Question No. 2: Healing the University Community
What would you do to help heal the university community and to assist the university as it continues to recover from the Sandusky scandal?
1. Ted J. Sebastianelli ’69 Bus
The only way we can truly heal the university community is by getting to the truth. Due process matters! The recent alumni association survey makes it abundantly clear the vast majority of Penn State alums don’t trust our board. Way too much remains in the dark. We need to shine the light on all aspects of what happened in 2011. Our university needs to stop paying lip service to transparency and accountability and open up to the truth. Until the power is shifted away from the decision-making group, I would continue to urge what’s left of the 2011 trustees to admit they made an egregious mistake and stand up to defend our university…or resign. I would lead the fight to repudiate the Freeh Report and demand that Freeh appear before us to defend his investigation. Freeh needs to answer! Finally, I would relish the opportunity to formally honor Joe Paterno and apologize to the Paterno family. Our vast alumni base demands it. Sadly, this board has squandered its chance to appropriately celebrate our beloved coach. That will happen only when the truth is known far and wide.
2. Ned Rauch-Mannino ’10 MPS Agr
I know the importance of communication to the Penn State community: Our network of support is enhanced by greater communication with leadership, across campuses, and between generations of alumni. The Board must increase its role in ensuring greater communication is afforded to the community, and, specifically, I would ensure the Board itself is a better participant. As Penn State looks to move forward and discuss reform, I realize ideas change from one group of stakeholders to another, and the community at-large is without a unified vision for reform–or a secure, transparent medium to foster one. In partnership with members throughout the Penn State community I would establish and facilitate this forum for dialogue. This effort cannot be accomplished by the Board alone and can only be served by representatives from all Penn State constituencies. Creating a formal, accessible space for all to contribute to and monitor the conversation will best find progress a reality, and motivate the healing process beyond the demand for blind revenge and instead toward tangible outcomes. Finally, we need to recognize that part of this healing process takes place off-campus, as Penn State is challenged with rebuilding its reputation throughout Pennsylvania and the nation. Infighting solves nothing, and the Board must become a visibly collaborative partner. I would also work to increase messaging focusing on not what has happened to Penn State, but what is happening at Penn State: We have world-class research and medical facilities, soaring academic programs, and the nation’s greatest alumni.
3. Daniel N. Cocco ’08 Com
Penn State students are concentrating on their academic experiences and preparing for their promising futures. There are alumni and friends who are deeply concerned the events surrounding the scandal will define our University and its past. The best way for Trustees to bridge this gap in understanding is to honor the past and focus on the future by promoting the best of Penn State. We need to better highlight accomplishments of our University to attract top employers, students, faculty, and staff to our campuses. Trust by alumni in the Board needs to be restored and there is more work to do. The Board should reform governance and accountability by encouraging closer collaboration with faculty and students. Leadership should continue reforms that improve decision-making abilities and transparency. Earning my Penn State degree and my experience leading THON are defining moments in my life. I want the same opportunities for current and future students. As a Trustee I will work to ensure the promise of a world-class education is continued and that the core mission of our University is fulfilled.
4. Gavin Keirans ’10 Bus
Having been a two-time Student Body President and having recently sat on the Executive Board of Alumni Council, there is no other candidate that has engaged as much as I have with the Penn State community. Penn State changed my life and helped shape me into the person I am today. I will work tirelessly to ensure that generations of Penn Staters get this same experience. I have built many deep and lasting relationships, which has put me in a position to be a coalition builder, helping to heal the divide that currently exists in our community. This will include tackling tough issues and building consensus, where others have failed. I will directly address the structure of the board, including the major lack of alumni trustee representation on the Executive Committee, where all the decisions are made. I’ll go further to ensure that as we enter the end of our four-year NCAA persecution, and resolution of pending court cases, the board will take measures to heal the Penn State family, including addressing the results of our recent alumni survey to properly honor the legacy of Joe & Sue Paterno. Additionally, I plan to hold myself accountable through quarterly public updates and have already launched an initiative called AccountableTrustee.com. I’ve also spent the time in the last couple months to have in person meetings with key administrative, student, faculty and alumni leaders so that I’ll be ready to get to work on day one.
5. Ryan Bagwell ’02 A&A/Com
Distrust of Penn State’s leaders is as low as it has ever been. A recent alumni association survey revealed that only 16 percent of Penn State graduates trust the Board of Trustees. Penn Staters are yearning for new leaders who will reunite our divided community—even while it continues to move forward on its own.
