More questions from alumni

Published January 4, 2012

Some Facebook members had some comments about my stance on Joe’s treatment. Here’s what they had to say:

Sharon Goldberg Overkamp wrote:

“Will NOT vote for Ryan. He seems to be just as unfair on the Paterno firing as the existing board. Paterno was fired without cause and due process. It seems Ryan’s stand is identical to the existing BOT: fire first, seek evidence later.”

And another Facebook user, who asked that I remove her name, backed Sharon up:

‎”I agree about what I read regarding Mr. bagwell. He does not take a firm stance that the firing of Joe was flat out wrong and unjust. He will not receive my support either.”

I haven’t focused on the board’s firing of Joe, because, to me, it’s a done deal, no matter how wrong it was. Instead, I’ve been focusing on proposals to bring leadership, integrity and transparency to a board that is in great need of all three. That’s why on Monday I proposed my open records plan. More proposals will be forthcoming.

But just because I won’t promise to stand behind Joe at all costs doesn’t mean I support the board’s treatment of him in any way. I am as outraged as you are at his firing. How could such an educated, prestigious group of people give him the boot without asking him what he knew and did? The facts known at the time didn’t support his firing, and I wouldn’t have voted to do it.

But that was then, and, tragically, this is now. It’s simply prudent to wait for the facts to come out, not make a premature judgement in either side’s favor. After all, Joe’s mantra is “succes with honor,” not “success at any cost.”

As I wrote in my application to Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship, I need to know the facts before making a decision, and let’s be honest – none of us know them yet. But barring Joe Paterno being charged with child molestation himself, his legacy should be honored in some way, and I promise to work toward that end if I’m elected to the board.

The horrible reality we’re faced with is that Joe is no longer the coach, a respected president is gone and the entire Penn State family has been put through the ringer by the national media. But moving forward, we need strong leaders with new ideas who are capable of picking up the pieces and restoring honor to Penn State.

I promise to do exactly that, and I can’t do it without your help.