Penn State picked Sandusky investigator from Corbett administration’s list

May 21, 2015

Leaders of the Penn State task force that oversaw the university’s Sandusky investigation chose their investigative firm exclusively from a list compiled by the Corbett administration, according to an e-mail released by the education department. Despite offers of help from numerous law firms, trustees Ken Frazier and Ron Tomalis only considered three former prosecutors that … […]

8 Penn Staters to support for alumni council

May 11, 2015

The alumni association’s annual Alumni Council election begins tonight at midnight. More than 30 are on the ballot, but only a handful are worthy of your support. These dedicated Penn Staters have fought for reform for several years. Now they want to transform the alumni association into an organization that represents you instead of the … […]

Education Dept. won’t release 54,000 pages of Penn State, Freeh records

April 23, 2015

The U.S. Department of Education today refused to release thousands of pages of records it received as it investigated allegations that Penn State failed to publicly report criminal activity on its campuses. Citing an “ongoing law enforcement investigation” into the university’s compliance with the Clery Act, the government said it would withhold 54,000 pages of … […]

Frazier: Freeh report’s conclusions aren’t “irrefreutable”

January 29, 2015

The chairman of Penn State’s task force that oversaw Louis Freeh’s investigation last month has doubts that top Penn State officials decided not to report child abuse allegations to protect the reputation of the school’s football program. In a deposition given to lawyers as part of a lawsuit with Pennsylvania last month,  Trustee Ken Frazier … […]

Court orders review of e-mails between Attorney General, Freeh investigators

November 20, 2014

The Commonwealth Court today said it would review a cache of e-mails between the Attorney General’s office and investigators for Louis J. Freeh that the agency claims doesn’t have to release in response to a Right-to-Know Law request. In a 3-0 opinion, the court said an internal review of the records conducted by the OAG’s … […]

Court says e-mails with Freeh may be withheld

October 31, 2014

The Commonwealth Court today ruled that Penn State’s communications with Louis J. Freeh may be withheld due to the attorney-client and attorney-work product privileges. In a unanimous opinion, the judges said the work-product privilege isn’t limited to materials prepared in anticipation of litigation, and that we failed to prove Penn State waived the attorney-client privilege … […]

A big loss for desperate Frank Fina, but no e-mails in sight

September 21, 2014

Frank Fina had a very bad day. On Friday, a grand jury judge denied his request to keep hundreds of sexually explicit e-mails from four newspapers who sought the records under the Right-to-Know Law. Now the decision about whether to release the e-mails resides with Attorney General Kathleen Kane, Fina’s arch nemesis. Fina, a former prosecutor … […]

Corbett administration files second suit to conceal e-mails between Ron Tomalis, Penn State and governor’s aides

September 15, 2014

HARRISBURG, Pa. – The Corbett administration on Friday asked a state appellate court to halt the release of hundreds of pages of e-mails sent between former secretary of education Ron Tomalis, Penn State officials and top aides to the governor. The 644 pages of public records in the hands of the Department of Education were … […]

Evasive Phila. DA forces motion to compel

August 8, 2014

I never thought it would be so hard to figure out if Seth Williams’s office has the records we asked for. Even with the threat of depositions and subpoenas, we still don’t have a clear understanding of where the lies stop and the truth begins. Recall that the Office of Open Records ordered Williams’s office … […]

Corbett administration files suit to stop release of e-mails about Freeh

July 9, 2014

The Corbett administration today asked a state appellate court to conceal a series of messages written by top state attorneys involved in Penn State’s hiring of Louis J. Freeh. Exchanged in the early days of the university’s 2011 Sandusky crisis, the three e-mails discuss suggestions of investigative firms that Corbett’s office wanted the university to … […]

