Voting begins today in the contentious election for three alumni seats on Penn State’s Board of Trustees. The trustees race once generated little interest in the general public, let alone the 560,000 Penn State alumni across the country. But that changed last year following scrutiny on the actions of university leaders in the aftermath of retired assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky’s arrest in November 2011 on child sex abuse charges. Any of the university’s 560,000 alumni can vote, though they must first contact the Board of Trustees office. Voters can cast ballots online or through the mail. Voting ends May 2, with results to be announced the following day at the trustees meeting
If you did not get your ballot, be sure to contact the alumni office!!!!!
I recommend you Vote for Scott Kimler!!!!!!!
Scott is one of the 6-person Executive Committee on PSU-ReBOT.org – which formed as a direct result of the Sandusky scandal. Our group mission has been to reform the Penn State Board of Trustees. We embarked on several initiatives to improve Penn State, which include:
-Supporting the Faculty Senate “BOT Vote of No Confidence” by making presenting at the January 2012 meeting and collecting more than 4,500 petition signatures
-Embarking on an ambitious research project to collect & evaluate governance metrics from 60+ land-grant and BigTen universities for peer review comparison with Penn State
-Advocate for Alumni BOT election reform, which resulted in:
-first-ever Meet and Greet during Blue/White weekend;
-first-ever 86-candidate straw poll (Scott) http://goo.gl/dG478 and
-a single, interactive web-page with candidate information for all 86 candidates “Super Table” (Scott) – http://goo.gl/NjPnc
-Work with existing Board members to advocate reform (spring 2012)
-Work with former Auditor General Jack Wagner and his staff on governance reform (summer 2012) http://goo.gl/bqfRS
-A letter-writing campaign to BOT members urging Wagner reform recommendations (Jan 2013) – http://goo.gl/76DLz
In addition to strategic planning and leadership duties on the Executive Committee, I am also responsible for PSU-ReBOT.org web properties. I designed, created and maintain the http://www.psu-rebot.org website, the Facebook page and the @psu_rebot Twitter presence. PSU Board Relevance – Demonstrated daily commitment to improving Penn State, for over a year. I didn’t wait for a seat on the Board to make a positive impact, I got involved and have applied myself to the task of improving Penn State with both purposeand resolve. Through my involvement, I am aware of the history of decisions the Board has made post-Sandusky, have made many contacts with members of the Penn State community including members of the current Board, various members and leaders of alumni groups, Penn State faculty and many students. As a Board member, I can hit the ground running and am eager to continue reform efforts in person and working with other reform-minded Trustees. My web development and social media abilities will be an asset to the ‘tip-of-the-spear’ efforts for transparency, openness and trust desperately needed within the Penn State Board of Trustees.
SUCCESS WITH HONOR
March 28, 2013
Dear Fellow Lettermen,
We write to you about a matter of great importance to our University. As fellow Lettermen and alumni of the Pennsylvania State University we, like the rest of the Nation, were horrified by the actions of Jerry Sandusky. No words that we or anyone else can say will ever heal Sandusky’s victims, their families or the damage that he caused other than to say our thoughts and prayers remain with them. Also horrifying has been the ensuing damage inflicted to the standing of our University due in large part to the failure of the Board of Trustees. It is for this reason that we are compelled to step forward and oppose Paul Suhey’s re-election to the Board. We take this action with the full understanding of the division this may cause amongst us. It is not a role we relish but, it is one we believe is necessary to prevent any further damage to our University.
At nearly every turn over the past sixteen months, the Board of Trustees has failed miserably to exercise the necessary leadership and responsibility to guide our University. No greater illustration is the Board’s handling of Joe and the Freeh Report. While admittedly not knowing all of the facts, the Board unanimously rushed to judgment and fired Joe after 62 years of service to the University without ever once talking with him. Similarly, the Board to this very day has failed to discuss the substance of the Freeh report let alone question its evidentiary basis or lack thereof. The consequences of these actions have severely tarnished the reputation and legacy of Coach Paterno and have brought great harm upon the University, our beloved program and the innocent players and coaches who now occupy our locker room.
In the coming days, you will no doubt hear how Paul Suhey disagreed with these actions but cannot tell “his side” for legal reasons or how knew Joe as “Uncle Joe”. To this we say nonsense! Actions speak louder than words and if Suhey disagreed with the actions the Board was taking he had both an obligation and a duty to speak up and cast his vote accordingly. The fact that he failed to do so only underscores the point that he is not fit to serve on the board a day longer. The choice is for everyone to make but, for us it could not be any clearer – retire Paul Suhey, like he claimed to retire Joe, by not re-electing him.
