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Members respond to BoT Chairman Karen Peetz’s message to alumni on July 18, 2012 on the Freeh Report

– especially for those of you who will soon be leaving….

Thank You – For demonstrating how your lack of understanding of human nature and underestimation of alumni loyalty led to the organization of alumni groups willing to challenge you and unlike all of you, willing to fight for the reputation of this university. 

Thank You – For your complete lack of regard/lack of protection for the young athletes at Penn State. By signing/agreeing to a ludicrous NCAA consent decree, you allowed the football team to be punished for whatever mistakes were made by adults. You allowed coaches from other universities to come to our campus and with promises of “being able to go to a bowl game” lured or attempted to lure athletes to universities with weak or weaker academic records. 

Thank You – For showing the world that deceit, obfuscation and slight of hand will not work. By stating that if sanctions were not accepted, the result would be the “death penalty.” You believed that you had a rationale to force alumni to swallow a bitter pill. Instead you found out that Penn State alumni and their friends, well almost anyone outside the BOT, were not willing to accept your convoluted rationale. 

Thank You – For demonstrating the true meaning of the word “cowardice.” Although there are numerous examples, one will make the point. One anonymous bully with an airplane either forced you or gave you an excuse to take down the statue of the man who contributed so much to this university. 

Thank You- For pulling together the Nittany Nation. 
Thank You- For allowing us the opportunity to right these wrongs. 
Thank You- You won’t lead on the Clemente Report but we will. 
And we, the Alumni, along with the students, parents and friends of this university, will once again show the world, the meaning of the phrase WE ARE PENN STATE. 

And by the way – we are voting in record numbers.

-by Deborah Beidel

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PS4RS Member Deborah Casamassa Beidel, PSU Alumna, Class of 1976 wrote the following letter below to the NCAA

Dear NCAA

So, how you doing? Did you watch the Penn State game last Saturday? We were just wondering what you thought about your efforts to destroy a school and a football program based on inaccurate information and the assent of a few individuals who could not find the definition of the word Trustee if they had all the T words in the dictionary handed to them.

There’s going to be a big game on October 27th in State College, PA. We were thinking that you might want to attend. When you get there, go to the side of the stadium where there are some newly planted trees. You won’t have any trouble finding it. There will be a lot of people there honoring a man who had more integrity in the tip of his little finger than you can ever hope to display in your lifetimes. If you like, we’ll put some lawn chairs there for you so you can witness the thousands of people who will come by.

Then we suggest that you go to the entrance where the team will arrive. The first person off the bus will be Bill O’Brien. In case you have not been paying attention, Mr. O’Brien understands that you can honor the past and build a future. He’s lifted up the team and the university by his behavior. He’s known from the beginning that pretending events didn’t happen or that other people did not exist was not a winning strategy.

After the coach, the team will exit the bus. Don’t you dare look any of them in the eye. You don’t deserve that privilege. You tried to destroy this team, you tried to destroy the dreams of these young men who had nothing to do with the events that occurred in Centre County. Remember that expression “There is no I in Team?” You are looking at the definition. Your actions did not break the team – led by their coach and enveloped in the arms of their Penn State community, these young men are a credit to themselves, their families, their coach and their university. To you, they should be a symbol of your ineptitude. You see, it was never about WINNING. Football, like many other activities, teaches life lessons. Among its lessons:

• The whole is always greater than the sum of its parts.
• Hard work and discipline will yield rewards
• Winning is fun but dishonesty is a hollow victory

Once you enter the stadium, which I can assure you will not be half-empty as you had hoped, you will notice the banners that honor the past and celebrate the present. See how that works? Now, you might be a little depressed because the crowd will be spirited and noisy. Oh, and they know how to count – so if you see the number 409, it is not an advertisement for a cleaning product.

In short, we just thought that you might like to Come to Penn State (in the words of Joe Paterno) and see the fruits of your misguided labor. You tried to kill us but you only made us stronger. Perhaps now you can understand the meaning of the words “We Are Penn State.”