The single most important thing the board can to do help the university community move forward is to release the records of the Freeh investigation. Demanding that alumni “move on” without answering reasonable questions has led to the deep division within Penn State’s proud alumni community. If elected, I will immediately press for the release of those records so we can end the speculation that has stood in the way of robust recovery.
6. Robert G. Milnes III ’02 Eng
The key to healing from the Sandusky scandal is to correct the rush to judgment that happened in 2012, largely due to the proliferation of the Freeh Report Summary. The University spent a lot of money on the Freeh Report, and even a quick read of the full report reveals major flaws. By focusing on the theory of conspiracy rather than the facts and evidence reviewed, the report systematically ignored how the crimes were committed and destroyed the University’s character simultaneously. We all feel a deep remorse for Sandusky’s victims. Creating further injustice did not and will not help the victims or the University. Once this has been addressed and remedied, I believe that the University can move forward.
7. Jason P. Kutulakis ’91 Lib, ’94 JD Law
I am the only candidate recognized as an authority in child abuse and children’s rights. My unique credentials will aid the Trustees in implementing and publicizing reforms to help focus on the future rather than a small aspect of our past. http://abomkutulakis.com/lawyers/jason_kutulakis.php .
In 2004, I co-founded the PA Children & Youth Solicitors Association—organizing and educating attorneys who represent child welfare agencies. www.pacyatty.com . In 2006, the Pennsylvania Bar Association named me Child Advocate of the Year. In 2009, I co-founded ChildFirst PA. www.childfirstpa.com . In 2012, I served on the Governor’s Task Force on Child Protection; our proposed legislation is now law.
All litigation surrounding the Sandusky debacle must be ended, including the matters involving the NCAA, Commonwealth and the Paternos. I believe my experience and relationships can forge a solution. For example:
- Distribution of the $60,000,000 will be flipped to permit 75 percent to remain in Pennsylvania and 25 percent to leave but be restricted to specific child abuse programs;
- Return all Paterno awards to the Paterno family;
- Work with the Paternos to develop a privately funded museum in State College to honor Coach Paterno’s legacy of building a great University and football program;
- Eliminate the remainder of other sanctions that are directly, negatively impacting students and athletes who had nothing to do with the matter;
- Develop the PA Child Protection & Training Center where all professionals will receive training to assure children suspected of being abused are identified and treated appropriately.
8. George A. Weigand ’69 Edu
The Board of Trustees needs to address the Freeh Report, which they accepted without challenging any of the information that was presented to them. We need to join together and reinstate the legacy of Joseph Paterno as well as making sure that all of our former employees receive a fair and unbiased assessment of their responsibilities in this scandal. It is also time for us to settle all the governance issues that the board has in order for us to move forward in a positive direction. Indeed we must deliver clear-cut decisions to our constituents. In addition, we need to make sure that we have in place all of the necessary programs and plans to eliminate something like the Sandusky scandal from occurring in the future.
9. Amy L. Williams ’80 H&HD
The No. 1 priority of the Board of Trustees at this time is to become a functional team. They are not. To that end, the board needs to reconcile their past before they can truly move forward. This includes, but is not limited to, the legacy of Joe Paterno. Regardless of which side of the aisle a board member is on regarding the Paterno legacy, or any other issue, as leaders, egos need to be put aside and the good of the University placed first and foremost. To say we need to move forward without reconciling our past is myopic, bad business and not in the best interest of our great University. Once this dysfunction is fixed and Penn State has a board whose members TRULY trust one another and are fully transparent with each other, then the healing process will begin. At that time we can begin to recover from the Sandusky scandal from the inside out. It is not until we fix ourselves on the inside will others be able to see who we truly are from the outside.