Emails show discussions between Freeh, prosecutors were routine

May 28, 2014

The Pennsylvania Attorney General yesterday refused to release a series of e-mails between state prosecutors and investigators working for Louis J. Freeh. Discussions about investigative reports, seized evidence, and even “timesheets” won’t be disclosed because they’re exempt from access under the Right-to-Know Law,  wrote Senior Executive Deputy Attorney General Linda Dale Hoffa, in a six-page opinion. … […]

Thank you

May 12, 2014

As it turns out, sometimes the third time isn’t the charm. For the second straight year, Penn State alumni elected all three PS4RS-endorsed candidates. My eighth-place finish was respectable. The only candidates who garnered more than my 3,420 votes were supported by influential endorsements, backed by established advocacy groups or helped by their incumbency. I, … […]

E-mail: Corbett aide was warned about possible Sandusky subpoena

May 4, 2014

Former secretary of education Ron Tomalis warned a member of Gov. Tom Corbett’s staff that a subpoena to testify in a Sandusky investigation was on its way, according to a newly released e-mail. The April 25, 2012 note to Jennifer Branstetter, the governor’s director of planning an policy, appears to have been sent after Tomalis … […]

Philly DA: we never looked for the records

May 3, 2014

After nine months of battling the office of Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams over a Right-to-Know Law request, some important information came to light today from the strangest of places – social media. In separate Facebook and Twitter posts, Williams, who has been taking flack from Penn Staters recently, announced that the “reasonable search” for records … […]

E-mail: Freeh investigator hoped prosecutors would win Penn State case

April 27, 2014

Less than a month after Louis J. Freeh began his probe into how Penn State administrators handled reports of child abuse, a senior member of his team hoped state prosecutors would win their case against officials charged with protecting Jerry Sandusky, according to a newly released e-mail. The comment by Freeh investigator Greg Paw was made … […]

“A natural leader who will hit the ground running”

April 19, 2014

The following is a message from well-known columnist Holly Swanson to the Penn State community. Dear Penn Staters, We are fortunate this year to have an exceptionally strong group of candidates running for the open seats on the Penn State Board of Trustees. One candidate, however, stands out to me as a natural leader who … […]

The Patriot-News wants transparency, but not too much

April 16, 2014

A long time ago I was a newspaper reporter, so I have a soft spot in my heart for hard-working journalists. They do a thankless job under the constant threat of layoffs and are rewarded with terrible pay and little chance for advancement. So you’ll rarely hear me lash out at a newspaper for what … […]

Tomorrow, reject the failed policies of the past

April 9, 2014

Ballots in the annual Penn State trustee election will be sent at midnight tonight. It’s a pivotal race that will mark a three-year effort to oust those who presided over the Sandusky scandal. But throwing the incumbent out of office isn’t enough. It’s critical to elect new leaders who’ve demonstrated they have the skill and … […]

Join us for a Sunshine Fund tailgate

April 7, 2014

When: Saturday, April 12, 2014, 8 a.m. ’til close Where: a parking lot to be determined. Join us for a special event to thank supporters of the Sunshine Fund before the 2014 Blue and White Game. Enjoy some snacks and beverages on us. Flip through a binder full of the records we’ve obtained. Be a Sunshine Fund … […]

On Thursday, vote for honesty and experience

April 6, 2014

On Thursday, voting will begin in a pivotal alumni trustee election that will mark the ouster of all alumni-elected trustees who presided over the Sandusky scandal. It will be a proud moment in Penn State’s 159-year history. But throwing them out of office isn’t enough. We need new leaders who’ve demonstrated they have the skill … […]

Frazier, Merck sought Corbett support during probe of Sandusky scandal

March 31, 2014

A Penn State trustee asked Gov. Tom Corbett to support his company while he led the university’s investigation into the Sandusky scandal, newly released e-mails show. The request by Merck CEO Ken Frazier was made during a secret 2012 meeting in Washington, D.C. as the probe by former FBI director Louis J. Freeh entered its … […]

