Board Approves Resolution To Pay More Sandusky Claims
In a special Board of Trustees meeting, a resolution to pay additional Jerry Sandusky lawsuit claims was passed by a 18-6 vote. The six no-votes came from the present alumni-elected trustees, all of whom read statements of opposition into the record.
Trustees Alice Pope, Anthony Lubrano, Barbara Doran, Bill Oldsey, Bob Jubelirer, and Ted Brown called for the university to end payment to claimants who say they were abused by Jerry Sandusky. The group also read supporting statements from absent board members Al Lord (who cited a conflict of interest) and Ryan McCombie.
Penn State settled 26 other cases in 2013 for $59.7 million. Board Chairman Keith Masser would only stipulate that the resolution allows for settlement of “one or more” claimants for an undisclosed dollar amount.
Citing the Freeh Report’s flaws, particularly the narrative implicating the university as responsible for Sandusky’s actions, Pope said “Every day that we silently stand in support of the Freeh report is another day we allow the world to agree with its conclusion.”
“The time has come for us to say ‘No more,'” said Lubrano. “Such settlements suppose Penn State’s responsibility to victims.” Lord, in a statement read by Lubrano, asked “Does our cynicism have no bounds?”
“I want to express by sympathy to the Sandusky victims, but they are not Penn State victims,” Brown said.
Other alumni trustees voiced their grievances at the way the meeting was held. Trustees spoke for approximately 40 minutes before the public conference call to discuss the issue at hand, but Oldsey says it wasn’t enough. “I am absolutely uncomfortable with our methods of making a decision of this magnitude today. A 30 minute phone conference, for me, simply doesn’t cut it.”
Jubelrirer referenced his time in the Pennsylvania state Senate and the challenges he faced there, acknowledging “I’ve been here for less than a year and this is the toughest vote I’ll have to make…I don’t like voting on somewhere where I don’t have all the information.”
“We are a deep pocketed university and we have been targeted by those who have taken advantage of who we are,” Jubelrirer said. “We need to put a stop on the spicket that has been turned down and fight back as a university. We have to say ‘No more.’ We’re gonna stand up and we’re gonna fight.”
There are currently three open cases against the university. Two of the open cases against Penn State were filed by people who testified against Sandusky during his criminal trial. One of the suits is seeking $75,000 while the other is unspecified according to court documents. The third case includes a victim interviewed by police in 2012 after reporting he was sexually assaulted by Sandusky twice beginning in 2008. The third victim is seeking $50,000 and punitive damages from the university.
Per usual, not one trustee on the other side of the issue felt the need to explain their vote.