Friday, May 22

Erickson's Notebook Reveals Evidence of Deceptions, Possible Crimes

PSU's recent filing denying alumni trustees access to Freeh's source materials falsely argues that the University is protecting employee confidentiality.  The reality is that they are hiding evidence of possible crimes. 


Ray Blehar

Today, I am making a partial release of evidence I received in October 2012.  The release is in response to the PSU administration's continued stonewalling in providing access to the Freeh Source Materials -- that will help us get to the truth of the Sandusky matter.

Today, we take another step toward the truth.

The evidence released today reveals:

-- The administration knew Freeh lied about his independent discovery of the email evidence; 

-- The NCAA got at least one substantive update on the progress of the ongoing investigation at PSU; and, 

-- The administration planned to submit false personal injury claims to the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Insurance Company (PMA) in an effort to get reimbursed for the settlement costs of the John Doe A lawsuit and, if successful, likely future lawsuit settlements.

The Evidence

The information that follows is from a copy of the personal notebook of former Penn State President Rodney Erickson.  Two independent sources confirmed that the handwriting belongs to Erickson.

Analysis of the contents reveals that Erickson was receiving an update on the progress of the pending investigations and actions related to the Sandusky scandal.  It also appears that the notes capture the impressions of the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General (OAG), thus there is an inherent bias to assume guilt on the part of PSU employees and officials and an inherent bias in the OAG's judgments of the reliability of the evidence.  I will make those distinctions clear in my presentations, where applicable. 

To maintain the confidentiality of the employees involved, I have (properly) redacted all of the information that could compromise their identities.  

Possible Conspiracy, Obstruction of Justice, Forgery

Page B-1 of the notebook.

Line 1 of the page below confirms the date of the note as January 31 (2012).

Line 2 shows that Erickson is to obtain copies of notes from Tim Curley and Gary Schultz.  This is significant because there has never been a mention of notes belonging to former Athletic Director Curley.  The mention of notes from Schultz is also an issue because those notes were allegedly not turned over to the OAG until April 2012.  

The "discovery" of the Schultz notes by the Freeh team allegedly occurred in May 2012.  Yet the Conspiracy of Silence presentment  identified April 2012 (see page 20) as the date on which the Schultz file was turned over.  Additionally, Kimberly Belcher testified that she turned over the Schultz files in April 2012 (to the OAG).  Belcher also testified that Gary Schultz turned over copies of the files (to the OAG) one day earlier.    Therefore, there is agreement between the prosecutors and one of their witnesses that Freeh lied about his discovery of the Schultz file (all references to the Schultz file in the Freeh Report are dated 5-1-12).  

Lines 3, 4, and 5 indicate that Ira Lubert, Stephanie Deviney, and Keith Eckel may have served as a special liaison group for the OAG investigation.  More about the possible roles of each member in a future post.

Lines 8 through 15 discuss the OAG's evidence and impressions regarding Penn State's failure to cooperate during the investigation.  

Lines 10 and 11 make reference to PSU taking 18 months to supply records that were subpoenaed on January 7, 2010.  Counting forward 18 months puts the date of receipt by the OAG as 7 July 2011, which is the exact date the Moulton Report (page 158) confirmed for the "Penn State emails" being turned over to the Pennsylvania State Police.  Obviously, the Penn State Office of General Counsel (OGC) knew when it turned over the email evidence, thus at a minimum, the OGC knew Freeh lied about his independent discovery of the email evidence at his grandstanding press conference on July 12, 2012.  

The following quote is a reference to Freeh Report Exhibit 5G and the email evidence (my emphasis added):

"In critical written correspondence that we uncovered on March 20th of this year, we see evidence of their proposed plan of action in February 2001 that included reporting allegations about Sandusky to the authorities. After Mr. Curley consulted with Mr. Paterno, however, they changed the plan and decided not to make a report to the authorities."

However, there are broader legal implications.

