delegates from agriculture societies; and Anthony P. Lubrano, Ryan J.
McCombie and Adam J. Taliaferro, who were elected by alumni. We are
excited for the new perspectives and ideas they will bring — and we
embrace the democratic process that helps ensure diversity and open
communication.

What Ms. Peetz means is that “we set a record for participation by outraged alumni,
many of whom voted for the first time for the explicit purpose of firing as many
participants in 11/9 as possible, which will also happen in 2013 and 2014.” I also recall
that Ms. Peetz was quoted along with Mr. Eckel in Philly.com’s smear job (complete
with conveniently anonymous accusers) against Mr. Lubrano, and I can only imagine her
“excitement” over the diverse perspective that he will bring to the Board. It is unfortunate
that nobody presented a diverse perspective on 11/9; if he or she had, we would not be
having this conversation and we would still be collectively Penn State.

Also this summer, we expect the results of the Freeh Report to be released.
The University already has begun acting on preliminary recommendations
of the independent internal review, which was initiated last November
when the Board of Trustees appointed former FBI director and federal
judge Louis Freeh to handle the investigation. Specifically, Penn State
now has begun an employee education initiative for mandated reporter
training. This training, for employees and volunteers who work with
minors, teaches how to recognize the signs of child abuse as well as how
to report abuse. In addition, Penn State has instituted more stringent and
routine background checks for employees, and has hired a full-time
compliance officer to support the Clery Act, a federal crime-reporting law
for schools.

Neither program was in place when Mike McQueary brought his allegations to Coach
Paterno, who brought them to the Administration. This underscores the contention that
the Board scapegoated Paterno because of its own failure to enact sufficient policies and
manage risk.

Finally, the Alumni Association released Thursday the results of its recent
alumni opinion survey, which was conducted via a random statistical
sample of alumni and can be found on the Alumni Association’s website at
http://alumni.psu.edu/researchandreports online. These results will
provide important guidance to the Board in better understanding the
thoughts and concerns of our alumni as we all work to move forward. I
encourage you, too, to review the results at your convenience.

I did read it, with particular attention to Question 8C. “What is causing you to be critical
of Penn State?” The response for Spanier/Curley/Schultz was apparently less than 1
percent (out of the total of 6), but 3 percent (out of 6) cited 11/9 and another 3 out of 6
cited the Trustees. I also direct your attention to Question 14, with 48 percent of people
feeling more negatively toward the University. This would not have happened had the
Board not turned the Sandusky scandal into the Penn State scandal, and it is why the
University cannot move forward with the people who are currently on the Board.

Guided by President Erickson’s leadership, we look forward to working
with the Penn State community to continue leading the nation with topnotch
academics, breakthrough research and our long-standing
commitment to service — the foundations of our University for the past 157
years.

As stated above, Mr. Erickson lost my respect almost as soon as he took office, and he
therefore cannot lead me or guide me anywhere.

We are mindful that Penn State is the most popular university in the
country, with more than 121,000 applications for the 2011-2012 school
year. We also rank among the nation’s top universities in industrysponsored
and defense-related research, with total research expenditures
exceeding $804 million in 2011, including funding from government,
industry, and other sources. Perhaps most importantly, Penn State
continues to turn out high-caliber graduates — the University was ranked
first among 100 colleges, including several Ivy League schools, in a 2010
Wall Street Journal survey of top recruiters from companies across the
United States. And in March 2012, for the second straight year, employers
surveyed by Bloomberg Businessweek ranked the Penn State Smeal
College of Business as having the best undergraduate business program in
the country.

I recall that a certain coach that the Trustees fired on 11/9 played a central role in making
Penn State into one of the nation’s top (academic) universities. A popular comment is
that Penn State is the only university in which a library is named for the football coach.

As I share my monthly website updates on the Board’s progress, I am
hopeful that our ongoing dialogue with you — Penn State’s dedicated and
proud alumni
— will help us to deepen and strengthen the work that continues to make
Penn State a national leader.

The “us” ended on 11/9, and the Trustees ratified their decision to end that relationship
with their subsequent insults to the alumni (interview on January 19) and to Coach
Paterno. WE (alumni, faculty, students) are Penn State, and we will seek to move forward
without participation by the current Trustees to help make Penn State a national leader.
Regards,

–Bill Levinson B.S. ‘

Members respond to the letter Board of Trustees Chair Karen Peetz sent  to all Penn State alumni that included a response to the recent alumni survey conducted. Read the responses that some of our members prepared as a result of this letter

Read Karen’s Letter
View the Alumni Association Survey Results

…………………………………………………………………….

June 9, 2012

Dear Karen,

Was it that you didn’t believe us when we sat together in your executive dining room
back in April and represented the feelings of Penn Staters all over the world? Or that you
didn’t WANT to believe us? The results released this week from a study that simply didn’t
need to be conducted were scathing, to say the least, and completely consistent with the
pulse of Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship, to say the most. No matter who you
ask, no matter how you ask it, no matter how much time goes by, no matter how many
committees you restructure, no matter how many listening tours you organize, no matter
how many websites you launch, no matter how many investigations are conducted, no
matter how many alumni letters you write, it is simply impossible to expunge the disgust
that alumni, students and friends of the University have for the Board’s dismissal of Joe
Paterno without due process. And that disgust is growing and festering with every
passing day. As I said in April, and many times publicly before and since, the ONLY
solution to bringing the University community together is to admit the trustees’ failure of
leadership, immediately dismiss those at the forefront of the decision, and apologize
publicly, sincerely and profusely to the Paterno family for your completely unfair and
unwarranted rush to judgment and subsequent smearing of Joe Paterno’s good name. In
your newer role as Chairwoman, you have ability to make this happen now; to
demonstrate that there is indeed humility (and common sense) somewhere within the
walls of your board room, albeit long overdue. In your recent letter to alumni, you list the
responsibilities of the trustees, including selecting the next president of the University,
determining the major goals of the University and approving the University’s budgets. I
ask you: how, in good faith, can anyone have the confidence in you and the trustees who
sit with you to steer the future of our University when over the course of the last seven
months, you have demonstrated nothing but bravado, cowardice, and exceedingly poor
judgment? We all want to move forward to strengthen Penn State — its value and its
brand and all of its incredible tangible and intangible assets. But, it all starts with you,
and the conviction I implore you to demonstrate when you take the podium on July 13.
Please don’t insult us with more updates and status reports that only serve to ignore the
real issue and infuriate us even more. Show us that you really have listened — on your
“listening tour” and beyond — and, as Chairwoman of the Board, please set the proper
course for healing.

Sincerely,

Maribeth Roman Schmidt
Member, Penn Staters for Responsible