Deborah Casamassa Beidel, PSU Alumna, Class of 1976

Members of Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship prepared letters to Ohio State University President Dr. E. Gorgan Gee in response to the Ohio State t-shirts and images which read “I’d rather shower at Penn State than root for Michigan!” or “I’d rather shower at Penn State than Cheer for the Wolverines”

A link:http://jezebel.com/5938687/ohio-state-fans-kick-off-football-season-with-horrible-shirt-mocking-penn-state-victims?utm_campaign=socialflow_jezebel_twitter&utm_source=jezebel_twitter&utm_medium=socialflow
The image below is an example of the images that are being distributed.

PS4RS Members respond to BoT Chairman Karen Peetz’s message to alumni on July 18, 2012 on the Freeh Report

Dear Ms. Peetz,

I read your recent letter to alumni which says in part, “I am certain that many of you have read or heard about the report’s findings…” Your statement last Thursday that Coach Paterno’s record of service to Penn State has been “marred” indicates to me that you read no more than the findings before you made this irresponsible and, were Coach Paterno still alive, possibly defamatory statement to the news media. This is also not the first but rather the second time you have done something like this; the first was on 11/9 when you joined your colleagues in an equally irresponsible and reckless rush to judgment based on incomplete evidence.

I know that the report was released on the morning of the July 12 meeting, and that neither you nor your colleagues had a chance to go through the 200-plus page report to identify its multiple deficiencies, omissions, and contradictions of its own findings. This is not however an acceptable excuse for anybody in a managerial or leadership position. The truth is that the report’s own contents show that Coach Paterno, President Spanier, Tim Curley, and Gary Schultz exercised due and responsible diligence—exactly the kind of diligence that the Board has now failed to exercise on at least two occasions—in dealing with the allegations against Mr. Sandusky. Other alumni and I are now however doing your jobs for you, and here are some of our discoveries.

(1)  The report stipulates (page 51) that Paterno objected to the presence of Second Mile children on campus for any purpose whatsoever. “Is this [Sandusky’s access to Penn State athletic facilities] for personal use or 2nd Mile kids? No to 2nd Mile. Liability problems.” Freeh nonetheless blames him for not keeping Sandusky and/or the 2nd Mile children off campus.

(2)  Even though the report blames Penn State for not keeping Sandusky off campus, or out of the Lasch Building, it admits (page 81) that University counsel (Cynthia Baldwin) said that the University could not legally revoke Sandusky’s access to the athletic facilities because of his Emeritus status, and because he had not been convicted of a crime. Page 106 reiterates this stipulation. Page 107 adds that Baldwin said “his access could not be eliminated without the University being sued.” The report therefore condemns Penn State’s administrators for not doing something their attorney said could get them sued.

(3)  The report also stipulates (page 69) that Schultz asked Attorney Wendell Courtney for legal advice on the subject of reporting suspected child abuse. The Freeh Group admits that it could not find out what advice Courtney provided, but it nonetheless accuses Schultz and others of a cover-up without having this information in hand. The bottom line is however that Schultz exercised what appears to be due diligence by asking an attorney what obligations the University had regarding the 2001 shower incident.

(4)  The report admits that Curley told the Executive Director of the 2nd Mile about the 2001 shower incident, and the Director then told two 2nd Mile Trustees. They concluded that it was a “non-incident,” but Freeh’s press release and findings do not carry a single word of blame for the 2nd Mile.

The Second Mile, the Department of Public Welfare (which should have told the 2nd Mile about the 1998 incident even though Sandusky was not prosecuted), and Governor Corbett are all conspicuous by their absence from the Freeh Group’s harsh findings. As Attorney General, Corbett delayed prosecution of Sandusky so he could “gather more evidence” (http://www.yardbird.com/Freeh_report_ignores_Corbett_inaction.htm and http://www.fox43.com/news/dauphin/wpmt-corbett-defends-length-of-sandusky-investigation-20120625,0,467687.story), i.e. allow Sandusky to keep doing what he was doing in the meantime. When Mr. Corbett became a Trustee ex officio, he then withheld from his fellow Trustees knowledge of the problem with Sandusky until he pretended to be surprised by it on November 9. He also apparently accepted campaign contributions from 2nd Mile leaders while he was investigating Sandusky, and approved a state grant to the 2nd Mile.

