Saturday, March 29

Upward State's Focus on Future Is Little More Than Sweeping PSU's Problems Under The Rug

Upward State candidate Matt Schulyer's op-ed in the March 28th CDT spins a tale of focusing on PSU's future for the good of the students.  However, the fact is that Upward State is a front group for the Old Guard BOT whose goal is to ensure that PSU's malfeasance never gets exposed.

Ray Blehar

Matt Schuyler's op-ed in the Centre Daily Times spins a story about how UpwardState has listened to the students and are looking out for their best interests.  In addition, Schuyler states that UpwardState agree with the alumni on the mishandling of the Sandusky scandal, but disagree with alumni that any effort should be spent on finding out the truth.

In short, the people that the UpwardState slate is really listening to are the "old guard" Board of Trustees, their friends who were former officers of the Penn State Alumni Association, and those who have corporate ties to BOT members (e.g., Ken Frazier).

If Schuyler, McHugh, and Cocco really do possess "seasoned judgment" and "have a strong commitment to transparency," then they would obviously realize that there was a complete lack of transparency by the BOT in dealing with the Sandusky scandal.  The recently released e-mails from PSU reveal that the BOT was doing all that it could to operate under a cloak of secrecy.

Moreover, ever since the release of the Freeh Report in July 2012, the BOT has done nothing but drag its feet on revising PSU's conflict of interest policies -- which, ironically, permits conflicts of interest.  And rather than release complete conflict of interest statements for each BOT member, the BOT simply provides a summary of the conflicts.

Seriously, do UpwardState's candidates "seasoned judgement" actually condone a policy that permits BOT members to do business with the University?   Without a "zero tolerance" policy on conflict of interest, there is little chance of having an ethically run organization.

As we have learned over the past two years, the BOT and PSU Administration has repeatedly lied to the Penn State community about what they knew about the Sandusky investigation and when they knew it.  Over 70 PSU employees were aware of the investigation prior to November 2011, but the BOT pretended to be caught off-guard by the grand jury presentment.

Have Cocco, McHugh, and Schuyler had their heads stuck in the sand for the past two years?  Are they not aware that the BOT has done everything it could to hide the truth from the PSU community?  Do they not see how the BOT worked with Corbett, the OAG, and Freeh to "railroad" PSU officials and let PSU take the fall for the Commonwealth's failure to identify and apprehend Sandusky in 1998?

Do they believe that it is good governance to pay $8.8 million for a report of the scandal, then not review the report? Do they believe that it was appropriate for the Special Investigations Task Force, who oversaw the Freeh investigation, to disband two days after the report was published?    Do they not believe that Ken Frazier's and Karen Peetz's endorsement of the Freeh Report - without review -- on the day it was released did not damage Penn State's reputation and label the University as pedophile enablers?

As candidates with "seasoned judgement," don't they believe there is something far worse beneath the surface at Penn State that would cause the PSU BOT to commit such irresponsible acts?

Penn State's "moving forward" campaign originated in December 2011 in a message from Rodney Erickson, but it really picked up steam after the signing of the Consent Decree.  Again, wouldn't the candidates from UpwardState, with their "seasoned judgment," realize that the signing away of appeal rights by PSU was just another means of demoralizing the PSU community in an attempt to discourage any real investigation of PSU. Erickson stated he signed the Consent Decree to avoid an NCAA investigation.

Isn't UpwardState the least bit curious about why Erickson would be concerned about an NCAA investigation?   What does Erickson fear the NCAA might find that could do more damage than the BOT already inflicted on PSU?  Who is Erickson protecting?

What Rod Erickson and the BOT fear is really not the NCAA, but the chain reaction of events and other investigations that would spin off if the NCAA found the "skeletons in PSU's closet."  Those skeletons would require a campus visit by the Internal Revenue Service and the exposure of what was lurking beneath the surface.

It all ties back to the conflict of interest policy that the PSU BOT has been dragging their feet on for two years.

Upward State has it all wrong.  They are wrong about the PSU brand and wrong about the future of the University.

The University cannot move to the future without the truth nor can it move forward if it retains the policies that compromise ethical governance.


  1. Ray, please, please, please submit this to the CDT and/or other newspapers/publications as an op-ed piece. This is one of your best pieces, and everything you write is outstanding.

  2. Tell a lie, tell it big, and tell it often - Herman Goebbels, Hitler’s Propaganda Minister. Never has this been more true at Penn State. The truth found the lies then and the truth will find the lies now. Move on.....not yet...

  3. it's actually Josef Goebbels (Paul Joseph to be exact)** a history teacher, just a little correction! No harm!