BOT Chair Re-Elected and Other Meeting Highlights

January 17, 2014 at 7:28 pm 4 comments

Also at today's BOT meeting: new football coach James Franklin stopped by; here, he's welcomed by board chair Keith Masser.

Also at today’s BOT meeting: new football coach James Franklin stopped by; here, he’s welcomed by board chair Keith Masser.

This was old school. A two-hour Board of Trustees meeting. No contentious votes. Only one participant in the public comment session. An uncontested election for board chair.

The media covering the meeting joked that we didn’t have much to write about.

Partially, of course, that’s because there’s more discussion and fleshing out of ideas during the committee meetings, held the day before the full board meeting. Flat out, there’s just more to write about from those. Partially that’s because the major issue confronting the board these days is governance reform, and that’s something they talked about in an executive session yesterday with governance consultant Holly Gregory.

And it’s not like nothing happened. Here’s a quick rundown:

Masser re-elected board chair: This is a short term, just six months, because the board previously voted to change its annual meeting—at which officers are elected for one-year terms—from January to July. Just this once, the board needed to have a stopgap election to fill the six months from January to July. Incumbent Keith Masser ’73 was unanimously voted in. Also voted in were the other board officers, Penn State staffers. Vice chair Paul Silvis ’06g was elected in July to fill a vacant spot, so he already had six months remaining in his term.

Executive committee spots filled: The three trustees put forth by the governance committee—Kathleen Casey ’88, Donald Cotner ’71, and Richard Dandrea ’77—to join the executive committee as at-large members were approved. There was no discussion, and no one nominated anyone else.

Public comment: The number of speakers at public comment continued to dwindle with only one—Wendy Silverwood, whose anger at the Freeh report and trustees was palpable and who asked the board to marginalize the Freeh report and apologize to those harmed by it, including the Paterno family, lettermen, and Penn State community. She also suggested that Louis Freeh speak this spring at the third annual conference sponsored by the Network for Child Protection and Well-Being. He could be part of a panel, she said, with some of the people quoted in the Paterno family’s report—former attorney general Dick Thornburgh, Jim Clemente, and two doctors.

“The Freeh report missed a critical opportunity to educate the public on the identification of child sexual victimization and instead used the platform created by this scandal to sensationalize the blaming of Joe Paterno,” she said. “This was a terrible disservice not only to Penn Staters, but also to all parents, grandparents, and children in our state.”

Susan McHale speaks about the Network on Child Protection and Well-Being.

Susan McHale speaks about the Network on Child Protection and Well-Being.

Network for Child Protection and Well-Being: Susan McHale, director of the Social Science Institute, presented an informational report on the Network for Child Protection and Well-Being (which is housed in her institute). She built off an introduction from provost and executive vice president Nicholas Jones, who noted other examples of Penn State’s commitment to children, including the Children, Youth, and Families Consortium that was started in 1998. But when the Sandusky scandal broke, Penn State had “less than a handful” of experts in child maltreatment, and the university immediately began to remedy the situation. It made a cluster hire of 12 faculty to beef up what the center could do.

Application numbers rising: In his report to the board, president Rod Erickson said that undergraduate applications are up 19 percent at University Park and 7 percent at other campuses. The university has also received a record number of applications to the Schreyer Honors College: 3,277 students have applied for 300 spots.

Lori Shontz, senior editor

Entry filed under: Board of Trustees. Tags: , , , , , .

The Penn Stater Daily — Jan. 17, 2014 One More Update from the BOT

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. kudravetz  |  January 17, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    Didn’t have much to write about? Seriously? Ms. Silverwood’s comments are worthy of an entire article and much more.

  • 2. Freeh falling, now I'm Freeh falling  |  January 17, 2014 at 9:28 pm

    Joel Myers gave a grandstanding speech about unity a day after the dominant coalition shut out the new alumni trustees from the executive committee and appointed the odious Rick Dandrea to the exec committee. That irony is not worth writing about?

  • 3. Bill Levinson, B.S. 78  |  January 17, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    Masser admittedly questioned the Freeh Report (as did Eckel), but let the matter drop. This does not speak well of him as a leader, or the Board’s judgment in reappointing him–not that most of the other viable choices (they are certainly not going to appoint a qualified leader like Lubrano or McCombie) would have been any better.

    The Board was, in my opinion, derelict in its fiduciary duty when it hired Louis Freeh without vetting him for conflicts of interest, such as his employment with a major Second Mile donor (MBNA), one of whose executives was a Second Mile director. That sure sounds like a motive to give TSM a pass, at Penn State’s expense. I think the Board was derelict when it allowed Karen Peetz and Kenneth Frazier to violate the Board’s own Standing Orders by affirming the Freeh Report without authorization by a vote by the Board, as Joel Myers pointed out quite explicitly. The NCAA used this as an excuse to impose the sanctions.

    Now that the BOT has failed to act on written notice that Freeh was, in fact, employed by a major Second Mile donor, along with information about Freeh’s credibly alleged dishonesty regarding BP and Wynn resorts, my opinion is that the dereliction in question must be regarded as willful, and that will be made clear to members of the Legislature and elsewhere.

  • 4. One More Update from the BOT | The Penn Stater Magazine  |  January 20, 2014 at 9:07 am

    […] can read most of our updates from Friday’s Board of Trustees meeting on this post from Friday evening, but here are a few more for your Monday […]

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