On verge of being hired, Freeh denied ties to Penn State, Second Mile

March 24, 2014

As Penn State was on the verge of hiring Louis J. Freeh to lead its internal probe of the Sandusky scandal, trustee Ken Frazier asked the former FBI director one last question. Even after a personal interview and a week of vetting by university and state officials, Frazier wanted to hear it from Freeh himself: … […]

Disclosure forms from two trustees won’t be made public

March 10, 2014

Last week, a Penn State attorney provided additional details about how it intends to make trustee conflict of interest disclosure forms available to the public. As I suspected, it won’t be as simple as putting them on a web site. The forms “will be available upon written request and during normal business hours,” wrote Penn State … […]

Attorney: Penn State will sort of release trustee disclosure forms

March 6, 2014

Another Penn State trustee has released his conflict of interest disclosure form after the Erickson administration refused to provide it to him for two months. Trustee Ryan McCombie became the second board member to provide a copy of his filing. He didn’t keep a copy himself, and was forced to ask for one from Penn State’s … […]

Some trustees skirt Pa. ethics rules

February 20, 2014

Longtime supporters know that since 2011, I’ve called for new rules that would require trustees to file annual financial disclosure statements. It’s the same thing that Pennsylvania’s Ethics Act requires public officials to do, and it would lead to a more transparent and accountable board. But recently I was surprised to find out that the Ethics … […]

One trustee discloses his disclosure form; most others refuse

February 15, 2014

Recall that in December, when I asked for copies of trustee conflict of interest disclosure forms, the administration refused to hand them over. Instead, it stood by its decision to provide a tidy, sanitized summary, despite the fact that board bylaws say they must be released. So I resorted to an old reporter’s tactic to … […]

“Thank you for caring”

February 14, 2014

A significant number of contributors to the Penn State Sunshine Fund donate by check, and occasionally they enclose a letter with their contribution. I wanted to share this heartfelt letter that arrived in the mail yesterday:     Dear Mr. Bagwell, Thank you for caring. Thank you for your personal sacrifice. Thank you for your … […]

No, I won’t back down

February 2, 2014

Since I announced my campaign for the Board of Trustees last month, one question has repeatedly cropped up: will I be able to continue my pursuit of public records if I’m elected to the board? The answer is, yes, I absolutely will. And nothing will change that. Since 2012, I have sought records in the … […]

You put me on the ballot. For that, I thank you.

January 28, 2014

Today I’m very honored to announce that I’ve secured a position on the 2014 Board of Trustees ballot. The response to my request for nominations was overwhelming. My inbox flooded with people who let me know they sent in my name. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to have so much support. The … […]

Announcing my candidacy for the Board of Trustees

January 14, 2014

More than two years ago, the world tried to destroy the Penn State family. And our own leaders turned their backs on us when we needed them the most. Today Penn State is in a better place, but more work lies ahead. And as the university community marches forward, we have to remain committed to … […]

‘After Further Review’ heads to San Diego

January 4, 2014

Franco Harris’s “After Further Review” program will hit the road next weekend in advance of the NCAA’s annual convention in San Diego, California. I’m honored to be invited to participate. Date: Jan. 11, 2014 Time: 10:30 a.m. Location: Hilton San Diego Bayfront Read the official press release. The event is free and open to the public. I’ll be … […]

Trustees won’t disclose their disclosures

December 27, 2013

It’s a rare to see Penn State’s trustees take any action to improve transparency. So we cheered in August when they adopted a stronger conflict of interest policy, which included the filing of annual disclosures that are supposed to be made public. But last week, they let us down again. Instead of simply releasing the disclosure … […]

PSU told Freeh to give updates to NCAA

December 15, 2013

There’s been a lot of speculation followed by a little evidence that Freeh was in cahoots with the NCAA. The Paternos et. al. have alleged as much in their lawsuit. I wrote about how the Big Ten and NCAA wanted to collaborate with Freeh, and a statement confirming some sort of relationship by a Penn … […]