False Charges.  Former President Graham Spanier  was charged with obstruction of justice for failure to comply with Subpoena 1179 that requested his emails and documents.  The above information indicates that key documents and emails were turned over while Spanier was President, and not delayed until March/April 2012, as falsely claimed by former AG Linda Kelly (on page 32 of the Conspiracy of Silence presentment).  

At the July 29, 2013 preliminary hearing, Penn State IT forensics team expert, John Corro testified that he was not contacted to retrieve information from the December 2010 subpoena (#1179) until March or April of 2011.  After being instructed to gather the requested information, he turned over three USB drives containing the emails to Baldwin in April 2011 (see page 91).  Moreover, at the grand jury hearing of Graham Spanier, Baldwin promised to turn over the requested emails by April 15, 2011.  It is quite apparent that Penn State's OGC was behind the delay in turning over email, not Spanier. (Possible Obstruction of Justice,  Conspiracy)

Schultz was also charged with obstruction of justice for his failure to turn over his notes.  However, the notebook appears to show Schultz's notes already in the University's possession in January 2012.   If this is indeed the case, then it is likely the infamous "secret file" of Schultz was procured shortly after he informed Baldwin of its existence on January 5, 2011. Copies were made and likely provided to the AG, while the originals were returned to the drawer.  (Possible Conspiracy)

Forgery. Considering the emails were turned over in July 2011, it defies explanation that Spanier was not charged with failure to report child abuse in November 2011.  Freeh Report Exhibit 5G includes an email purported to be written by Spanier on 27 February 2001. In that email, Spanier allegedly wrote that PSU could be "vulnerable for not reporting" the incident.  Also note that the Sandusky Grand Jury Presentment (page 12) referenced the responsibility of the head of a school to report suspected child abuse, but remarkably didn't charge Spanier at that time.   

So what is going on?

According to the forensics experts I consulted, the February 27, 2001 email was universally deemed to be suspicious.  Further research revealed an error that would cause html tags to appear in the text of the email would be caused by converting a Eudora email file to Outlook.  This is exactly what would have occurred if someone downloaded and edited the file, due to PSU's system switch from Eudora to Outlook.   Based on those facts, along with numerous reports of varying dates by witnesses to the turnover of the email and recent reports of Freeh's past history of manipulating evidence (e.g., BP and FBI),  there are substantial reasons to suspect evidence tampering. (Possible Forgery)

Exhibit 5G is shown below with the html tag " " (tag = non-breaking space) circled between each sentence where a double space separates them.  Note that it consistently appears in the text of Schultz and Spanier (at the top), who both use the traditional method of typing a double space after a period.  Conversely, Curley types in an alternative method of using a single space.  It is notable that there is only one html tag in the spaces between the sentences typed by Curley, which is caused by typing an extra space.  Other email samples obtained that were written by Curley demonstrated he single spaced after a period.  So in just this one instance, Curley used a double space? It just so happens the html tag appears after the only reference in the document about Joe Paterno.  This suggests that the line about Paterno was inserted into the document.  See below:

The OAG forensics expert, Braden Cook, offered no legitimate explanation for the presence of the html tags during his testimony (page 81) on July 30, 2013.  Cook simply said "that is formatting put in there from a web page."  Neither Cook nor any other expert witness brought forward by the Commonwealth testified as to the date the emails were turned over to prosecutors.  And of course, no one who testified made any mention of Louis Freeh's alleged role in discovering the documents.  

Anyone want to venture a guess on what Freeh's role was with regard to emails?  Hint: His computers were not connected to the University's network, thus his "work" was not traceable.

A review of the original email files (i.e., the electronic source data used by Freeh) would prove or disprove evidence tampering.  I suspect this is one of the key issues behind the Board's desperation to keep the source material hidden. (Possible Conspiracy) 

NCAA Received a Substantive Update On The Investigation

The Corman v. NCAA lawsuit revealed that the PSU BOT gave the Big Ten Conference and the NCAA permission to take part in Freeh's investigation. Although Penn State permitted their participation, officials from the NCAA and Penn State denied that any substantive updates were provided during the investigation.  

Pages B-13 and B-14 reveal that those statements were false.  

