The First Of Many To Come: A Member of the Penn State Board of Trustees Resigns

It had to happen, and it only took a week in the wake of the release of the Freeh Report.  From Yahoo Sports:

A member and former chairman of the Penn State board of trustees has resigned, saying his presence on the board had become ”a distraction and an impediment” to the university’s efforts to move forward following the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

Steve Garban’s resignation Thursday night made him the first board member to leave since the crisis engulfed Penn State.

Frankly, they all need to go.  If you’ve read the Freeh Report, you know there is a detailed chapter on the culture of Penn State which allowed the Jerry Sandusky situation to happen.  The only way you change a culture is to changes it’s leadership.

Garban, who had stepped down as board chairman after Sandusky’s November arrest but had remained a board member, was harshly criticized over his handling of the Sandusky case.  Fellow board members and alumni had called for him to resign.

I love the calls from the fellow board member. Like I said, they all need to go. Today.

The bottom line of the Freeh Report is as follows:

An internal investigation by former FBI Director Louis Freeh found that Garban was briefed twice about developments in the Sandusky case but didn’t share what he knew with the entire board, depriving trustees of a chance to prepare for the worst crisis in Penn State’s 157-year history.

Freeh’s 267-page report portrayed a disengaged board that handed too much responsibility to the university president and failed to investigate deeply enough once it became aware of a grand jury probe.

After the report’s release, trustees accepted responsibility for a failure of oversight and said they were ”deeply ashamed.” Board Chairwoman Karen Peetz, who announced Garban’s resignation in a letter on the board’s website, said at the time that no trustee would step down, however.

That last paragraph shows the problem. The trustees “accept the responsibility,” yet are not resigning en masse.

Here’s Garban’s role in the scandal.

In April 2011, the report said, Spanier told Garban about a grand jury investigation of Sandusky. Garban, in turn, failed to alert fellow board members. Garban told investigators that Spanier downplayed the Sandusky probe, and he recalled his former boss saying, ”It was the third or fourth grand jury and nothing would come of it,” the report said.

Then, on Oct. 28, Garban learned from Penn State’s chief lawyer that two university administrators were about to be charged with failing to report suspected child abuse. Garban told investigators he was ”astounded” when he saw Sandusky in the Nittany Lion Club at Penn State’s home game against Illinois on Oct. 29. Yet he informed only two other trustees – James Broadhurst and John Surma – that charges against Sandusky, Athletic Director Tim Curley and Vice President Gary Schultz were imminent.

Former general counsel Cynthia Baldwin told Freeh’s investigators that she thought Garban, as ”conduit to the board,” would have alerted his colleagues about the Sandusky investigation. Garban told trustees he kept it from them because he was not sure that criminal charges would come to pass, according to the Freeh report.

That’s pretty damning stuff, but there’s so much blame to go around in this situation it literally boggles the mind. In the next few days, the Dubsism Report on the Freeh Report and The Post-Mortem on the Penn State Scandal will be released. The Dubsism Report will not only put the findings of the Freeh Report in proper perspective, it will offer some information crucial to the situation which was not covered in the Freeh Report. More importantly, the Dubsism Report will cut through the media bluster surrounding this situation to hit three main points.

  • How this really happened:  Lots of material in the Freeh Report is being ignored by the media, and some people who have huge culpability in this matter are are “getting off easy.”
  • Who is ultimately responsible:  It’s easy to see how this traveled in the Penn State community, but does some blame travel beyond State College?
  • What has to happen to ensure this never happens again: Ultimately, nothing else matters beyond this.  There are some hard lessons in this situation which need to be learned by every single one of us.  If we do not learn from this so we can better protect our children, we become meaningless as a society.

Before you get wrapped up in pointless debates about statues and legacies, you will want to read the Dubsism Report on the Freeh Report and The Post-Mortem on the Penn State Scandal which will be published early next week.  It may very well change your opinion of this entire matter; it will certainly change your perspective.

Stay tuned for further details.

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4 responses

  1. Remember that scene near the end of “Shawshank Redemption,” after Andy Dufresne had sent all that money-laundering information to the authorities and the cops barge in to arrest the warden.

    The warden pulls the gun out of his desk, puts it in his mouth and pulls the trigger.

    Yeah, that’s what I’m picturing right now at Penn State.

    So, statue, stays or goes?

    1. You are likely not too far off in your assessment.

      I’m reserving commentary until the Dubsism Report is released early next week. Frankly, I couldn’t think of anything more pointless than a debate over a fucking statue, although the Dubsism Report will address that issue as well.

      1. The statue debate IS pointless. The most important thing I grabbed from this was a key phrase:

        ”It was the third or fourth grand jury and nothing would come of it,” the report said.

        That’s a fancy way of saying “This would usually be a huge fucking red flag, but since we’ve been getting away with it for this long, not so much.”

        I am interested to read the Dubsism Report, mainly for the last reason: How can we stop this from happening again? Is it going on elsewhere? Although we’d like to all believe that Sandusky is a rogue violator, I think we all know that can’t possibly be the case. Mathematically, there’s way too many guys between the age of 40 and 60 that are fucked in the head to assume that it was only going on at PSU.

        Oh, and one more thing, the Paterno family releasing a statement saying that they weren’t consulted was completely unnecessary.

        Meehan

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