DA’s office: records request was “zealous attack” against sex abuse prosecution

December 9, 2013

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams’s office spent four months fighting the release of records that it says it doesn’t even have. Now we get to find out why. In July, I asked his office for e-mails and other documents sent to Sandusky prosecutor Frank Fina from former supervising grand jury judge Barry Feudale and a bunch … […]

Corbett struggled to wield influence with Penn State board

December 2, 2013

In late November 2011, Penn State’s trustees faced a leadership crisis as they began to deal with the fallout from the Sandusky scandal. Already weakened by having to delegate his duties in the first few days of the crisis, Chairman Steve Garban was preparing to leave his position as soon as the trustees elected a new chairman … […]

Announcing the Penn State Sunshine Fund

November 11, 2013

On Saturday night I had the honor of participating in a panel discussion about the events of November 2011. It’s hard to believe that two years have passed and we’re still seeking answers about what happened in the wake of the Sandusky scandal. As you may know, I spent the last year fighting for your … […]

State orders Phila. DA to release correspondence with Freeh, others

November 6, 2013

The Pennsylvania Office of Open Records on Monday ordered the Philadelphia District Attorney to turn over correspondence with people involved in the Sandusky investigation. Email and other documents between  former state prosecutor Frank Fina to former supervising judge of the grand jury Barry Feudale,  Louis Freeh and other members Freeh’s team must be released within … […]

NCAA got regular updates from Freeh

November 4, 2013

I’ve previously written about how the NCAA and Big Ten requested to participate in Penn State’s investigation into how it handled allegations of child sexual abuse. However, none of the letters indicated whether their request was granted or not. Yesterday I came across a statement by a university attorney who said Freeh provided regular updates … […]

In sanctions’ wake, three trustees fought, then fell in line

November 2, 2013

When Rodney Erickson accepted the unprecedented sanctions that were forced by the NCAA last year, it’s well known that Joel Myers criticized what he said was an unauthorized signing of the consent decree. But behind the scenes, one other trustee also railed against the agreement to fellow board members, and another questioned whether the university … […]

Email shows Frazier, Tomails had direct tie to NCAA, Big Ten

October 18, 2013

The leaders of Penn State’s committee that oversaw Louis J. Freeh’s investigation personally dealt with inquiries from the NCAA and the Big Ten conference, according to an e-mail recently released from the Department of Education. As the university’s internal investigation got under way, trustees Ken Frazier and Ron Tomalis had personal conversations with both athletic … […]

Feds cleared Spanier after information from Freeh

October 7, 2013

Federal investigators cleared former Penn State President Graham Spanier for secret government work last year after Louis J. Freeh turned over information he said should have disqualified him for the post. Commenting on Spanier’s involvement with a project for an undisclosed government agency, Freeh expressed surprise in an April 12 e-mail that his national security clearance … […]

Penn State files to keep records under wraps

October 2, 2013

Madison, Wis. – Penn State University filed papers this week to keep records related to its Sandusky investigation from becoming public. Writing that the release of some emails sent to trustees would cause “substantial harm,” univeristy lawyers intervened in an appeal that challenged a decision by the Department of Education to withhold some records under … […]

The curious case of Keith Eckel

September 22, 2013

Rolling your eyes at trustees’ antics has become the norm at Penn State board meetings. But Trustee Keith Eckel, who heads the trustees’ Governance and Long-Range Planning Committee, took inanity to a new level with two anti-transparency comments that left his mouth over the last few months. First, there was his Sept. 12 comment about … […]

Ray, Simon won’t release NCAA records

September 12, 2013

Here we go again. In response to two records requests, the current and previous heads of the NCAA’s executive committee say they won’t release documents that show what they did while leading the group over the past two years. Staffers at Michigan State University said none of the documents sent to President Lou Anna Simon … […]

Big Ten sought “collaboration” with Freeh, NCAA

August 28, 2013

As Penn State began its investigation into the Sandusky scandal, the Big Ten Conference didn’t want to sit on the sidelines and wait for an invitation to jump into the game. Alongside the NCAA, the conference sought to immerse itself in Penn State’s internal investigation led by Louis J. Freeh, according to a document recently … […]