Line 5 alleges that an assistant coach gave permission for stuff (Line 15) to be given to recruits (Line 11).  Line 16 alleges that they were given a slap on the wrist for that activity. The allegations reveal a minor NCAA violation of giving impermissible benefits to recruits. The NCAA's typical punishment for minor violations is colloquially referred to as a "slap on the wrist."

Lines 17 and 19 report that Mike McQueary had a gambling problem and/or gambling debts. This information was revealed to the public in The Whistleblower's Last Stand, by ESPN's Don Van Natta (March 3, 2014).  McQueary bet on college and NFL games as a player, which would have been a major violation if discovered back then.  However, in 2011, the violation was outside the statute of limitations for enforcement.  (Note: All of the Sandusky abuse incidents on campus were outside the statute of limitations as well, so that says quite a bit about the "expertise" Gene Marsh brought to the table).  

Page B-13, lines 23 and 24 and Page B-14, lines 1 and 2, state that former athletic director Tim Curley and another PSU official were "fastidious on rules violations e.g. giving donations."

B-14, line 5 appears to be the NCAA response to the update, which was it was "waiting for (the) Freeh Report."

B-14 lines 7 through 10 refer to the AG continuing its investigation at Penn State.

B-14, line 13 refers to a teleconference scheduled for 5:30 PM

The remainder of the page is not relevant to the NCAA investigation.

Analysis and Implications

The note reveals that the NCAA and Penn State learned of violations that were found during the AG's investigation, but nothing that would be actionable to levy serious punishment.  However, the parties also learned that AD Curley and his staff were very fastidious about rules.  

As I reported in An Act of Bad Faith, 22 January 2015, the Freeh investigation had finished its review of the football program in January as well (based on the end notes of the Freeh Report).  Thus this was likely the last investigation based report about the athletic department and the football program.  Any other information used by Freeh to condemn the athletic "culture" was garnered from trustees (interviewed in April) and former PSU employees, like Vicky Triponey (interviewed in March).  After the investigations and interviews, Freeh and the NCAA didn't have anything tangible on Paterno and PSU Athletics -- and Old Main was certainly aware of it.

The deceptive methods of the BOT power bloc are on display in this July 20, 2012 email.  Erickson, who knows that investigations by the OAG and Freeh (which examined police records related to the Clery Act) surfaced nothing substantial, but then goes on to "bluff" Guadagnino and Dunham into thinking there would be risk in the traditional Committee On Infractions (COI) investigation process.

Contrary to media reports, the evidence in this case is not of an NCAA cram down, but of Old Main "selling the University down the river," as stated by former NCAA official Ameen Najjar.  After Najjar's statement, the alumni watchdog group, Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship (PS4RS) demanded a release of the documents related to the eventual NCAA Consent Decree.  

PS4RS stated:

“Should we ultimately find that Penn State was complicit in the imposition of the sanctions, or that President Erickson misrepresented the events that led to the execution of the consent decree, then it is reasonable to conclude that the (b)oard of (t)rustees and administration have been dishonest with the Penn State community and have failed wholly and completely in their fiduciary responsibility to the (u)niversity,” 

Pages B-13 and B-14 provide evidence of misrepresentation of the facts by Erickson and complicity with the NCAA in avoiding an investigation which would have eventually found no grounds to punish Penn State's athletic department.

But the misrepresentation of facts by the Penn State Board of Trustees started well before any decisions were made about the NCAA Consent Decree.

Attempted (and Rejected) Insurance Fraud

A rather cryptic set of notes spanning pages B-15 and B-16 appears to capture details from a discussion regarding the PMA's notice that it would not pay coverage for incidents of sexual abuse related to the Sandusky scandal.  

Penn State attempted to file the claims as personal injury claims, and then perhaps, was going to justify the claims by using fraudulent medical billings from the Hershey Medical Center.  

Page B-15, line 17 is noting the name of the law firm, Jenner and Block, who was working on the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association Insurance Company (PMA) lawsuit.

