Sunday, March 9

Cheryl Fleagle addresses the Penn State Board of Trustees

March 7, 2014 - Hershey, PA 

Thank you. My name is Cheryl Fleagle. I'll begin by telling you how much I love Penn State, even though I'm not an alumna. My husband and I lived in State College while he came back for his MBA and we love all things related to this university. 

I feel I must address you, the board, after two years and three months since November 9th, 2011. I'm here today to say that I am one of many who want the truth and unity. 

You should know that many of us are very disappointed and disillusioned in your leadership. How could you, the 2011 board, just continue in silence and take no stand or action in the chaos that developed?

There were two people who could have handled this fiasco, two people who should have been permitted to speak as to what was happening. Instead, they were silenced by a certain number of the board. Your actions of firing Graham Spanier and Joe Paterno will always be looked upon as a great failure in leadership. 

Instead, you allowed the destruction of Joe Paterno's name and reputation. Joe Paterno, who gave 61 years of his life to make Penn State a better place, and you cannot deny that he did exactly that. He helped to make Penn State into the great university it is today. 

We have Joe Paterno to thank for his dedication, selflessness and utmost integrity in his effort to lead Penn State in a better direction. Joe Paterno brought pride to Penn State through his teachings, generosity and leadership. But you, the 2011 board, saw fit to fire him and thereby enabled the world to view him as a culprit in this disaster. 

Shame on all of you. 

Take a moment to reflect on what you allowed to happen to Joe Paterno and his family, also reflect on the fact that this could very well happen to you or someone you love. Would you remain silent then? To have your name and reputation destroyed and have no one defend you or your integrity? 

That brings us to the pro bono offer from Mr. Steven Fink, a crisis management professional and alumnus who offered his expert advice and services and the 2011 board rejected his offer. It certainly leads one to believe there are issues that some of you would do anything to be kept hidden. 

What are you thinking? 

That Penn State alumni and friends would accept what you DID NOT say, without questions? That in a year that it would be forgotten? Really? 

Myself and many others do want unity, but we also want the truth. And until we have the truth, we will never move on. 

In closing, I will read a quote from Abraham Lincoln: 

"To sin by silence, when they should protest, makes cowards of men." 

YouTube link: 
Cheryl Fleagle

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