Police say they lost Freeh document, can’t look for e-mails

August 8, 2013

Apparently, following simple directions isn’t as easy as it seems. After the Pennsylvania State Police was ordered to turn over correspondence with Louis J. Freeh last month, officials say they’ve lost one letter and can’t search for e-mails without knowing what they say. The letter was sent to state Police Commissioner Frank Noonan shortly after Penn State … […]

The secret story of Schultz’s so-called “secret” file

August 2, 2013

Dauphin County court officials yesterday posted transcripts of this week’s preliminary hearing. In the event you didn’t immediately read the more than 300 pages of testimony, they reveal many details not previously known, including some that poke even more holes into the sieve that’s commonly known as the Freeh report. The testimony of Kim Belcher, … […]

Court says some Penn State records are public

July 19, 2013

Records received by the secretary of education in his capacity as a trustee of Pennsylvania’s state-related universities must be disclosed under Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law, an appellate court ruled today. In a 6-1 decision released only 30 days after the case was argued before the Commonwealth Court, judges ruled that the secretary represents state taxpayers when acting as a … […]

Federal Sandusky investigation continues

July 14, 2013

Sixteen months have passed since since federal investigators forced Penn State to turn over information relating to the Sandusky scandal. And It’s been more than a year since President Rodney Erickson was called to testify before a federal grand jury. Other than those two revelations, there’s been virtually no news about what the U.S. Attorney for … […]

Freeh helped Pa. prosecutors after Penn State work

July 8, 2013

Investigators for Louis J. Freeh continued to help state prosecutors for more than three months after they ended their work for Penn State, according to records from the state Attorney General’s office. Instead of cutting ties with law enforcement when he issued his report in July last year, Freeh’s firm continued to assist the attorney … […]

State orders police to release correspondence with Freeh

July 1, 2013

State officials today ordered the Pennsylvania State Police to release correspondance with Louis J. Freeh and three people who worked for his firm. The decision by the Office of Open Records gives officials 30 days to provide records sent to and received from Freeh, his General Counsel Omar McNeil, and investigators Tom Cloud and Greg … […]

Pa. AG won’t release remaining Freeh emails

April 29, 2013

Last month’s release of e-mails between the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office and Louis Freeh’s investigators was a partial victory in the hunt for the truth. They showed a clear bias toward creating a final report that matched the narrative originally established by prosecutors in November 2011. But the disclosure didn’t go far enough. The AG’s Right-to-Know … […]

Corbett concedes key issue on release of Penn State trustee records

April 9, 2013

The Corbett administration announced yesterday that state records of Penn State trustees should be subject to Pennsylvania’s open records law. Conceding a key issue in a dispute over whether trustee records of Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis are public, an administration spokesman told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that a ruling by the Office of Open Records improperly … […]

In reversal, Corbett wants to conceal Penn State records

April 8, 2013

The Corbett administration is fighting to conceal state documents that show what a handful of public officials did while serving on Penn State’s Board of Trustees. Calling it “ridiculous” to have to release records of so-called “ex-officio” board members, Corbett attorneys last month asked the Commonwealth Court to let it keep records of the governor … […]

The values of the corporate executive candidate

March 19, 2013

PS4RS is out with their top-six picks. Anthony Lubrano has endorsed his favorite three. The 2013 trustee race is getting some clarity. After last year’s election, my wife, who’s a statistics wizard, plugged some number into her computer and came up with the following observations: the alumni preferred candidates who were older than me (I’m … […]

Emails draw new, more reasonable conclusions

March 11, 2013

The 12 emails between state prosecutors and Freeh investigators I released today don’t prove a thing. They don’t indicate that Paterno, Spanier, Curley or Schultz are innocent, and they won’t convince the world that anybody that has anything to do with Penn State isn’t scum. What they do suggest, if not confirm, is that the … […]

Emails: Freeh team supported, celebrated Sandusky conviction

It was billed as an independent investigation that would serve as the definitive narrative on what happened at Penn State. But a series of internal emails released by the Pennsylvania Attorney General last week suggest investigators for Louis J. Freeh didn’t arrive at their conclusions on their own. After working with state prosecutors to convict … […]

Quick Q&A: when should Penn State honor JoePa?