Robert Capretto ’67
Tom Donchez ’74
Franco Harris ’72
Justin Ingram ’00
Christian Marrone ’97
Brian Masella ’74 Lydell Mitchell ’72
Michael Robinson ‘04
Steve Smear ’69
Brandon Short ’99
PA House member Scott Conklin has asked the help of everyone who cares about
Penn State and who understands that the PSU Board of Trustees needs to get
serious reform. Two House members allegedly have been lobbied by current BOT members to stall four reform bills so that they cannot reach the floor of the
House to receive a fair hearing. If the recent PA Senate hearing is to be
anything more than a distant memory, and BOT reform to avoid being buried by our status quo trustees, we need to provide serious, and I mean SERIOUS,
encouragement to those House members to stop obstructing these bills. And
encourage House leaders to assist in that effort. We need a tsunami of emails
and snail mail to the four individuals provided here. IF you are planning to write a letter, we encourage you to be short and to the point—the trick is to be clear from the beginning what you want from this person. Write your own letter, use this one, splice something short together—your call. If you’re not a resident of PA, don’t share that with them. You’re Penn State—that’s enough. Finally, feel free to mail any snail mail letter when you’re ready. However, emails should be sent on MONDAY!
writing you to request that you assist in moving legislation relating to reform
of the Penn State Board of Trustees to the floor of the House so that it can
receive the hearing that it deserves. The current leadership of the Board is
attempting to offer only minor adjustments to Board practices and touting them
as major reforms. This is the same leadership which failed to respond
effectively to crises during the past sixteen months, and those failures have
done serious damage to the Commonwealth’s flagship university.
following bills need your cooperation and assistance:
- House Bill 299 –
Reduce the size of the Board of Trustees
- House Bill 310 – Reorganize
the voting structure of the Board
- House Bill 311 – Amend the Right-To-Know
Law to include State Related entities
- House Bill 312 – Amend the Ethics Act
to include State Related entities
We are all counting on your help to
bring the Penn State Board of Trustees into the Twenty-First century.
The Honorable Samuel H. Smith
Speaker of the
139 Main Capitol BuildingPO Box 202066Harrisburg, PA
110 Main Capitol BuildingPO Box
202028Harrisburg, PA 17120-2028
Daryl Metcalfe, Chairman
House State Government Committee144 Main CapitolPO
Box 202012Harrisburg, PA 17120-2012
Paul Clymer, Chairman
House Education Committee
216 Ryan Office BuildingPO
Box 202145Harrisburg, PA 17120-2145
Mark Battaglia was the starting center on the 1982 National Championship Football Team. The first of Penn State’s many National Championship Teams (1968, 1969, 1973, 1986, and 1994) to be recognized as such by the AP and UPI polls. I was fortunate enough to spend a week of fly-fishing in Montana with Mark back in 2003 and we’ve been friends ever since.
On March 15, 2013, Mark addressed the Penn State Board of Trustees at the meeting in Hershey.
Here are his words: “Thank you. And thank you for the opportunity to address the Board today. My name is Mark Battaglia and I was fortunate enough to be on the 1982 National Championship Team.
At a press conference afterward, Penn State Lettermen who played for Paterno gave the board their own prescription for moving forward:
* A formal apology to legendary former head football coach Joe Paterno‘s family for his firing-by-telephone days after Sandusky’s arrest.
* Restoration of the monument outside Beaver Stadium that paid tribute to Paterno’s teams. The concrete wall was removed with Paterno’s statue last July, causing deep hurt to many of the players from Penn State’s most successful teams and their fans.
* Joining the pushback, currently led by Gov. Tom Corbett, against the four-year program of NCAA sanctions against Penn State football, a regime of penalties that the letterman said are unfairly punishing players, students and fans who had nothing to do with Sandusky.
They also seconded trustee Anthony Lubrano’s request for a board meeting with former FBI Director Louis Freeh, so that members at large can have their first opportunity to confront him with their questions.
Board members gave no indication that they are ready to act on those demands Friday – to date, only a small minority have expressed public misgivings about Freeh’s findings that Penn State’s top administrators and Paterno – gave cover for Sandusky in 2001.
Sandusky, Paterno’s longtime defensive coordinator, was convicted last year of sexually abusing 10 boys between 1994 and 2008. He has been sentenced to a minimum of 30 years in state prison.
The university, meanwhile, is now trying to negotiate civil settlements with 30 men who claim they were abused by Sandusky over the last 35 years.
