Full disclosure, I'm a Penn State alum and am still involved with the university as a Board member for an Alumni Interest Group. Like many of you, and despite what Karen Peetz may or may not believe, Penn State means a hell of a lot more to me than football.
There has obviously been incredible focus on the Board of Trustees elections coming up, and seeing that 86 people secured the necessary nominating votes to be on the final ballot astounded me. I am concerned, however, with the intentions of the candidates.
Outside of Adam Taliaferro and incumbent Anne Riley, Anthony Lubrano likely has the greatest name recognition of all the candidates. I watched his five-minute commercial and have read his (and other candidates') comments throughout the last several weeks. What I saw concerned me greatly.
Lubrano spends the first 2:11 of the 5:01 video talking about Joe Paterno and how he was wronged. Regardless of your belief of if he should or should not have been fired, most would agree that the way it was handled was poor. We get that. The next 19 seconds are a plea to Penn Staters to vote in the upcoming election, and to vote for change. This is followed by 2:24 of Paterno-related videos, photos, and audio clips. The final :06 is Lubrano asking, "Joe Paterno always believed in us; so why then, Board of Trustees, didn't you believe in him?"
I don't mean to write this as a video review or as an indictment of Lubrano specifically. I recognize his intent with this video is to pay tribute to Paterno moreso than to serve as a campaign commercial for himself, but I still have to question his goals.
Lubrano and others seem to be playing to the anger and hurt felt by many Penn Staters about Paterno. While it is certainly a big topic, why are they not addressing concerns about rising tuition and reduced state funding? Why are they not discussing plans for challenging the structure of the Board? Why are they not discussing their long-term plans and goals if they were to be elected? And worse yet, if Paterno receives his posthumous apologies and honors as a result of Lubrano or others being elected, what will they do on behalf of the Penn State community for the remainder of their terms as Trustees?
I am not a candidate, I have no family members who are candidates, and I only have one friend who is a candidate. I'll refrain from naming names, but he has laid out plans greater than, "Get the Board to apologize to Joe." I wish others were doing the same.
This is a plea for those voting to look beyond Joe Paterno. There are myriad issues this Board will have to deal with, both internally within the Board and externally within the university. Don't lose sight of that when voting.
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