The Freeh Report’s failure to even mention these organizations’ and Governor Corbett’s roles in allowing Sandusky to continue his activities taints the entire work product with a perception of incomplete work at best. The only things that have been “marred” by this report are therefore the Freeh Group’s brand name, and also Trustee Peetz’s own record of service to Penn State for accepting its findings without (apparently) reviewing the information presented above. To recap:

(1)  On 11/9, the Trustees turned the Sandusky scandal into the Penn State scandal by effectively accepting blame on Penn State’s part for Sandusky’s activities.

(2)  The Trustees then brought in the Freeh Group to deliver what is, in my opinion as supported by the facts above and others, an incompletely researched product that does not support its own conclusions, and even contradicts its own conclusions.

(3)  Trustee Peetz, without apparently reading and assessing the report’s contents as shown by her statement to the press, accepted the Freeh Report’s defective conclusions on Penn State’s behalf.

Regards,

–Bill Levinson B.S. ‘78

PS4RS Members respond to BoT Chairman Karen Peetz’s message to alumni on July 18, 2012 on the Freeh Report

-William A. Levinson, PSU B.S. ‘78

Dear Mr. Emmert, copied to PSU alumni,

Most people learn—let’s say in elementary school if they are on a safety patrol—that their authority covers very specific rules that everybody knows and recognizes. Somebody who uses his or her authority to make up rules, and also to act without due process and due diligence as you have just done with regard to Penn State, soon loses his authority if the organization values its credibility. You enforced a rule that is not in the NCAA’s list of rules, without proof that the rule you made up has even been broken—the Freeh Group is known for slipshod investigative workmanship (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1265466-ex-fifa-presidential-candidate-has-ban-annulled-and-how-it-connects-to-penn-st) and you also sidestepped the NCAA’s own disciplinary process. You also vacated Penn State’s wins without any evidence whatsoever that Penn State won the games by cheating (e.g. use of ineligible players, payments to student athletes, or whatever) which further underscores your arbitrary, capricious, and totally irresponsible use of your authority.

Henry Ford knew your kind quite well, and he wrote of them in “My Life and Work:”

“…a foreman knows as well as he knows his own name that if he has been unjust it will be very quickly found out, and he shall no longer be a foreman. One of the things that we will not tolerate is injustice of any kind. The moment a man starts to swell with authority he is discovered, and he goes out, or goes back to a machine.”

The Ford Motor Company enjoyed unprecedented success because, among other reasons, it did not tolerate your behavior even in a straw boss, the lowest supervisory position. Now the NCAA needs to apply Henry Ford’s advice to you before you destroy its ability to regulate college athletics in any way, shape, and form.

Members respond to BoT Chairman Karen Peetz’s message to alumni on July 18, 2012 on the Freeh Report

Hi Karen,

I just received your email that begins the process of moving forward and the encouragement it offers.  I further understand the difficult position the Board is in, as this whole situation raced from zero to sixty in a few seconds back in November.  I won’t get into my views on what could or couldn’t have been done better back then or since, as I can certainly understand that intense pressure often makes people say and do things far outside their norm.  I certainly hope that is the case, as the resumes of some of the people on the Board would clearly indicate they are able to do better.  I further recognize and understand the impossible balance that must be taken to ensure the respect for the victims, as well as the potential damages their lawsuits can expose our University to.  I further have no concept of the politics at play here, both internally and with the Pennsylvania government.

That said, I am writing to ensure you read and understand what is captured in this article – it is does a great job of crisply articulating the situation and how it so quickly got out of hand: http://www.johnziegler.com/editorials_details.asp?editorial=220 (to be honest upfront – it is probably a real 4-5 minutes of reading).  Please take the time to read it, digest it and please do something as a result, as it is what inspired me to write.  I have started other emails/letters in the past, but this pushed me to take the next step.  I continue to be amazed at the regular, ongoing missteps by the BOT that continue to make the situation worse. I am really just embarrassed that such a talented group can not re-group and set a course that both manages the “victim” situation, their own reputations and the greater good of the University.