10. Joshua D. Fulmer ’01 Lib
I believe the board has an obligation to carefully review the actions of past administrators and the board, both before and after the Sandusky scandal became public, in order determine where mistakes were made. We can not move forward without learning from our mistakes and finding a way to ensure we do not repeat them. Only after a sober evaluation of the facts can we heal and move forward together
11. Edward J. Kabala ’64 Bus
We cannot change the past; we can only learn from it, endeavor not to repeat prior mistakes and correct the effects of them. Child abuse occurred and the University has taken steps to expose it, aid those victimized and, hopefully, reduce it. Child abuse is not a Penn State or Sandusky matter but a world issue, and Penn State must continue to be a leader in its exposure. Child abuse cannot be tolerated, but ignoring the rights of anyone under media pressure or the search for political correctness is also abhorrent. The hasty, misguided and clearly erroneous decisions following the grand jury indictments leave many alumni rightfully angry. In the frenzied search to appear positive, actions were taken without investigation against Coach Paterno and, with the acquiescence of the Board, administration and the NCAA, against past and current student athletes. Even after “investigation,” those actions were clearly premature, poorly implemented and wrong. Nothing in the Freeh report’s unsubstantiated conclusions supports the actions taken, and yet the Board refuses to even acknowledge the possibility of error. If there are Board members worried about future revelations from upcoming trials, I would not demand immediate action but would seek a current agreement to address and restore the legacy of Coach Paterno and his players, even to the point of confronting the NCAA, after the trials. I believe that a commitment to revisit the issue at a specific point would soften the tone of the debate and begin the healing process.
12. Joel N. Myers ’61, ’63 MS, ’71 PhD EMS
What happened three years ago shook our community and our PSU family to its core. It is not something that we will ever forget, but we must recover. What many people do not realize is that the crisis was much, much more serious than football. The University accreditation and government funding were at risk and bold action was needed. By removing the administration that had allowed the crisis to overtake us, we immediately placed the University on a new path. In order to save the University, the Board had to make some very unpleasant decisions that we knew would be unpopular with some. But if we did not stand up, there was a threat that the institution could go down. The trustees acted by unanimous vote. I know not all alumni agreed with those decisions and I understand their feelings. I knew and worked with Joe Paterno since he was an assistant coach. He was my idol. Graham Spanier was a friend of mine. But the responsibility of a trustee is to the institution and those it serves—not to any one individual or friendship. It is a difficult job. Penn State is knocking the cover off the ball. Applications for enrollment are up dramatically again. We are ascending in the national rankings. And our athletic program is doing us very proud. Now we have a choice to make—do we keep reevaluating and litigating the past, or move forward? I believe it is time to move into the future.
13. Ricardo Azziz ’81 MD Hershey
It is critical that the BOT, both directly and through University administration, ensure, through action and word, clear and consistent messaging noting: 1) That we, as Penn State faculty, staff, students, alumni and community, should stand proud and with heads held high for the continued greatness and relevance of the University in today’s world; 2) That we have to recapture and honor our history, including the many contributions of Joe Paterno and his teams; and 3) That while we, the Penn State community, cannot and should not be deemed responsible for the terrible tragedies on our campus, we are responsible for recapturing our past and reinvigorating our future.
14. Jennifer E. Bird-Pollan ’99 Lib
The abominable behavior of Jerry Sandusky is reprehensible. That some of his crimes occurred on campus while he held a position of authority at Penn State makes many believe that the university could have (and should have) done more to protect the victims from this horrific abuse. My heart goes out to the victims of Sandusky’s despicable actions. However, rehashing the crimes and subsequent cover-ups wastes valuable time that could be better spent on thinking through Penn State’s academic future. As the premier public university in Pennsylvania, university administrators need to return the focus of the administration to the faculty and students. Faced with increasing financial strains, how can Penn State retain its stellar faculty and encourage young academics to join its ranks? How can the undergraduate programs recruit the best and brightest among Pennsylvania’s high school students to become Nittany Lions, rather than attending private colleges? How can Penn State burnish its international reputation as an institution of academic excellence, when the last few years have increased the focus on athletics? As a Trustee, I would work tirelessly to remind both the other members of the Board and the central administration that Penn State is first and foremost an institution of higher learning, where incredible individuals are engaged in world-class research and education. Focusing our attention on that success will help the Penn State community rise from the Sandusky scandal with our eyes on the future.
15. John J. Graham Jr. ’99 Lib
The infamous episode involving Philadelphia Eagles fans, Santa Claus and snowballs occurred nearly 50 years ago. However, you would be hard pressed to sit through a present-day national broadcast of an Eagles game without hearing the announcer make reference to this instance of boorish behavior. While fans pelting Santa Claus with snowballs pales in comparison to the crimes for which Jerry Sandusky was convicted, the analogy is still instructive in that we need to be prepared for the Sandusky scandal to be mentioned within any media discussion involving Penn State students, faculty or alumni for many, many years to come. We should not have the expectation that healing will come through leaving the scandal in the past, never to be spoken of again. Rather, the Board of Trustees should empower the students, faculty and alumni to champion their own accomplishments through social media, public relations and marketing opportunities. As Penn Staters, we know that the Sandusky scandal is not representative of who we are and will not define us or our university. However, we have to be proactive in developing messages to tell the world who Penn Staters are and what we stand for. The Sandusky scandal was a tragedy and should be recognized as such, but healing is not going to come from burying it, but from finding opportunities to incorporate the lessons that we have learned into the larger framework of discussions involving the accomplishments of Penn State students, faculty and alumni.
