Thank you for your recent note. As promised, I am following up.
The past ten months have been excruciatingly painful and sad for all Penn Staters, including members of the Board, while simultaneously evoking an outpouring of compassion for the Sandusky victims. We are all very disappointed that something like this could occur at Penn State.
I came to Penn State as an undergraduate in 1957. I was fortunate to receive three degrees from the University, served on the faculty for 17 years, and have been honored to be an alumni-elected Trustee for the last 31 years. I have been a devoted Penn State football fan, missing only a handful of home games in all of that time.
Without all that Penn State has given to me, it is unlikely I would have had the wherewithal to have been as successful in life as fortune has allowed, and I have always felt a deep ongoing obligation to do what I could to strengthen Penn State for the future.
So I have rightfully been asked – challenged in fact – about what I am doing about the current situation.
Whatever our frustration, it is quite important for me to state that, observing the Board of Trustees from the inside, I think time will show that over the past nine months, these mostly volunteers, who serve the University without compensation, did an extraordinary job in the face of historic challenges. This statement is not meant to be an excuse. They did what each believed was in the best interest of Penn State.
Many who wrote to me want me to do something. Please keep in mind that we as Board members can all express our opinions as individuals, but legally we can only act in Penn State’s interest as a board collectively. That is all the Penn State Charter will allow.
Some people who wrote to me asked why the Board approved all of this. There has not been a vote by the Board on the Freeh Report or the NCAA Consent Agreement.
I believe what we can all do is pull together and support Penn State, our students, our student athletes, our extraordinary faculty, staff and programs, and do so like never before and throughout the entire Penn State campus system.
We should also work with the local State College community so that together we maintain the quality experience for the students at the University Park Campus that the town and gown relationship provides.
I would ask you to show our pride for Penn State and for our football team and for the players who remain committed to Penn State, by following Coach Bill O’Brien’s call to fill Beaver Stadium for every game. Let us let these student athletes know that they have done nothing wrong, that they have honored the school, and that they will always be remembered as an important part of Penn State lore. Let us make every Penn State game equivalent to a bowl game, a full stadium every week that will dwarf most bowl crowds other teams will see.
I pledge to you that I will continue to express my personal opinions and work within the Board to secure agreement with my views, while supporting the actions the Board takes once views are considered.
I personally believe the NCAA action against Penn State was unfair, and President Erickson has spoken about the threats and coercion that were used. Some people say Penn State got what it deserved. I hope that even those people, when they reflect upon what happened, they will realize that, in America, due process should prevail.
All the best,
Joel N. Myers