Longtime trustee and 1959 Penn State graduate Al Clemens resigned from the Board of Trustees during today’s meeting, citing wrong decisions and failed leadership over the last two years from himself and his colleagues.
Clemens was a gubernatorial appointee, first appointed by Governor Tom Ridge in 1995. His term expired in 2012, but in absence of another appointment from Governor Tom Corbett, he has remained a member of the Board for the last two years.
Previously outspoken about what he calls the questionable Freeh report, Clemens is also party to the Paterno-NCAA lawsuit aimed at reversing the NCAA sanctions.
Here’s Clemens in his own words today, falling on the sword:
I have resigned from the Penn State Board of Trustees.
For most of the 18 years I served as a Trustee, I was proud to help Penn State grow and achieve its deserved stature, in both academics and athletics, as one of America’s top-rated public Universities.
On November 9th, 2011, I and my fellow Trustees, voted to fire Joe Paterno in a hastily called meeting. We had little advance notice or opportunity to discuss and consider the complex issues we faced. After 61 years of exemplary service, Coach Paterno was given no chance to respond. That was a mistake. I will always regret that my name is attached to that rush to injustice.
Hiring Louis Freeh and the tacit acceptance of his questionable conclusions, without review, along with his broad criticism of our Penn State culture was yet another mistake. In joining the Paterno family and others in their suit against the NCAA, I have distanced myself from the Board on this issue. I am determined to reverse all of the misguided sanctions which were designed to punish a football program without blemish, and were aimed at student-athletes innocent of any wrong-doing.
Over the past two years, concerned Alumni have spoken clearly and forcefully. They have replaced six incumbents with reform-minded Trustees determined to acknowledge and redress errors of judgment with positive actions. Those who believe we can move on without due process for all who have been damaged by unsupported accusations are not acting in Penn State’s best interest.
While I will continue to advocate for Penn State, I step down from the Board in keeping within the spirit of our vote for 12-year term limits. It is time for new leadership to step forward.
Penn State’s future is bright. Our President, Dr. Barron, brings him a fresh perspective, grounded in first-hand experience of the true culture of Success with Honor. We have the opportunity to move forward united in our commitment to truth.
I urge all who love Penn State’s name to fight on. WE ARE Penn State.