Page B-16, line 1 characterizes PSU's strategy as a "Medical Care Story." (Possible fraud)

Page B-16, line 2 cryptically refers to victim settlements.

Page B-16, Line 4 is somewhat unintelligible, but the reference to Hershey is clear.  The second word might be "language," in a reference to policy language, but that is hardly conclusive.  There is also a reference to "Bill" which may be a name or it may be a reference to medical bills -- again, no certainty in interpreting the handwriting.

As it turned out, PSU followed through on the "medical care story" when it began negotiating the claims related to the John Doe A lawsuit with the PMA in early January.  In Penn State's legal filing, pages 5 and 6 it conveniently substitutes the words "bodily injury" for "abuse" to make its case -- and the only word it quotes from the John Doe A lawsuit is "continuously."   

Penn State alleged that PMA at first agreed to pay the claims, then upon further review, decided differently.  On February 2nd, one day after these notes were taken two emails announced that PMA filed for a declaratory judgment to limit its liability in the Penn State case.  It essentially agreed to pay claims related to negligence of University officials, but not the abuse claims.

There is much back and forth over which policy was in effect when, but the bottom line is that no policy issued after 1992 contained coverage for abuse and/or molestation.  One has to wonder if PMA didn't do PSU a favor by filing for a declaratory judgment and sparing the University the trouble of creating bogus medical treatment bills at Hershey.  

Please recall that in the immediate aftermath of the Sandusky charges, Penn State pledged to provide assistance to the victims in Erickson's Five Point Promise.  In March 2012, it officially announced free counseling services for child abuse victims of Sandusky, which was offered via a contract through Praesidium -- a Texas counseling firm.

How did Penn State end up using Praesidium?  That I do not know, but it seems like an unusual coincidence that one of the key staff members of that firm is named Matthew Dunham?

Undoubtedly, the network of concerned Penn State alumni will be checking for possible connections to current PSU Counsel Steven Dunham because that is the scrutiny that the Board has brought upon itself by continuously stonewalling its alumni and the alumni elected trustees.


The evidence released today indicates that high ranking members of the Penn State University administration were engaged in dishonest practices well before the announcement of the Sandusky charges and they continued their deceptions up to the signing of the NCAA Consent Decree.

Not only did the administration deceive its alumni and the public, but it went as far as to deceive other members of the board of trustees, members of the PSU OGC, and even legal experts (i.e., Gene Marsh) that it hired to "assist" with the scandal. 

Some of the evidence that was revealed today helps to explain why Barron and his cohorts will likely fight to the bitter end to keep the alumni trustees from accessing the Freeh Source Materials -- the scandal "behind" the phony football scandal is far worse.

Today's blog serves notice to the administration that they may be able to keep people away from a law office in Philadelphia, but that office isn't the only place that the truth about the scandal can be found.

The truth is out there -- and people are finding it.

Wednesday, May 20

PSU's Confidentiality Promise Already Broken

PSU's recent filing denying alumni trustees access to Freeh's source materials falsely argues that Freeh went to great lengths to protect employee confidentiality - but analysis proves otherwise.

Ray Blehar

PSU's latest court filing attempts to justify denying the alumni-elected trustees access to the Freeh investigation source materials by arguing that if the alumni trustees have unfettered access to the documents, then the confidentiality of individuals will be compromised.

Then, in typical Old Main fashion, the filing goes on to make the absurd assertion (p. 7)  that the Freeh Report maintained the confidentiality of those interviewed during the (phony) investigation.

"Consistent with the promise to the interviewees, the Freeh Law firm went to great lengths in the Freeh Report to maintain the confidentiality and anonymity of the interviewees."


Confidentiality Promise Already Broken

The University's confidentiality promise to interviewees didn't last any longer than it took to post the Freeh Report to the internet. 