Freeh’s findings have largely been echoed in a statewide grand jury presentment last fall that resulted in criminal obstruction of justice, child endangerment and other charges against former Penn State President Graham Spanier and two of his top administrators. (However, Paterno was not implicated in this presentment).
For the first time several trustees actually engaged in a direct discussion about Freeh’s findings, with Lubrano reiterating his concerns and Ken Frazier, chair of the special committee that hired Freeh, defending the report.
And after the meeting, Trustees Chairman Keith Masser said that he felt the board’s legal committee, where Frazier touched off this week’s Freeh discussion Thursday, has an obligation to consider Lubrano’s request.
“Whether it comes out of the committee (with a positive recommendation) is another question,” said Masser, who also sits on the Legal Committee. “But we can make sure that it gets addressed.”
Masser declined to offer his own opinion on whether the board should revisiting the reports. “It’s not appropriate for us to pre-empt committee discussion,” he said Friday.
The lettermen who set the tone for the public comment period, however, said afterward that in their mind, this is the only path back to respectability for this board after, in their view, betraying Paterno and Penn State for 16 months.
“They have an opportunity for a second chance… because a new viewpoint of what happened at Penn State with Jerry Sandusky has come out,” through the Paterno-financed critique of the Freeh Report authored by former Gov. Dick Thornburgh, said former player Tom Donchez, now of Bethlehem.
“Let’s see what they do. Let’s see if they come out and do something for this university.”
The players said they are not worried that their continuing crusade against the Freeh report and the NCAA sanctions effectively validates concerns cited by NCAA President Mark Emmert and others that Penn State does have a football-first culture.
That’s because, they said, any fair examination of the record shows that Paterno himself was so much more than football.
Mickey Shuler, an East Pennsboro High School star who played for Paterno, noted the coach’s role in elevating the entire university through his fundraising, demands on the trustees and expectations of his players.
As a player, Shuler said, Paterno’s expectations were that everyone was “responsible and accountable to one another, the team and most importantly, the university… representing that university in a positive light everywhere you go.
“And that concept,” added Shuler, who now lives in Marysville, “just became contagious… His was an example that the whole university, I think, feels they have to live up to his expectations.”
For instance, board members will be expected to support board decisions and not speak out against them. They will be prohibited from acting on his or her own behalf. And they will need to fulfill their donation pledges to Penn State on a timely basis.
When Lubrano heard on Friday the proposed changes, which originated in a governance committee, he asked if these were being dubbed the “Lubrano rule.”
Trustee Linda Strumpf appeared to give Lubrano a cross look, and she mouthed something at the same time as her gesture, but it was not clear what it was.
Lubrano said he wanted all the trustees held to the same standards.
The governance reforms were brought up during Friday’s board meeting for a fuller discussion by all 32 trustees. Lubrano was the only one who made comments.
Before the fireworks Friday, when former Penn State football lettermen have promised to lay into the board of trustees, a handful of board members will convene Thursday to pave the way for ground-breaking changes to how the 158-year-old university is governed. The board’s committee on governance and long-range planning is expected to review and recommend reforms for a vote of the full board on Friday in Hershey. Exactly what those reforms are, though, will not be known until the meeting, because its agenda is confidential, and a university spokesman could not provide firmer details about which reforms will be up for consideration.
The committee meeting is at 1 p.m. This will be streamed live on WPSU.com
Regardless of the uncertainty, the result will be unprecedented because of the long tradition of university and board governance, which became a lightning rod for criticism after the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
Politicians, elected officials and alumni have been calling for reform and changes, and the board of trustees continues to bear the brunt of the anger from seething fans and alumni over its handling of coach Joe Paterno’s ouster and the NCAA sanctions. Some groups want to purge the board of those who voted to remove Paterno as coach, while others want the size of the board reduced, a different composition or certain members stripped of their voting ability.
The best hints about what reforms to expect Thursday are from the committee’s last discussion on the topic in January, when the members reviewed the long list of reforms suggested by former Auditor General Jack Wagner.
Among the reforms that were discussed: whether the Penn State president or the state’s governor should have voting powers, whether the president will be the board’s secretary or whether retired university employees have to wait a few years before they can run for a board seat.
The committee is chaired by James Broadhurst and includes the former chairwoman Karen Peetz and Joel Myers, who fired off an email a few weeks ago criticizing the NCAA and the Freeh report.
Peetz and Myers were supportive of removing the president’s voting powers, and the committee sounded in favor of stripping the governor’s voting powers, too. Broadhurst said he first wanted to discuss the latter one with Gov. Tom Corbett.
A reduction in the president’s powers was one of Wagner’s core recommendations. The former auditor general also recommended reducing the size of the board from its size of 32 members