A group of Penn State alumni and fans upset with trustees’ decision to fire Joe Paterno has kicked off an effort to fill three seats on the board.
Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship began forming on Facebook and in other avenues after the trustees announced on Nov. 9 that they were terminating Paterno and then-President Graham Spanier in light of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
The group said there was a lack of due process and an investigation should have taken place first. Its members also want to see more transparency and inclusiveness by the board.
“At this moment we, the alumni, have the power to vote out the alumni-elected members of the board of trustees, and vote in those with honorable leadership qualities who may restore the glory of Penn State,” founder Michelle Murosky said in a statement.
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Three alumni trustees seats are up for a vote this year.
One of the seats was held by David Joyner, who stepped down to become acting athletic director. Another is held by trustee David Jones, who is not seeking re-election. He said he decided not long after his last election not to run for a sixth term.
“By the spring I will have served 15 years on the board and I thought that was enough time to serve on the board,” Jones said. “I have not been planning to run for a long time, and I made no secret of that.”
Retired State College Area High School teacher Anne Riley is also up for reelection, but hasn’t announced whether she’ll run.
“It is very important to me to get the feel of things, particularly at the January meeting,” Riley said, referring to the trustees’ Jan. 20 meeting. “I just need a few more facts in place to play out.”
There are nine alumni seats on the board, three of which are elected each year.
Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship is encouraging alumni to vote in the election and run for the spots. The group plans to review candidates who want its endorsement and pick three to put its support behind.
There are 32 trustees, not including nonvoting emeriti members.
Penn Staters spokeswoman Maribeth Roman Schmidt said the group is looking at both the short term — the upcoming trustees election — and the long term as the other seats become open.
“They’re just trying to make one positive step at a time,” she said.