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about 3 months ago

Board of Trustees Bickers Over Consent Decree, Votes To Maintain Compliance

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Penn State’s Board of Trustees displayed an incredible lack of unity Wednesday morning at the Penn Stater, as alumni trustees seated in Dean’s Hall bickered over the phone with the old guard of the board on the university’s compliance with the consent decree.

Al Lord and Anthony Lubrano led the alumni charge, flanked by several other alumni trustees and seated in front of a group of onlookers including Sue and Jay Paterno, Franco Harris, and a large contingent of PS4RS. The resolution that the trustees voted upon reflected Penn State’s stance that the NCAA fine money should be kept in the state as decreed by the Endowment Act, but also said that the university should continue its compliance with the consent decree. After more than an hour of debate and contention, they passed the resolution, 18-8, with two abstaining votes from alumni trustee Adam Taliaferro and student trustee Allie Goldstein.

The last two sentences of that resolution, which you can see in full at the bottom of this story, read: “For the past two years, the University, with appropriate vigor, has complied with the terms of the Consent Decree, and the University remains committed to full compliance with the Consent Decree as amended from time to time. Any settlement should be consistent with this commitment.” That didn’t sit well with the alumni bloc, which presented a motion to strike those sentences from the decree — that failed by the same count as the overall resolution.

Things, as you might have guessed, got heated. Here are some of the meeting’s more notable quotes:

Near the beginning of the meeting, a trustee over the phone asked for quiet from the room full of PS4RS supporters, which he wouldn’t be granted — they burst out in laugher upon hearing Karen Peetz’s voice to second a motion, and often applauded the bolder statements from the alumni trustees in front of them. The trustees were often at unrest over basic things, too, like whether they would vote to remove the entire eighth item or just its last two sentences, and if they were even going to discuss the university’s stance on the consent decree. The teleconference’s technological issues often resulted in trustees awkwardly speaking over one another.

At one point, Keith Eckel noted that these issues should be resolved quickly in the interest of the 98,000+ Penn State students. Lubrano countered that the 600,000+ university alumni feel betrayed by the board in light of its 2012 actions.

These tweets from trustee Adam Taliaferro say a lot, the first of which came during the meeting:

And so it goes. The Board’s Committee on Governance and Long-Range Planning will meet Friday here at the Penn Stater to discuss governance reform proposals and suggestions. The board’s next full meeting is on Sept. 18-19. Here is the passed resolution in full:

Resolution

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