Answering some questions from PSU alumni

Published January 1, 2012

I just noticed some of the comments posted on newspaper stories about my candidacy. So let me try to answer them here:

Centre Daily Times reader Bill_Levinson made this comment, as well as on other web sites:

“Ryan would have to commit to putting forward a motion for the Board to hand-deliver an apology to Coach Paterno … before I could consider supporting him or any other candidate.”

Unfortunately, Bill, I can’t commit to doing that at this time. But I haven’t made a judgement on Paterno’s actions, because I want to hear what he has to say. I wanted his press conference to go on as planned. He was the only person willing answer questions at that time, and should have been commended for doing so. To my dismay, the board cancelled it at the last minute, which only fanned the flames of secrecy. But when we hear what Joe did and why he did it, I’ll be happy to make a determination at that time, and figure out how best to honor his legacy.

Centre Daily Times reader ExPAVIC posed a number of questions:

“What do you think of the current Board of Trustees’ actions so far?; What is your take on the way AD Joyner, Suhey and others threw JoePA under the bus (joynered him)? “

The board was slow to react to the crisis. It didn’t truly understand what it was facing, and none of its members knew how to respond. As a result, it let the national media bully it into making a premature decision based on a hyperbolic grand jury report that we now know isn’t as accurate as it seems. The board should have asked Joe what he knew about the Sandusky matter, or allow him to speak at his press conference. It should not have fired him based on the facts known at the time.

What do you think about the prevailing elitist, egoistic, and sanctimonious attitude of the current Board in the past, the present, and possibly the future if changes aren’t made?

The board’s silence throughout the crisis branded it as complicit in the alleged cover-up. As such, nobody trusts the Penn State leadership. If changes aren’t made, we’ll never begin the long, hard slog to restoring  honor to Penn State.

In particular, Chairman Steve Garban showed absolutely no leadership. As a result, he should resign, because many of us have absolutely no confidence in his ability to lead this restoration.

Do you think that the Boards’ 19th century beliefs, values, and points of view will serve Penn State University adequately in the 21st century?

I’m not sure what you mean by “19th century beliefs,” but if you wouldn’t mind elaborating, I’ll try to respond.

What would you tell Terry Pegula to do with his $88 million in hockey program money in light of the Boards’ current mishandling of the Sandusky scandle? You are aware of the fact that the Board oversees all University expenditures.

I’d tell him that change is coming, and fresh faces and new perspectives will bring better leadership to the Board of Trustees. He can continue to have confidence in Penn State.

What would you tell Nike if they decided to pull their advertising from Penn State University?

I’d tell Nike that we’re working hard to fix what went wrong, and we should try revisit our relationship in a few months. In the meantime, I’m sure we’d find other companies to fill Nike’s shoes.

Centre Daily Times reader Fly added another question.

Since you believe that PSU is/should be “private” is it required to follow OSHA and subjected to their regulations and penalties? How about their tax exemptions for various enterprises? What about “The Village”?

Correct me if I’m wrong, but federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations apply to both public and private entities, so whether I think they should apply or not is irrelevant. I’m not running for U.S. President.

Regarding tax exemptions, I’m not entirely familiar with the issue you raised, but Penn State is a registered nonprofit corporation, and should be permitted to enjoy all benefits that come with such a designation.

Centre Daily Times reader gershon64 made this comment:

None of the current board should be reelected. Unfortunately, this press release is filled with weasel words. We need people who aren’t afraid to speak up for what is right. Firing Joe was cowardly and counter-productive. A candidate who wants my vote needs to say that unequivocally.

I agree his firing did absolutely no good. It didn’t help the victims, who criticized the decision in its aftermath. It angered alumni, who were among the few across the country who actually knew the facts, or lack thereof. It only served to appease the vicious pundits who thought they knew the facts, but in truth knew nothing. The board should have stood up to the media, demanded patience and initiated a full investigation immediately. Instead, it chose silence over leadership, was slow to react and let the national media bully it into making a decision that did more harm than good.