Anyone with a knowledge of the University and the Sandusky case can read the Freeh Report text, end note number, and dates of interviews and easily determine the identities of the following individuals:

Cynthia Baldwin:                         Interviewed on 1-4-12, 2-28-12, and other dates  
Kimberly Belcher:                       Interviewed on 1-12-12 and 4-12-12
Ronald Schreffler (retired):        Interviewed on 1-4-12 and 2-28-12  
Steven Shelow:                           Interviewed on  2-1-12
Steve Garban (trustee):             Interviewed on 2-20-12 
Rodney Erickson (retired):        Interviewed on  4-12-12
Ted Junker (emeritus trustee):  Interviewed on  4-23-12
Ronald Petrosky:                        Interviewed on 7-2-12 
Graham Spanier:                        Interviewed on: 7-6-12

If you read the actual footnotes, it is obvious that former Dean of Student Affairs, Vicky Triponey, and PSU football equipment managers Kirk Diehl, and Brad Caldwell  were also interviewed.  

There are other non-University employees who can be identified as well, but for the purposes of this blog, I'll stick to just employees and former employees. 

Use of the Flawed Freeh Report

The Freeh Report was advertised as the outcome of "an independent, full and complete investigation" of the alleged failures to report the abuse by Jerry Sandusky and the circumstances that gave rise to the abuse on the PSU campus.   The Freeh Report press conference dealt a devastating blow to Penn State -- so much that few even bothered to read the report.

The attorneys for the Sandusky scandal claimants certainly were among those who did, however.

Each of the filings of claimants D.F.Victim 6, and Victim 9 relied heavily on the conclusions of the Freeh Report -- which trustee Ken Frazier said were "not as clear and irrefutable as some people think they are."

Barron's recent statement that the Freeh Report has no bearing on future decisions is complete nonsense. Other pending lawsuits depend on the Freeh Report's findings and conclusions.

Those who carefully reviewed the report concluded that Freeh cherry-picked evidence to arrive at a pre-determined conclusion that was aligned with the PA OAG's prosecution and to support the BOT's removal of Spanier and Paterno.  

In the years following the report's release, evidence surfaced that proved Freeh lied about his "independent discovery" of the emails (see Moulton Report, page 158), his team's discovery of the Schultz secret file, and that he purposely withheld evidence from the report indicating state and county child protective services ignored the psychology report of Dr. Alycia Chambers (in 1998).   

Despite these facts coming to light, the PSU BOT made no attempt to correct the record nor did they retract their July 12th, 2012 acceptance of the Freeh Report.  Even though doing so would have made it possible to avoid paying out millions of dollars in claims and fines. 

Instead, former President Erickson, President Barron, and Board Chair Keith Masser have doubled down on the statement that Penn State accepted the report for "the limited purposes of the NCAA Consent Decree" -- which was signed eleven days after the report was accepted.  

There are two conclusions that can be drawn from the "accepted for the limited purposes" statement:  
1) The Board's inner circle and the NCAA had a draft consent decree in the works on July 12th; or,
2) the statement is a baldfaced lie.  

Documents from the Corman v. NCAA lawsuit overwhelmingly support "baldfaced lie."

More False Statements

The recent filing also makes a variety of statements that are flatly false and/or unsupported by evidence. For example:

1. It states the Board approved the proposal not to "re-examine" the Freeh Report, however there cannot be a re-examination because an examination had never been conducted. Trustee Lord's proposal, had it been successful, would have resulted in the initial examination of the Freeh Report by the Board.

Freeh Report Acceptance on July 12, 2012
2. It states (on page 8) that the Board has never relied on the Freeh Report to make decisions or make judgments about individuals, but that statement is rebutted by the video evidence of BOT member Ken Frazier defaming PSU officials based on the report's conclusions.

3. It states (on page 13) that it voted against "re-investigating" the Freeh Report, even though no such proposal was ever made. See #1.

4. It states the alumni trustees are seeking access to the Source Materials and to conduct an evaluation to support their own ends, but the filing provides no evidentiary support citing what those ends were.  Ironically, the report cites statements from the alumni trustees that clearly state the benefits to be gained by the University of such a review -- notably, increased transparency.

