Al Lord isn’t going anywhere.
The Penn State trustee said Friday he has no intention of stepping down from his seat on the board.
“I am one of nine board members elected by the alumni, and I feel a keen responsibility to complete my term on their behalf,” he said. “Otherwise I would have resigned my position some time ago.”
Lord made remarks to the Chronicle of Higher Education after the conviction of former Penn State president Graham Spanier, in which he was quoted as “running out of sympathy” for “so-called” child sex abuse victims of retired Nittany Lions football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.
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The university has settled with 32 claimants for a total of $92.8 million.
On Thursday, board Chairman Ira Lubert and Vice Chairman Mark Dambly called for Lord to step down. Lord, who was in the process of running for his second three-year term on the board, had already announced he would no longer pursue re-election.
“PSU has more than 600,000 living alumni yet just 25 percent of the board vote. It would be indeed ironic if the board’s unelected majority, including Ira and Mark, could remove an elected member — to suit majority purposes. Neither Ira or Mark have discussed any of this with me,” Lord said.
The board officers were not the only people at Penn State taking issue with Lord’s remarks. The university released a statement from three different groups that acknowledged his decision not to pursue re-election but did not call for his resignation.
“Penn State’s Academic Leadership Council, Faculty Senate Council and University Staff Advisory Council, take exception to recent statements by Albert Lord, a Penn State Board of Trustee member, that are insensitive to victims of child abuse, as well as inconsistent with Penn State’s values and ongoing commitment to prevent child sexual abuse through training, research and education. We consider his decision to withdraw himself from consideration for re-election to be appropriate,” the statement read.
The Chronicle story was not the first time that either Lord or other members of the alumni-elected faction have taken issue with those claiming abuse.
In April 2015, Lord recused himself from a settlement vote on recommendation of fellow trustee and attorney Rick Dandrea. He did offer comment at that time, though, saying, “Victims may be due recompense from Sandusky, not Penn State.”
He was not alone.
“I want to express my sympathy for Sandusky victims,” trustee Ted Brown said. “They are not Penn State victims.”
“We seem to have adopted a policy of pay and move on,” trustee Anthony Lubrano said.