Dear Dr. Myers:
I find it interesting that you begin what appears to be the start of a campaign for re-election with an all-out assault on PS4RS. Before I continue, let me say that I do not speak for PS4RS and am not one of the “mystery leaders” whom you assail. “Who are these people?” is among the most condescending and offensive comments I have yet seen in this sorry evolution that began with the Sandusky charges.
I have been a Facebook member of PS4RS since a single upset alumna started the page in December of 2011 and have been proud to see its membership swell. I can tell you that “We are…Penn State” in all its dimensions: we range in age, profession, economic level. Many of us are alumni or Penn State parents. Some, like me, claim multiple alumni in our families: myself, my daughter, my son, their father, their grandfather—six degrees and three generations among us. Some of us are rabid football fans and others are not. We are scientists and technologists, teachers, nurses, bankers, doctors, lawyers, homemakers. We are entrepreneurs and factory workers. We are artists and writers and musicians. We are your next-door neighbors, not just in Pennsylvania but also probably in all 50 states. What we share is a deep love for Penn State, horror at the mess the 2011 Board has made, and a commitment to finding the truth and setting things right. We are buoyed on by people with the courage to stand up and buck the odds without fear of reprisal: Franco and Dana Harris, Anthony Lubrano, Barbara Doran, Ryan McCombie, Bill Oldsey, Adam Taliaferro, Ted Brown, the Lettermen who have spoken out, those who are party to the NCAA lawsuit, and, of course, the Paterno family. Further, I can assure you that there is nothing secret about the PS4RS leadership: Maribeth Roman Schmidt, Christian Marrone, Elizabeth Morgan, Michelle Murosky-Davis, Spencer Niles, and Dan Wallace. Dig a little deeper on the Web page or the Facebook page and you will find it. You will also find it in the archives of PS4RS news, which I’m sure Mr. Latorre monitors and maintains for you.
We have 61 years of evidence, including countless individuals whom he coached and inspired and cared about, that Joe Paterno never did anything worthy of the treatment he received. And we are appalled that not a single Board member spoke up. Instead, you who sat on the Board in 2011 behaved like sheep and have continued to do so, flip-flopping publicly on one circumstance or issue after another. You fired Joe; you didn’t fire Joe. You accepted the Freeh report; you didn’t accept the Freeh report. Cynthia Baldwin represented Curley and Schultz; she didn’t represent them (a legal horror show if I ever saw one). You spent millions on consultants to repair the damage and in the end have only made it worse. (This is a field I know something about, and I have never seen worse crisis management in my career.) You may have personally spoken out on the NCAA sanctions, but the Board NEVER defended the university. You continue to throw away money on poorly written surveys (I know something about market research, too), and you want to spend millions more to “rebrand” a university that doesn’t need rebranding—Joe did more to brand us as an academically excellent institution than most of you could ever hope to.
PS4RS as an organization has never made any of the accusations you cite. With all due respect, perhaps you are feeling a bit defensive and uncomfortable about your inaction during the last two years. Again, while I do not speak for PS4RS, I completely support the goal of unseating the 2011 board. I also support more rigorous term limitation without grandfathering, more board members elected by alumni rather than through political appointment, an end to voting memberships for the sitting Governor and President of the University, and open records that make the University more accountable to the taxpayers of the Commonwealth. Others in PS4RS and the other Penn State Facebook groups I belong to (at least four others) may share my opinions or feel differently. While I do not feel compelled to defend any of them for what in my estimation is their good work or their positions, I am proud of my membership in each and especially proud of the good people that I and others like me have elected to the Board to provide a sorely needed new generation of leadership.
Like many of my fellow alumni who are in pain over this situation, I have served on the boards of a number of nonprofit organizations. I have also worked with nonprofit boards in a professional capacity and with several institutions of higher learning as well. A board that governs the way it should doesn’t roll over and play dead, Dr. Myers. Nor does it hide. Nor does it obfuscate or make weak excuses. A board that governs the way it should is open and accountable; it listens and embraces—not stifles—dissent or discourse. The 2011 Board members, in short, continue to flunk all of the tests. You and your colleagues have made our amazing and beloved university a laughing stock, Dr. Myers.
Let me be crystal clear and point out again that I speak for no group or constituency; thse opinions are mine alone. Your expression of entitlement outrages me. Why on earth should anyone, even the best of Board members, be able to serve 11 terms? This sense of entitlement is part of what is wrong not just with Penn State, but also with our entire nation. You are a generous donor—I get that—but so are many others. You had your chance, and you blew it. Whether I vote for the people PS4RS endorses or not (note that some of the new alumni board members were NOT endorsed by PS4RS—thus your claim of hijacking is absurd), I will never vote to re-elect you. Write all the letters you want; spend all the money you want to get re-elected—I can’t imagine that anyone but your cronies would.
Angela G. Bell, (’69, English)