Official Press Release: PENN STATERS FOR RESPONSIBLE STEWARDSHIP DEMAND

PENN STATERS FOR RESPONSIBLE STEWARDSHIP DEMAND

JULY 31, 2012 — Members of Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship have announced a formal request to the Penn State Board of Trustees to make public the names of all firms it contacted and to produce all proposals received before the November 2011 hiring of Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan LLP to conduct an internal investigation of the University’s role in the Jerry Sandusky scandal. This, following last week’s published report by the Chronicle of Higher Education in which a source familiar with the Freeh investigation is quoted as saying the final document produced from the investigation “was not meant to be used as the sole piece, or the large piece, of the NCAA’s decision-making.”

Further, PS4RS, the fast-growing alumni watchdog organization which has been seeking to remove all trustees who were at the helm of the University prior to November 2011, has formally requested that the trusteesmake public the signed letter of intent under which the investigation was initiated, and the official memorandum of understanding between the two parties – Penn State University and the firm of Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan LLP.

“Certainly, for an investigation of this size, there would be a detailed scope of work which would clearly state the objectives, what means and methodology would be used, and to what extent the final product would be used to characterize the events encompassing the Sandusky tragedy,” said PS4RS spokeswoman Maribeth Roman Schmidt. “We would expect such topics – among many others — as lack of subpoena power and the potential inability to interview key figures to be addressed upfront with caveats regarding their bearing on the report’s conclusions.”

“More, the Penn State community and the general public have been led to believe that Judge Freeh himself conducted the investigation and drafted the report,” Schmidt continued. “Information regarding who specifically conducted the investigation and who wrote specifically the report, along with any sub-contractors utilized by Freeh Sporkin and Sullivan, is most certainly relevant and must be disclosed, not only in the interest of full transparency, but to set the public record straight.”

The organization continues to raise grave concerns that the Freeh report is wrought with factual errors, critical omissions and vast supposition unsupported by the facts. “It is our responsibility to uncover what the trustees hoped to gain from the report, and to understand why it is being used in a manner that is detrimental to the future of Penn State,” said Schmidt. “The accusations implied throughout the report, with no basis of fact, are sinking our school and further damaging the Penn State brand with each reference toit,” Schmidt continued. “It is unconscionable that the trustees would not only rely upon this report, but would knowingly thrust it upon the NCAA, the Big Ten and the general public as the definitive account. We all know that can – and will — only occur in a court of law.”

Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship has experienced a 45% growth in membership since the release of the Freeh report. The organization, which has more than 8,500 members nationwide, was formed to effect positive change within the University Board of Trustees. For further information on PS4RS, please visit http://www.PS4RS.ORG, email ps4rsinfo@ps4rs.org, or search “WE intend to vote out the Penn State Board of Trustees” on Facebook. Follow PS4RS on Twitter at @PS4RS.

3 thoughts on “Official Press Release: PENN STATERS FOR RESPONSIBLE STEWARDSHIP DEMAND

  1. As a Donor – Shouldn’t we have the right to recover our Money when it is being used for a purpose other than it was given for –

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  2. Keep plugging away. We appreciate your efforts. Alumni deserve the complete truth in these horrible events including truths of all of the administration PR and crisis management miss-steps.

    Unfortunately, I doubt you will get a response to this request/demand. A board that Fired Joe with no due process and followed this up with in-actions (lack of defending Joe or the truth for months, then not challenging the Freeh report or NCAA sanctions) and actions (the Freeh report initiation and its charge and then its total acceptance without question) intended ONLY to support this initial rash decision and give the appearance of open leadership, is not likely to be a leader in telling the truth now and presenting this requested information.

    Sadly, since a lot of time has passed without the university leadership publicly trying to uncover the whole truth in these occurrences, they have lost all credibility even if they have a change of heart anytime in the future. They have painted themselves into a corner—continue to support a rash decision not based on facts— and are intent on riding this little white lie blaming Joe alone “till this whole affair blows over” no matter what illogical actions/in-actions this pathway requires.

    Alternatively, to admit an initial lack of leadership and rash decision-making process on Joe and the Freeh report NOW with no focus on truth in past months would be a public admission of having no credibility and thus would undermine any future actions or communications from them in the future.

    This BOT screwed themselves in Nov and us along with them. We thus are collectively in for the ride that clinging to their initial “little whilte lie” at all cost requires.

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  3. Dear Board Members,

    Yes, the actions of Sandusky and the University’s inaction in reporting them are appalling. I share your concern about the victims and the steps that need to be taken to restore the good name of Penn State. Certainly, the University deserves some punishment, but the magnitude of the sanctions and the process that was used was greatly flawed.

    In my opinion, the NCAA sanctions are an unprecedented rush to judgement with very little due process. Also, President Erickson’s agreement not to challenge the sanctions was a failure on his part to exercise the due diligence required of his position. My reasons for these opinions are delineated below:

    1. The NCAA did not follow it’s own procedures for investigating violations. They bypassed these procedures and relied on the Freeh Report findings. They did not conduct an independent investigation.

    2. The Freeh report reached conclusions about Paterno’s involvement in the 2001 cover up that were not supported by evidence. He was blamed equally with Spanier, Curley, and Schultz for the decision not to report the 2001 incident. Yet, the only mention of his involvement was in Curley’s E-mail to Spanier stating
    “That after talking to Joe, I felt uncomfortable about the previous plan” (to report the incident to authorities). What Joe actually said in that conversation is not documented and more than one reasonable interpretation is possible. Unfortunately, Joe cannot defend himself. In my opinion, the Freeh conclusions would not be substantiated in a court of Law. This was the case in a previous independent investigation by Freeh involving a candidate to head up the International Soccer Federation. Freeh concluded that this individual had solicited bribes resulting in his being banned from any participation in the organization’s activities. Recently, A Swiss Court found that there was insufficient evidence to support this charge and the court ordered that he be reinstated.

    3. According to published reports, Dr. Erickson did not seek legal advice from law firms that specialize in defending Universities against NCAA disciplinary actions. Without appropriate legal assistance, his negotiations with the almighty NCAA were analogous to a criminal trying to negotiate a plea bargain with a sharp prosecutor without benefit of a lawyer. While he may have saved Penn State from a death penalty the result was far from just. If he had hired one of these law firms, the outcome would have likely been less severe. He did not exercise his fiduciary responsibilities to obtain a better result. It has also been reported that Dr. Erickson did not consult with the Board of Trusties before signing the agreement with the NCAA. This fact could be a basis for a challenge to the agreement.

    4. Yes, Paterno could have done more but, based on documented evidence the main participants in the cover up are Spanier, Curley, and Schultz. These three still face future legal action. Certainly, their failure to report the abuses is far more a criminal issue than it is a violation of NCAA regulations. Some experts have even questioned the NCAA’s authority in this case.

    It is my firm belief that the magnitude of the NCAA sanctions is not justified. They represent an unprecedented rush to judgement with little concern for due process or rules of law. I hope that the Board of Trustees will hire an appropriate law firm to challenge these sanctions.

    Sincerely

    Robert Joyce (class of ’62)

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