Sunday, September 2, 2012


An open letter to the Penn State Board of Trustees as it appeared in the Friday edition of The Centre Daily Times, posted without comment.

Well one slight comment. Talking to people at yesterday's game one constant thread was that it didn't go unnoticed that the Freeh Report release, the NCAA's quick punishment without investigation, and the University's acceptance of both of these happened in the middle of the summer when State College is a sleepy little town and not the third largest city in Pennsylvania.

Dear Penn State Board of Trustees,

It is apparent you want us, the Alumni, to move forward. You implore us to move forward. Here is a simple fact. We can and will move forward, and will join you on a united front, if one of two things occurs. We will move forward if: 1) Indisputable evidence surfaces that clearly shows Joe Paterno knew that Jerry Sandusky was molesting boys since 1998/2001 and did nothing to stop him, (it is evident that the findings of your $6.5 million Freeh report were not factually derived: (EM Foundation)) or 2) You admit your hasty decisions starting back in November 2011, (including firing Joe Paterno, accepting the Freeh Report, and agreeing to the NCAA sanctions) were a mistake, made under pressure and not based on truth, and that, most importantly, you did not act in the best interest of Penn State University.

One day you will have to look in the mirror and admit that you allowed this debacle to spin out of control. In November 2011, Penn State had no crisis management in place, so the media naturally turned to Joe, the face of Penn State, but he was allowed to say very little. The media applied pressure and once you, the Board, fired Joe, that was all the world needed to conclude: He must have been guilty of a cover-up. You, the Trustees, were distancing yourselves from anyone the media labeled as ‘guilty’ so you could come out smelling like roses. Then you hired Freeh to validate your firing of Joe and again to make yourselves look like the good guys. Did it not once occur to you that, by making the icon of your own university take the fall, with no evidence of wrongdoing, you were potentially destroying the university? (NCAA sanctions, economic suicide, lawsuits, accreditation fallout) It seems you were anxious for so long to get rid of Joe that you could not wait to throw the last jab. And here you are reaping what you sowed.

There will never be unity between the Alumni and the Board until you start admitting your mistakes or until all of you who were active in November '11 vacate your positions, which could be years from now. You want to move on because it is too painful for you to live in this mess you made. I wonder how many of you, with the benefit of hindsight, would have done things differently the night of November 9, 2011. I’m sure it is difficult for some of you to look in the mirror or even get out of bed in the morning. We all know when we offend or do wrong to another, there are simply two choices: (wo)man up, admit our mistakes, make amends, and then move on, or sweep it under the rug and never move on. The one who was wronged can never move on until the offense is reconciled. This is why we, the Alumni, cannot and will not move on.

And now you find yourselves desperate to repair and rebuild the image of Penn State, an image which you single-handedly allowed to be torn apart. Perhaps your first course of action should be to repair and rebuild the trust within our family, and then together, we can restore the image of our great university. It is time to fight for what is right. It is time to be the leaders we have entrusted you to be. Please remember this, “a house divided against itself cannot stand.”

Eileen Morgan, Fellow Concerned Alumni, and Friends of PSU