16. Vincent J. “V.J.” Tedesco III ’86, ’95 MA Lib
Our community was deeply wounded by the Sandusky Scandal and no amount of wishing it away or “moving on” will change that situation. Regrettably, the current Board and University leadership seem intent on such an approach, giving us the appearance of reform but little substance. Healing our community requires better leadership and a systematic approach to truth and reconciliation. This means empowering a panel representing the entire community with the authority and responsibility to investigate every aspect of the scandal and the university’s response. Through public hearings, the panel must listen to all parties, weigh the evidence, and arrive at an objective, consensus understanding of the truth. Individuals must be incentivized to participate in our truth and reconciliation process. Though not a judicial review, the panel must have the authority to acknowledge penance and grant amnesty to those parties who have not lived up to our community’s standards and expectations. With the truth established, the community can heal through structured discourse and dialogue. Finally, many of us will never be fully reconciled until we see Coach Paterno’s lifetime of service and philanthropy to the University given significant and lasting recognition. His treatment at the hands of the Board of Trustees since November 2011 has been reprehensible and is a stain on our collective honor that must be erased. I will work with similarly minded members of the Board and the Penn State community to ensure that JoePa’s legacy of “Success with Honor” is appropriately commemorated and celebrated.
17. Laurie Anne Stanell ’80 Sci
In order to help heal the University community, and assist the University as we begin to recover from the Sandusky scandal, I will help facilitate the following actions, As many believe, there was an erroneous rush to judgment on 11/9/11 (approximately 80 percent+ of alumni are upset with how the University administration and Board handled the Sandusky scandal). Also, overall monetary donations to the University have dropped by approximately 30 percent and our Beaver Stadium is rarely full to capacity. We must look at what happened during and before and after November 2011 and address the concerns of these alumni to the find the truth, whatever the truth is, in order to repair the bond between alumni, students, faculty and administration. I will not lobby the alumni or University to just move ahead ignoring the past. Fiscally it is irresponsible for our University to try to “move on” until this huge injury to our University’s reputation and the reputation of those accused in lieu of the SANDUSKY scandal (not Penn State scandal) have been scrutinized deeper and hidden evidence released. Only then can the healing, repair and finally recovery take place.
18. Julie Harris McHugh ’86 Bus
I believe that the university community has made significant progress in moving beyond the events of 2011. I acknowledge that there is more work to be done. However, I believe the best way to advance as a university community is to focus on what unites us. When we focus on accessibility and affordability of a Penn State education, world-class learning experiences, academic and research excellence, and the celebration of our wide range of achievements, we engage the hearts and minds of all University stakeholders in creating our future. It is our actions today that will define us and continue shaping our reputation. Trustees represent the entirety of University stakeholders: The 100,000 current students, the 44,000 employees, the over half a million alumni, and the millions of lives that our university impacts in the Commonwealth and beyond. As a trustee, I will seek to understand the views of these constituents, ensure their voices are heard, and engage as many as possible in contributing to the exciting work that lies ahead. I believe that Joe Paterno and his family deserve to be recognized for their significant contributions to Penn State’s legacy of excellence. I am confident that the University will do so in time when various pending legal proceedings have concluded. Our university needs to move forward or risk being captives of the past. We have a unique opportunity to get behind our new leaders, President Barron, Provost Jones, Coach Franklin and others and get to work on our future.
