Today I had the distinct pleasure to attend a presentation by Karen Peetz, chairwoman of the Board of Trustees (this was prior to the Faculty Senate meeting today). At the end of this presentation, there was a Q&A session. While she was there to talk business, the conversation shifted to the BoT and the handling of this situation. Some of the answers she gave were interesting, and I feel they are worth sharing with the world.
When asked about the timing of the statement, she responded that they only felt compelled to release a statement after meeting with selected groups of students, faculty, staff, and alumni, and getting the impression that they were upset. Why it took them four months to determine this, I will never know. In addition, she made a statement about how the alumni were the most angry, and that it was probably because they only come back for football games. I'm not going to deliver my analysis of this statement, as it speaks for itself where they view alumni in terms of value to the University.
When asked about Spanier, she mentioned that she felt disappointed that his firing was lost in the commotion about Joe, as most alumni don't realize how many great things he has done for the University. This was followed by a list of how great Graham was, and how he built so many great buildings. She also mentioned that whatever they were doing to honor Joe will be done at the same time as honoring Spanier.
One interesting statement she made as to the firings, not mentioned in the statement, was that the reason Spanier was relieved of his duties was that he was not taking appropriate actions required by the President. She then said that the fact Spanier wasn't taking appropriate actions was what led to the BoT firing Joe instead of Spanier firing him.
She also said that she was trying to reach a detente with the Paterno family, especially Sue; although she did say she didn't know about working with the kids.
The one positive thing she said was that they were looking at setting up a committee to study the possibility of maybe having student town hall meetings with the BoT sometime in the indeterminate future.