Alumni group’s membership explodes, but can it lead?

Published July 30, 2012
ps4rs shrine

After Penn State leaders agreed to a fierce beating from the NCAA last week, alumni, angered by the sanctions’ depth, looked for somebody – anybody – to stop the State College train that keeps wrecking itself.

For many, their search ended at Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship, the grass-roots, Facebook-centered group whose membership rose by 50% after the Freeh report was released. Its online membership now stands at 7,600, up from about 5,000 two weeks ago.

When it formed last year, PS4RS capitalized on alumni anger over Joe Paterno’s firing. The group moved to to elect anyone to the Board of Trustees other than those who were on the board in November. It also spent the last nine months demanding that trustees apologize for firing Joe, a much tougher endeavor in the wake of the Freeh report.

My disagreements with PS4RS haven’t been a secret. Its most vocal members have lobbed some vile comments my way and embarrassed their group and all alumni in the process. And its “vote the bums out” platform lacks any sort of worthwhile change that could have helped Penn State move in the right direction.

Despite its shallow goals, PS4RS continues to swell its ranks, as well as the power it wields. The group will undoubtedly play a key role in next year’s trustee election, and might even decide its outcome.

But with power comes responsibility. And with its demands for apologies and a dearth of ideas for change, PS4Rs hasn’t served the alumni well.

Will its leaders abandon their platform of anger and retaliation to demand real improvements in the way trustees conduct themselves? Time will tell.

  • John Klice

    I like Ryan Bagwell’s idealism. I never attended Penn State, but will speak for many who served in the armed forces of the U.S.A. during the Vietnam Era…Joe Pa was an inspiration, of virtue for over forty years…Right or wrong you have to have loyalty to the best possible leader of integrity, honor, virtue, and courage… I think I know why Joe Pa stayed silent… It was God’s will. If ever there was a mountain of a man who would take on the sins of the entire NCAA and everyone they “touch”, then it would be Joe Pa. They crucified him and all he said”in effect” was “It is finished” “Forgive them children of Penn State and America, for they know not what they do. They have raised the whores of vice; of lust, wrath,  anger, envy, sloth, gluttony, and greed, above the virtues of chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness, humility…” 

     the-lost-forrester-gump-“a”yahoo” from Gulliver’s Travels…A K-Pax, Rainman, Powder,

    friend of Rocky Bleier, though he’s never met little john rambo, the ethereal enigma conscientious objector, who had to go, and do his duty, right or wrong…”All we want, is what every veteran wants, we want our country to love us, (and Joe Pa), as much as we love it…” The love of virtue over vice…