5. It states there are no pending or future matters that require access and/or review of the Freeh Report Source Materials.  This is patently false because PSU's financial statements are clear on the fact that the University is unable to predict the outcome of pending litigation or the ultimate legal and financial liabilities.  As noted earlier, nearly every lawsuit against the University relied on the conclusions drawn in the Freeh Report. 

The assertion by Barron and others that the Freeh Report doesn't impact the University's business or mission of educating students is defied every time there has been a tuition increase because of shortfalls in the University budget.  Undoubtedly, monies being spent related to the Freeh Report would have lessened tuition increases, or in the case of 2013, completely offset them.

I am sure the attorneys for the alumni trustees will have a field day with Old Main's lame filing. But court battles to get to the truth take time and the University continues to construct impediments or throw money at individuals to make them go away.   

Barron and his cohorts must know that their plan to get us to move forward failed.  They also must know that their plan to wait us out and hope we go away is also futile.  Now they are just stringing out the time until the lid is blown off...but that time will be here quicker than they think.

The truth cometh and that right soon.

Friday, May 8

PS4RS Message on 2015 Trustee Elections: Penn Staters Are Engaged, United


May 8, 2015 ---- The membership of Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship congratulates Anthony Lubrano, Ryan McCombie and Robert Tribeck on being elected by the university's alumni to serve as Penn State trustees. PS4RS endorsed all three alumni-elected trustees, who will serve three-year terms that begin on July 1, 2015.

“This is the fourth year in a row that alumni have voted in record numbers, which demonstrates the strong alumni interest in participating in Penn State governance,” said PS4RS spokeswoman Maribeth Roman Schmidt. “This is a remarkable turnout, especially in light of the university's lack of effort to notify alumni about the election and the obstacles encountered by alumni who sought to obtain ballots. This election sends a clear message that alumni voters are more engaged, committed, and united than ever before. We are unified in our support of the efforts being made by the alumni-elected trustees to move toward greater transparency at Penn State.”

Schmidt also highlighted the strengths that Tribeck, a new trustee, will bring to the board as he takes as seat alongside the eight other alumni-elected trustees, all of whom were also endorsed by the organization. “Rob is extremely knowledgeable, principled and tenacious,” Schmidt said. “We are confident that he will be fully engaged from day one. Rob is perfectly positioned to provide a legal perspective in our fight for the repudiation of the board's ill-conceived Freeh Report, which has caused extensive financial and reputational damage to the university. In fact, Rob was the principle architect of the PS4RS Freeh Report Analysis, the first review that detailed the flaws of Louis Freeh’s $8+ million ‘independent investigation,’ which is now under intense scrutiny.

“Since the alumni community is such a large, engaged and important stakeholder category for the university, President Barron's recent comments directed at the alumni-elected trustees are particularly worrisome,” continued Schmidt. “While we agree with Dr. Barron that there are many positive Penn State stories to be told, we do not agree that pushing aside important issues of transparency at this critical juncture in Penn State’s history is helpful to anyone – especially when that transparency was promised by the chairman of the board in the wake of the Sandusky allegations. We will not allow our university to continue to be governed behind a veil of secrecy. We will not allow a small cabal of trustees to put their personal interests above the University's. And we not will allow our alumni-elected trustees to be treated as second-class citizens on the board. Indeed, it is the alumni trustees who are seeking to perform the very same oversight duties that Freeh ironically chastised trustees Masser, Dambly, Silvis, Eckel, Huber, Shaffer, Frazier, and Lubert for failing to perform in 2011 and earlier. We call on Dr. Barron to treat the alumni-elected trustees with the civility and respect they deserve as his superiors in the Penn State governance hierarchy.”

Schmidt added that the 2015 alumni-trustee election sends a clear message, not just to Old Main, but to Harrisburg as well. “Legislators like Senator John Yudichak (D) and more than 30 of his colleagues who have co-sponsored a soon-to-be introduced senate bill to enact governance reform at Penn State recognize the appalling conduct of a board that has operated in secrecy,” she explained. “We look forward to supporting them and other legislators throughout the state who are willing to work for transparent governance at Penn State.”

Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship, with more than 40,000 members nationwide, was formed to promote positive change within the University Board of Trustees, demanding transparent, trustworthy leadership. For further information on PS4RS, please, email, or go to Follow PS4RS on Twitter at @PS4RS.

Thursday, May 7

Barron Escalates PSU's War On Alumni Trustees

PSU President's latest message hypocritically points the finger at alumni trustees for squandering resources and not serving the University's mission. 

Ray Blehar

On Tuesday, PSU President Eric Barron continued to rub salt on the unhealed, gaping wound created by PSU Board of Trustees decision to promote the Sandusky scandal as a Penn State football scandal.  Alumni who hoped that Barron might take a stand against the "unaccountable" trustees and attempt to correct the record got another dose of reality about PSU's latest puppet president.

The reality is that Barron works at the pleasure of the "unaccountable" trustees who are in control the BOT and, therefore, the University.  He will continue to do their bidding --  no matter what the cost to the Penn State.

As for his letter, I can't say I was at all shocked at his decision to go public with his response -- that essentially was another road block to open and transparent governance at PSU. 

First off, why would a University not be transparent about who was nominated to serve on its governance board with MEMBERS of said governance board?  Talk about factionalization (and marginalization)!  Barron's letter essentially states that the alumni trustees don't need to know how the Business and Industry (B & I) trustees are selected in order to effectively perform their fiduciary responsibilities.  

In short, the B & I trustee selection process could be based on how much someone was willing to pay the sitting B & I trustees for a seat on the board -- for all the alumni elected trustees know right now.   Ironically, the idea isn't too far-fetched, considering that this board revised its conflict of interest policy after a devastating scandal  -- replete with allegations of conflicts between Second Mile and Penn State -- and continued to allow conflicts of interest.

Next, the rationale that the information couldn't be shared because of confidentiality concerns is patently false. Just as in their lawsuit regarding the Freeh source documents, the alumni trustees agreed to keep the names out of the public, but would not accept the University's redactions of names and titles because it would not allow for analysis of the credibility of sources.   In the case of the B & I trustees, the alumni trustees assured PSU that they would keep the names confidential.

Barron was lying -- and following in the footsteps of Erickson and the "unaccountable" trustees.

Hypocrisy On Education Mission

One of the issues that probably has the majority of alumni upset is that Barron continues to insult our collective intelligence by making hypocritical statements about the University's focus on the education mission.

Barron was the Board's surrogate for attacking
alumni for their unwillingness to "move forward"
President Barron sure talks a good game, but why in September 2014 did he decide to be the nation's spokesperson for civility?  

In reality, the civility message was nothing more than Barron parroting the position of the "unaccountable" trustees, who have considerable disdain for the alumni who have refused to swallow their lies and "move forward."  

Barron's civility message was seen for what it was and he received considerable blow back from the alumni.  Then Barron tried to walk it back by saying he was commenting on the uncivil discourse across the country and that the University should be able to talk about important issues.

Education mission?  

Just three months later, Barron was again out there working for PSU's "education mission."  In December 2014, he participated in a demonstration with students who were protesting the Ferguson, Missouri case involving the police shooting of Michael Brown.  

Pennsylvania law maker, Jerry Knowles issued a press statement late Friday calling Barron's gesture a slap in the face to law enforcement.  Knowles explained that to him, the hands-up gesture in itself is a continuation of a false narrative from Ferguson that unfairly discredited police.  In March 2015, a Department of Justice investigation  found that reports of Brown in a hands up don't shoot position were not credible.  

After Penn State was severely damaged by a false narrative in the media, Barron should have been acutely aware that he should not take positions based on unproven allegations. But on April 30th, Barron said he would do it again -- continuing to claim that his protest was to support PSU students who felt vulnerable -- and not about the Ferguson case.

Seriously, is President Barron actually capable of telling the truth, let alone advancing PSU's education mission? 

Hypocrisy On Squandering Resources

Barron's statement that the alumni trustees were squandering University resources by asking for their expenses to be reimbursed was laughable.  