19. Christine Stempka Rhoads ’99 Com
Like everyone else, I’m appalled at how the Board created a scapegoat, disrespected the Paterno family and failed to protect our past and present athletes with the outrageous NCAA sanctions. The Board needs to publicly apologize to the Paterno family and work to correct the unjust sanctions put against the school and its athletes
20. H. Jesse Arnelle ’55 Lib, ’62 JD Law
21. Matthew W. Schuyler ’87 Bus
When the football team takes the field this fall, only the seniors will know what it was like to have Joe Paterno as a coach. A full three-quarters of the student section will be filled with students who came to Penn State after the scandal. Before we know it, we won’t be able ask current students what it was like for them when the scandal broke; we will only hear their reasons for choosing this great institution after it. While many of today’s students lived through the scandal in a very personal and painful way, most don’t think about it frequently. They are future-focused. Clearly, it is more complicated for our alumni. While we have learned a great deal about our strength and fortitude through this crisis, there is still more to learn and more to do. Many alums cannot have a conversation about the future until acknowledgements about past mistakes are stated and the course is—in some way—corrected. It is important that the Board address this straight on, with vision, humility and respect. Joe Paterno was one of the reasons I came to Penn State. Success with honor is real to me, and we cannot ignore the past. If elected, I look forward to finding appropriate and meaningful ways to honor Joe Paterno’s remarkable legacy. Still, our recovery in the university community is strong and palpable. I will help celebrate and advance our remarkable forward progress at every opportunity.
22. Albert L. Lord ’67 Bus
The question presumes Penn State needs to heal from the Sandusky tragedy and related events; I agree. Officially Penn State, reinforced by the media, the NCAA, Louis Freeh and our Board of Trustees, has acknowledged guilt in the Sandusky matter. Our alumni disagree with this verdict; even the courts have not and may not reach a verdict. Consequently, at best we have confusion, at worst we have sadness and anger.
To heal these open wounds we first must end the apologies. Next we must officially accept, reject or complete the Freeh Report, a purposely misleading document. The report indicts PSU leadership’s behavior surrounding this incident. I agree with that obvious finding. Boardroom incompetence is a distinctly different charge than the charge that Penn State’s culture was poisonous. Until this good versus evil contrast is resolved, Penn State will reside in a purgatory imposed by mass paranoia and weak-kneed trustees.
As a trustee I intend to concentrate the Board on the Freeh Report accuracy. The trustees have treated his report as if it has leprosy, yet it stands an unanswered $8 million indictment of all of us. No serious healing will occur while the septic contents of this report remain in the wound.
23. Keith Bierly ’77 Lib
The Pennsylvania State University is too large and too great an institution to be forever tainted by the criminal acts of a single individual. Having said that, there are significant challenges we face because of the enormous publicity surrounding the “Sandusky Scandal.”
The University needs to stay focused on why it has been a leading institution in America for decades: (a) its educational mission where our graduates are sought out by major corporations more often than any other graduates (b) its land-grant status providing a great education to middle class families at a reasonable rate (c) its research role providing answers to national problems while enhancing the Pennsylvania economy with research dollars and spin-off industries (d) its community mission in everything from agricultural extension to emergency management to Marcellus Shale development and regulation and (e) its philanthropic engagement, which enhances all of our lives.
This scandal, however, will not go quietly. Criminal and civil legal proceedings remain, and will continue to generate enormous interest and publicity. My background as a former Centre County District Judge (12 years) a former Centre County Commissioner (16 years) and a State Secretary (7 years) enables me to understand due process, the criminal process, and the court system. In short, I know what is going on and can explain it effectively to our citizens.
My candidacy as an INDEPENDENT candidate gives me a freedom to address the scandal in a way others might not. That is healthy in a University community.
24. R. Seth Williams ’89 Lib
As the city of Philadelphia’s District Attorney, I have first had experience prosecuting child sexual abuse cases. As a trustee, this would make me a valuable resource for the university community on this issue. We need to keep the victims first in our decision and act to make sure that the reforms put forward by our alma mater are augmented and enforced alongside the best practices of others. We should focus on healing victims of sexual abuse, prevention of such crimes in the first place and put Penn State in a position to be a global leader in staving off such horrible crimes.
25. Robert J. Bowsher ’86 Bus
When it comes to healing the university community in the wake of the Sandusky scandal, I believe no one has kicked the can further down the road than the trustees. We must lead this recovery ourselves. I commend everyone who organized and participated in the November 2011 Old Main Candlelight Vigil that left the press speechless and in awe of what Penn State looks like, literally and figuratively, in its best light. As a trustee, I would acknowledge anyone who reminds us what Penn State stood for before this horrible tragedy unfolded. I propose a “Plaza of Honor” be built where the Joe Paterno statue and the Players’ Wall once stood. Surrounding a new statue of Coach Paterno would be a wall inscribed with the names of all the football players who made the selfless choice to stay at Penn State after the NCAA imposed its unprecedented sanctions. I would also encourage Dr. Barron and the other executive leaders to make us believe again that hard work pays off on the Penn State campuses. The recent high-profile firings of legendary coaches Joe Paterno and Emmanuil Kaidanov sent the wrong message to our talented faculty and staff. It’s time for a community-oriented work environment, like the one Penn State had in the 1960s, to rise again at our alma mater. To make Penn State a better place, we must make Penn State a better workplace.
