Student trustee Pete Khoury has officially requested to be removed from the Paterno family-led lawsuit against the NCAA according to court documents filed yesterday. The action confirms a report from last month that Khoury was essentially bullied off the lawsuit by some of the most powerful trustees.
“I, Peter Khoury, wish to voluntarily remove myself as a Plaintiff on the Paterno, et al v. NCAA et al case currently docketed in the Court of Common Pleas of Centre County,” reads the court filing signed by Khoury on September 9.
Of course, this wasn’t much of a voluntary move at all. Khoury was given an ultimatum by some of the most opaque Penn State trustees: Either drop his name from the lawsuit or be removed from the search committee tasked with selecting Penn State’s next president.
Penn State spokesman David La Torre said in a statement at the time that Khoury’s involvement with the lawsuit caused a conflict of interest and would require him to recuse himself from some of the selection committee’s proceedings.
“In light of these significant limitations on his ability to perform his role as a trustee, trustee Khoury had to make a choice between his personal interests as a plaintiff in litigation and his role as a trustee member of the presidential search committee,” La Torre said.
Four other trustees — Ryan McCombie, Adam Taliaferro, Anthony Lubrano, and Alvin Clemens — are also party to the lawsuit spearheaded by the Paterno family which aims to overturn the NCAA sanctions. None of the remaining four are on the presidential selection committee.
Members of the presidential search committee include trustees Karen Peetz, Ken Frazier, Linda Strumpf, Ira Lubert, Keith Masser, Ed Hintz, Paul Silvis, Keith Eckel, Mark Dambly, Marianne Alexander, James Broadhurst, and Khoury. These trustees can be adequately called the “power” trustees and have the most experience and internal clout on the board. Aside from Alexander, the rest of these trustees are elected by the business and industry board, the agricultural societies or appointed by the governor, and they have an uncanny ability to continually reelect themselves and exert considerable control over the entire board. They’re also the most hated by the vocal alumni groups hoping for Board reform and vindication for past decisions.
“My decision to come off of the suit entails looking at my unique position being a student who represents the university’s interest and also looking at what would be best to continue ensured and effective participation of a student in critical university matters here,” Khoury told the CDT at the time.
A hearing is scheduled for October 29 between the Paterno supporters and the NCAA in Bellefonte. You can read the court document below,