The Penn State board of trustees meets Friday, and we should expect direct talk about its actions in November and about its vision for the university moving forward.
We should not expect continuing silence and the status quo.
Yet, the status quo is what’s on the agenda when it comes to the board’s executive committee. The plan, as reported last week, is to keep leadership and membership of the executive committee the same while adding two or three members.
Have the trustees been listening to Penn Staters, whose discontent with the leadership of the university came out loud and clear last week in three alumni meetings with university President Rodney Erickson?
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Penn Staters expect reform. The trustees should understand that by now.
On Friday, the trustees could take steps to regain confidence in the leadership of Penn State. Here are a few suggestions:
Call for the release the 1998 university police report covering the first alleged incident involving Jerry Sandusky. The state Office of Open Records has ruled that Penn State police do not have to release any records of that investigation.
Release the minutes of the November executive session that led to the firing of Joe Paterno.
Release the minutes of the executive session in which former President Graham Spanier informed the trustees of a grand jury investigation into Sandusky, or discuss what was said. To date trustees say they were unaware.
Provide an update of the ongoing investigation led by former FBI director Louis Freeh and release the expected cost of that probe.
Provide an update on the public relations effort led by Ketchum — and the cost of that effort.
And above all, do not approve a trustees’ executive committee membership that is essentially status quo. That will do nothing to instill confidence in alumni.
The trustees can do the right things or they can continue a path that has Penn State under a dark cloud. It’s their choice.