Rally for Resignations Draws Hundreds of Alumni
Although estimates vary — some as low as 350 and others as high as 1000 people — Penn State alumni showed up Saturday morning on the steps of Old Main to voice their displeasure for, well, pretty much everyone.
The crowd tended to be older, and aside from a dozen or so in the media, very few students made it out of bed by 10 a.m. to hoot and holler at Old Main. The first speaker was darling of the anti-administration movement and former Penn State fullback Franco Harris.
Harris was fresh off his big day yesterday when he interrupted the Board of Trustees meeting. As Harris approached the microphone, a member of the crowd yelled “We’ll let you speak Franco!” — presumably a dig at BOT Chairwoman Karen Peetz, who had to cut Harris off at yesterday’s meeting.
“We are not a cult as many believe, but we are loyal to our alma mater,” Harris said next to a cardboard cutout of Joe Paterno, which drew the biggest applause. “The Board of Trustees have laid a path of destruction never before seen on any college campus.”
John O’Donnel was next to speak, a faculty member in Health and Human Development. “A lot of people aren’t happy that I’m speaking here,” O’Donnel began. “If we didn’t have a football team, we’d still be a world-class university…I think I know the culture of this university after 48 years better than Louis Freeh or Mark Emmert.”
Larry Schultz, Penn State class of 1980, continued the theme. He began by saying that he was going to name everything the Board of Trustees had done wrong since November 5. Someone from the crowd then yelled, “The game starts at 3:30!” That seemed to go over well.
The last speaker, though, was quite a doozy. Sitting Board of Trustees member Anthony Lubrano spoke at a rally centered around asking the Board of Trustees to resign. For a man who needs to have a working relationship with the other members of the Board, I’m sure this stunt will go over well.
Lubrano began his remarks, but was interrupted by someone screaming “We love you!” He told a story about a meeting with Joe Paterno, only two weeks before his death. Paterno said, “Remember kid…he called everyone kids…this isn’t about me. It’s about our school.” Lubrano said that is why he continues to fight.
“We cannot move forward by leaving behind the people who made us who we are,” Lubrano said, referencing Paterno.
One thing the speakers at the rally missed was tangible reasons for why the Board of Trustees should resign. Much was discussed about how great Joe Paterno was, how awful the Freeh report is, and how we can’t move on. There are problems with the Board of Trustees and university governance, and a conversation about those problems is something that should be encouraged.
However, a media stunt outside of Old Main on Military Appreciation Day is not that conversation. The Board of Trustees is not going to resign, even if 500 people who yell things like “Lynch the Board of Trustees!” outside of Old Main demand it.
Civil discourse is essential. It’s about time some of our alumni start doing it.