“Emeritus” comes from the Latin words for “out of merit.” The recent designation of Marianne Alexander, Carl Shaffer and Linda Strumpf as emeritus trustees is a disservice to former Penn State trustees who served the university with genuine honor and distinction.
These three individuals were all members of the board that falsely admitted on Penn State’s behalf that the university enabled Jerry Sandusky’s abuse of children.
An isolated act of poor judgment does not negate an otherwise distinguished record of service, but defective character does. In March 2012, these individuals, along with their colleagues, published a statement to the effect that Joe Paterno had been fired for “failure of leadership” — a phrase they used twice. Current board Chairman Keith Masser later admitted in a sworn court deposition that the board had not fired Paterno for anything he had or had not done, but rather because he would be a “distraction” at football games.
Alexander, Shaffer and Strumpf (along with the remaining 11/9 holdovers) were therefore shown to not only have scapegoated coach Paterno, but to have subsequently given a reason they knew to be wrong. It would be far better for Penn State to forget that these individuals were ever alumni let alone trustees.
William A. Levinson