26. Rudolph Karl Glocker ’91, ’93 MA Lib
It is critical that the University moves forward from the Sandusky scandal, but moving forward is not the same as “moving on.” The University needs to disclose all relevant dealings with Freeh and the NCAA, listen to different segments of alumni, and recognize the outstanding contributions of Joe and the Paterno family to Penn State.
In order to disclose all relevant Freeh and NCAA dealings, Penn State needs to:
- Bring all relevant documents and communications into the public realm
- Conduct a thorough internal review of the data
- Invite independent outsiders to review the information
Alumni are the heart of the University. Penn State needs to recognize that alumni are its greatest asset. In terms of healing the rift with Alumni, Penn State needs to:
- Take the recent alumni survey results to heart
- Develop a forum to take into account alumni concerns
- Grant Alumni a greater voice in University leadership through Board reform
The Paterno family played a critical role in creating the Penn State we know today. Joe’s dedication to excellence and the setting of high standards created an aspirational goal for all Penn Staters. In order to recognize this service, Penn State needs to:
- Apologize to the Paterno family
- Recognize the outstanding contributions of Joe and Sue Paterno
- Annul the NCAA sanctions
These actions will unite the University, which is critical if Penn State is to become the world’s leading University.
27. Alice W. Pope ’79, ’83 MA, ’86 PhD Lib
Next to Sandusky, the Board is the biggest cause of Penn Staters’ ongoing hurt. Accordingly, I will work to change the Board’s mindset and culture. Different perspectives are critical to reaching greater understanding of complex issues, but unfortunately the Board simply avoids dissenting voices. A former board chair promised to conduct a “listening tour,” for example, but she reneged on her promise. This is just one illustration of the Board’s inward-looking and insular culture. I will insist that the Board engage in meaningful dialogue with its stakeholders. The Board has hindered healing by promoting a false dichotomy—they claim that examining the past will impair the ability to plan for the future. This is absurd. All healthy organizations engage in self-appraisals in order to build on their successes and to avoid repeating mistakes. When mistakes are discovered, amends must be made. Leaving mistakes unrectified obstructs healing and prevents forward movement. The community will recover from the scandal when the university’s reputation is restored. The Board must repudiate the flawed Freeh report, which wrongly condemned our culture using inadequate evidence. The NCAA sanctions, issued on the basis of a faulty report, must be challenged. We must find the courage and resolve to do what is right. As we pursue the truth, we must ensure the education of our current students is our primary concern. Contrary to the Board’s false dichotomy, I believe that we can both rectify past mistakes and lead the way to a greater future.
28. Robert C. Jubelirer ’59 Lib, ’62 JD Law
It is critical to have the leadership skills and experience to work with those who may have a different point of view to try and affect compromise in the best interest of our university. Serving in legislative leadership taught me the valuable skills of bringing people with differing positions together for results, and regrouping and forging ahead after suffering setbacks. We are certainly at a crossroads at our beloved university. I believe until more members of the Board of Trustees (BoT) reach common ground and acknowledge that mistakes were made in the wake of the Sandusky scandal—such as foregoing due process and firing Joe Paterno before he had the opportunity to address them and the public—it will be difficult to heal and recover. I remain optimistic that that time will come. A great step was the hiring of Dr. Barron as president. Another was how former Trustee Al Clemens showed leadership by acknowledging his terrible mistake in rushing to judgment and voting to fire Coach Paterno on Nov. 9, 2011. I believe the time will come soon when more trustees will join Clemens in recognizing their rush to judgment and uniting Penn State nation together again.
