Letter to the editor | The board’s fiduciary failure

May 7, 2014 


Board of trustee members, Kenneth Frazier, Governor Thomas Corbett, Keith Masser, Karen Peetz and Rodney Erickson answer questions during the Friday, January 20, 2012 press conference at the Nittany Lion Inn. Abby Drey


In July 2012, Penn State trustees Kenneth Frazier and Karen Peetz affirmed the Freeh report’s findings; Peetz explicitly on Penn State’s behalf in her capacity as chairwoman.

They did so without authorization by the board, but clearly with the encouragement of fellow power brokers.

Frazier later lashed out with a racist tirade at an alumnus who questioned this course of action.

The board’s controlling majority then misused Penn State communication resources to attack and intimidate four board members for performing what the Commonwealth Court just called their fiduciary duty by challenging the NCAA’s illegitimate sanctions.

The court’s opinion in its ruling in state Sen. Jake Corman’s lawsuit against the NCAA was that the board misused $60 million of Penn State’s money for purposes not related to its educational mission.

The court questioned explicitly Penn State’s legal obligation to give this money to the NCAA, and the phrases “fiduciary duty” and “lax supervision” figured prominently in the judge’s statement.

The clarity that has come out of this report is that the service of every single Nov. 11, 2011, board member, with the prominent exception of Alvin Clemens and the temporary exception of Joel Myers, is now marred, and we have to step back and ask, “What does that mean?”

It means that, had the board performed its job instead of stonewalling, a court would not have just put it on record that the board was derelict in its fiduciary duty.

William A. Levinson


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