Penn State has accumulated nearly $200 million in costs associated for a scandal it could have completely avoided.  Had the power bloc on the Board decided to be on the side of the facts and law, instead of on the side of public opinion, the Sandusky scandal would have never become the PSU scandal.  

Power bloc engineered 11/9/11 removals
& cemented PSU's guilt in eyes of public 
PSU's guilt was assumed when the "Board" ousted Spanier and Paterno.  However, the reality was that the Board didn't do it.  The power bloc, dominated by the B& I trustees, engineered the ouster without a vote of the full board.

In the aftermath of that decision, the power bloc and other "unaccountable" trustees have continuously decided to spend the University's money because of the findings of a now widely discredited report by former FBI Director, Louis Freeh. 

Most reasonable people now agree that the NCAA over-reached when it penalized the University for the criminal acts of a retired football coach.  Of course, those not included among the "reasonable people" just so happen to be  Barron and the "unaccountable" trustees -- who have decided to remain co-defendants with the NCAA in continuing litigation.   

PSU continues to pile up millions of dollars in legal expenses to avoid having to reveal the source documents used in the Freeh Report and to hide its communications with the NCAA and Louis Freeh.  It refuses to disclose how much it will pay the three Sandusky litigants who had won the right to discovery of the aforementioned documents.

Does Barron think the alumni don't see the vast difference between the millions spent to keep the truth hidden and the paltry request to pay the legal fees for a very limited lawsuit over paying legal fees??

Again, the level of disrespect for the intelligence of the alumni is an insult.

Finally, Penn State's administration has continuously maintained that it will not use funds from tuition or from the Pennsylvania government allotment to pay for the costs of the Sandusky scandal.  Erickson stated that much of the costs to cover scandal related expenses would come from PSU's "rainy day" fund.  

PSU spokesperson Lisa Powers elaborated that the "rainy day" fund referred to monies that PSU accumulated from the interest off internal loans to departments within the University.  For example, the University is loaning much of the money to pay the NCAA fines to the Athletic Department, who will pay back the loan (plus interest) over time.  

Obviously, the "rainy day" fund couldn't provide an unlimited amount of money -- and apparently it was running near zero by late 2013.  Tuition was raised (note that money is fungible).

Erickson: Lied about unavoidable costs
After the vote to increase tuition, then-President Rodney Erickson stated (my emphasis added):

“Before considering an increase to tuition and fees, we identified expense reductions of $35.9 million and delayed planned budget increases for the capital improvement plan and deferred maintenance. The unavoidable cost increases that could not be funded by internal budget reductions and reallocations are what constitute this increase” 

Between 2012 and 2013, tuition and fee payments by students rose by approximately $40 million dollars, from $1.508 billion in 2012 to $1.549 billion in 2013.  At this point, most of you have figured out that the $40 million tuition increase could have been paid for by the  $59.7 million that PSU volunteered to pay the Sandusky victims (allegedly from the "rainy day" fund).

And PSU continues to agree to pay for avoidable costs, including those in the "total victory" settlement with the NCAA this fall,  In that "deal," PSU agreed that the Athletic Department would pay the remaining balance of the $60 million in fines and that it would  pay the legal fees for Senator Corman and former Treasurer Rob McCord.  

The Bottom Line

Barron's closing paragraph of his recent letter, as well as an earlier joint statement with Masser,  revealed what may really be going on (my emphasis added):

Second, as President, I am very concerned about your approach to confidentiality and to your fiduciary responsibilities. We have a growing number of failures to abide the Board’s Expectations of Membership, even when the potential for serious financial harm to the University is evident. We have moved into a position of having to repeatedly reconfirm the commitment to confidentiality in order to protect the University from unnecessary harm. I now hear regularly from students, faculty, staff and alumni expressing both concern and fatigue in seeing our own Trustees suing their University. Penn State’s mission is teaching, research and service. Your actions are not serving that mission. It seems to many of us that this is becoming a campaign against Penn State. Please reconsider these unfortunate actions.

Barron appears to be setting the table for Masser and the "unaccountables" to remove the alumni-elected trustees.