29. Brian M. Rutter ’03 Bus
Upon being elected to the board, we will have already done our part by adding more BOT members to replace those who were on board during the initial reactions from the Sandusky scandal and the firing of Coach Paterno. I appreciate the difficulty of what the Board, the President, and the PSU community at large has dealt with in the wake of the Sandusky scandal and unfortunately we cannot do anything retroactively to change it. It is my desire not to look backward in regret for actions taken but rather to look back and to have learned from our mistakes to ensure they don’t ever happen again. Though 159 years of success, honor, and tradition at PSU we have had endless reasons to celebrate our university. The pain of the scandal is still real for many of us and for many of the negative feelings that we all had an association to as PSU Alumni. There are two things that will help us to recover from the Sandusky scandal:
- Growth and national successes of our academic and athletic programs. The pain of being in the national media headlines was one of the most difficult portions of being a PSU Alumni. Switching focus to events like the Penn State Lunar Lion Team will give us more global recognition for our accomplishments helping to bury the negative actions that can’t be changed.
- Time to distance ourselves from the events. Each day that goes by is a part of our healing process.
30. Allen L. Soyster ’65 Eng
The ongoing and passionate commitment of alumni groups to heal the university community by reshaping the Board composition is likely doomed for disappointment. Why? The alumni can only directly impact the election of nine of 30 voting members. What about the other 21? There are six Business/Industry Trustees. These Trustees appear to be elected by themselves. These six (two per year) are elected by a committee of five Trustees appointed by the Board Chairman, which must include, strikingly, three incumbent Business/Industry Trustees. In contrast, the six Agricultural Trustees are elected by representatives of various Pennsylvania Agricultural Societies. No doubt our Business/Industry Trustees have dedicated many years of service to PSU (the three longest-serving average over 15 years), but maybe this election process should change. The newly formed (2013) Governance and Long-Range Planning Committee, to their credit, is exploring ideas on how to improve governance (Centre Daily Times, March 6). However, the CDT headline is “Little Progress as Penn State Trustees Start Governance Reform Talks.” Here is a reform idea. Change the Board Bylaws so our business/industry constituents play a role (as they did from 1905 to 2002) in the selection of Business/Industry Trustees. Penn State is blessed with long-standing Advisories (Engineering, Business, Information Science, etc.) with talented individuals, representing all segments of business/industry. Give them some decision-making role. Such a revision by our Board would send a clear message to our alumni clamoring for change. And heaven forbid, maybe the Business/Industry Trustees might even include an engineer.
31. Robert Hooper ’79 H&HD
Open and honest discussion from the Board and President is the only way to return to the path of trust within the Penn State family. I support Reform of the standing orders that control the actions of Board members, causing the Board to look like an insulated, uninvolved community member. We recognize the emotional response surrounding the firing of Coach Paterno, the hiring and acceptance of the Freeh report without challenge, and allowing the NCAA to dishonor our tradition of excellence, and the opening of the checkbook for millions of dollars that could have been used for education. Few outside the Board room can understand the trustees’ actions, and many continue to react in anger that those most able to defend the honor of our University simply failed to do so. Healing only comes with truth and time. Some of the most egregious offenders need to step aside for the benefit of the University. No individual trustee can solve this problem since a Board functions by majority rule. I will be a vocal LEADER who steps up to move the group in a positive direction. My most powerful contribution will be to help the board’s development into a cohesive group who can be the catalyst for important and powerful change for the university. I make a personal pledge to reach out to Trustees and alumni to seek ideas and openly communicate, via web and social media so that we can find a path to TRUST. “WE” are Penn State.
32. Art Greenwald ’76 Lib
After deep reflection on this question, I conclude that there are no simple solutions. Like grief, healing is a process that cannot be rushed. And yet, as an optimist, I believe that with time, prospective and thoughtful actions, the wounds that refuse to mend so easily will one day heal. Countless people have been damaged by Sandusky’s heinous acts, and emotions remain raw. Pain, shock, sadness and disbelief persist. Some are scandal-fatigued and prefer to accept and move on. And others cannot; they are still justifiably angry and indignant, conditions hardly ripe for recovery. I believe that we cannot fully heal until the truths are fully known and we must continue fervently to pursue them, however long it takes. More questions than answers remain, falsehoods, distortions and misinformation abound and they must be challenged. True healing demands justice be attained for Coach Paterno and all accused. We must honor his 61 years of service and hold accountable the BOT by voting those members out who failed to represent the interests of Penn State. I would also encourage an honest acknowledgement that mistakes were made. Sandusky duped everyone, and we need to become more educated on child abuse so we might better recognize the signs. Let us seize this tragedy as a teaching moment. We cannot change the past and picking at the scab keeps us divided and stuck in negativity. But, we can change the future by reaching the truth, coming to terms with it, and moving on in solidarity and purpose.