The Penn State board of trustees’ standing orders (“Expectations of Membership,” Item xi) state that no trustee can act on behalf of the board without authorization by the board.
Trustees Karen Peetz and Kenneth Frazier almost certainly violated this rule in July 2012 when they affirmed the findings of the Freeh report — Peetz explicitly on behalf of the board. The NCAA used this as an excuse to impose its sanctions on the university.
June 9, President Barron’s special assistant asked the state Senate’s Government Committee, on behalf of Penn State, to table Sens. Yudichak’s and Corman’s legislation to restructure the board.
The letter said explicitly, “This legislation is opposed by the university’s board of trustees and by the administration.”
The board never voted to adopt any position on SB 1240, just as it never voted to accept the Freeh report. This suggests that one of two things happened. (1) One or more trustees violated not only the standing orders but also Barron’s chain of command by directing the special assistant to send this false and unauthorized communication to the state Senate. (2) One or more trustees violated the standing orders by telling Barron falsely that the board opposed the bill, to get him to direct the special assistant to send the letter.
This letter and the July 2012 incident show clearly that the university’s governance is out of control, and that Penn State needs intervention even more invasive than SB 1240.