Letter to the editor | Another misstep at Dear Old State

August 14, 2013 

Bad decisions now seem to be the norm at Penn State. The latest example is penalizing employees $100 per month if they do not submit to health screening. The resultant uproar has resulted in yet another round of bad publicity for Dear Old State.

Savvy employers present changes in benefits as opportunities rather than as punishments. One approach, for example, is to increase the standard premiums for all participants in order to help cover rising health-care costs and offer participants a chance to avoid the increase by participating in a wellness program.

Penn State could have avoided many hard feelings by simply announcing that premiums were increasing by $100 per month but that employees could avoid the increase if they undergo the screening. Only a deeply flawed decision process would ignore such an obvious alternative.

As the university’s president, Rodney Erickson is ultimately responsible for this misstep and the more egregious ones that have taken place under his watch, such as accepting both the Freeh report and the NCAA sanctions.

Just two years ago, Erickson seemed destined to go down in history as Penn State’s best provost ever. He is, by all accounts, a kind person. And it was noble of Erickson to serve as interim president under chaotic conditions.

It is now obvious, however, that Erickson’s skill set offers a poor fit with the presidency. He should resign now and let a competent interim president be appointed until the permanent president is selected.

Sharon Ketchen

Opelika, Ala.

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