Letter to the editor | Past is still creeping in

November 7, 2013 

Philosopher George Santayana cautioned that “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

For decades, former members Bob Horst and Ben Novak raised concerns about the concentrated and dysfunctional power structure within Penn State’s board of trustees.

But because the university seemed to operate smoothly, these concerns fell on deaf ears.

Sadly, it took the board’s gross mismanagement of the Sandusky scandal for Horst and Novak’s voices to finally be heard.

In the wake of the scandal, Penn State’s board has repeatedly touted its completion of governance reforms, but the significant changes that would reshape the power structure remain undone.

The response to skeptics who raise hard questions based on the board’s long history?

“Move on.”

The bungling of the presidential search is just the latest illustration that business as usual still reigns at Penn State. No amount of self-congratulatory press releases can hide this fact.

Clearly this board cannot be trusted to reform itself.

There is a bipartisan effort to enact legislation to reform Penn State’s governance. The General Assembly is Penn State’s only hope to finally get to the root of the problem once and for all.

The best predictor of future performance is past performance. Penn State cannot just “move on” and forget the past, lest “We are” condemned to repeat it.

Please contact your state legislators and encourage them to support governance reform.

Sharon Ferrell Ketchen, Opelika, Ala.

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