I am beyond disappointed at the University’s lack of response in the media.  The media has to date – as this article points out – scripted the entire dialogue and there continues to be almost no response other than apologizes.  Again, as noted above, I understand the delicate balance, but the University is paying $6.5 million to ensure we have the best and brightest figuring out those messages that make us more than apologists.  I also understand that the University paid for the Freeh Report, but that doesn’t mean that you need to fall in step that every item in the report is correct and you agree with it.  People and Corporations regularly pay for consultants to come in to help with a situation, but they rarely say “thank you and 100% of what you said was true and we will implement”.  Leaders need to stand up to what is helpful, what could be corrected, but also let the media understand what is wrong with the report.  I could provide numerous analogies, but everyone experiences buyer’s remorse and that “report” provides a good deal of that.  More disappointing, but in step with the missteps so far, has been the management – or rather mismanagement -of its’ contents.

I feel like what is missing here is an understanding of branding.  I use branding only to hopefully get some understanding, though I firmly believe Joe has been mis-characterized and not because I am blind to the situation – quite the contrary, I have read nearly everything out there that hasn’t been sensationalized.  Joe Paterno was a key element of the Penn State brand – that is a fact and I will leave my views out of this.  Suffice it to say though – and that this article articulates – he is being made the central scapegoat.  His family is forced to defend him and I think they are the only ones drawing the right balance, but you have made them an island.  They are doing a great job of presenting facts and are just looking for ALL the facts to come out. I love their matter of fact assessment and believe there is FAR more to this story than has been written.  To continue to let him be the punching bag, is to let the Penn State brand continue to be the punching bag.  I am not suggesting he was flawless, or that there isn’t some culpability there, but you and your PR firm could readily step to his defense and thereby step to the defense of the Penn State brand.  It would go a long way to repairing major factions across the alumni and most importantly do it using facts and an understanding the media has not provided.  Instead his legacy and his family continue to be kicked to the curb by the BOT at a pace that only the media is beating you to. His dedication, moral code and what he did for the University deserves better.  I do understand Penn State is FAR more than Joe Paterno, but he is central to our brand, our pride and for many, our experience at the University and no one seems to understand this.  Fixing this rift, fixes many of the issues your alumni base is experiencing.

So, my summary, is please take a step back and set a course for our University that both manages the “victim” situation, your personal reputations and the greater good of the University.  Please demand something/anything from our well paid PR firm (s) and demand more from the Board that you now are the leader of.

Thank you for your time.

For the Glory,

Mark Z.,  BS, BA 1985

Members respond to BoT Chairman Karen Peetz’s message to alumni on July 18, 2012 on the Freeh Report

Dear Ms. Peetz:

I sat in that Trustees meeting this past Friday at the  Worthington-Scranton campus.

I endured the powerpoint presentations.  I  chuckled over Mark Dambly’s shallow back patting.  I saw right through Ken Frazier’s Party Line.

I suffered thru the Alumni Assocation’s chatter  on the brick courtyard.

I observed Messrs. Lubert & Joyner with  their hand signalings inside the meeting room and the furtive tete a tete out in  the foyer.

It must have been very difficult for you as you spoke at the  podium, seeing Steve Garban sitting dead ahead, that other members of your Board  are calling for his removal.

I applaud you for keeping the meeting going  and everyone on task.

However, I cannot applaud you for your exit from that building after the press  conference.

A strong leader would have emerged into the lobby with a presence.  They would have made eye contact.

They would not have escaped via a back access door.

This is all I need to know about the Leadership of my Alma Mater.

You see Karen, WE ARE the Alumni.  WE ARE the parents & grandparents of the Students.  WE ARE Penn State.

And WE ARE outraged.  WE ARE embarrassed.  Although WE ARE not lost, WE ARE looking for strong leadership for this Institution.

Although WE ARE loud, WE ARE asking for your strong voice against the Media  Hoardes.

WE ARE asking you to direct the narrative we so clearly have outlined for you.

WE ARE telling you this.  WE ARE wondering when you  will listen.

Wendy Silverwood
West Chester PA
PSU 1982