February 8, 2013

In your opinion, is there an appropriate time to honor Joe Paterno’s 61 years of service to Penn State? Why/why not? -MJ Neumann Thanks for the question about when/if to honor Joe. A year after his death, it tops the list of alumni complaints. It is also one of the most polarizing issues Penn State … […]

Quick Q&A: how can trustees mend fences with alumni?

February 7, 2013

As a participant of many PSU “groups”, I have noticed many alumni saying that they are withholding donations to the university. I am a parent of a current senior who has benefited greatly from scholarship funds and is very appreciative to the donors who have made her education at PSU a possibility. My concern for … […]

Freeh Contract? What Freeh contract?

February 6, 2013

Since the Office of Open Records ordered the Department of Education last month to release contracts with Louis J. Freeh, I’d been wondering how it was going to respond. Surely it wouldn’t just hand over the contracts after blocking three previous requests. Somehow it would try to weasel out of doing what it should do. … […]

Why I’m running for the Board of Trustees … again

January 14, 2013

It’s been more than a year since Penn State found itself facing a crisis of historic proportions. We watched for a week as the university’s leaders failed us over and over again. Many expected that the Board of Trustees would quickly change its practices to end the culture of secrecy and cronyism that has prevailed … […]

State orders release of Freeh contracts

The Pennsylvania Office of Open Records has ordered  the Department of Education to release copies of contracts that involve Louis Freeh’s law firm. The Dec. 28 order by Appeals Officer Audrey Buglione also said the department can’t claim that it’s allowed to withhold the records under other exceptions listed in the state’s Right-to-Know Law. “The … […]

Corbett dodges responsibility, fights to keep Penn State records secret

January 2, 2013

Tom Corbett became Pennsylvania’s favorite politician for a day. In a bizarre move that many are still struggling to completely understand, the embattled governor and Penn State trustee suddenly decided to fight the university’s unfair and unprecedented sanctions by filing an antitrust lawsuit against the NCAA. It came six months after the sanctions were imposed, and went forward without … […]

Stonewalled: State official dodges questions about Freeh contract

December 4, 2012

Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis has one thing to say about whether he has a copy of Penn State’s contract with Louis Freeh: “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” That was essentially his department’s response to my latest request for a copy of the contract – the third time my request was deemed so unclear that … […]

Trustee scoffs at ethics reform, transparency

November 19, 2012

Ever hear of a guy named Carl Schaffer? Neither have I. Until yesterday, that is, when the Centre Daily Times said the trustee “scoffed” at recommendations to raise transparency and accountability at Penn State. In response to a plan for reform released by state Auditor General Jack Wagner on Wednesday, Shaffer, who’s also the president … […]

Did Trustee Tomalis commit perjury?

November 18, 2012

For the last few months, I’ve been trying to get a copy of Penn State’s agreement with Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan that governed the conduct of its investigation. Ron Tomalis, the Penn State trustee and Secretary of Education, was also second in command of the board committee that hired Freeh. So you’d think he, of … […]

Did a judge impose a gag order on the Sandusky grand jury?

November 11, 2012

Penn State President Rodney Erickson has granted a number of interviews in recent weeks as media outlets across the country began marking the one-year anniversary of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. One story, published on Tuesday by Bill Schackner of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, particularly raised my eyebrows. When asked about his grand jury testimony in September, … […]

Anti-trustee billboards moving closer to home

October 17, 2012 has a story today about a another billboard with anti-trustee messages. But this one is a little farther from State College, where other critical billboards have emerged in recent months. Harrisburg motorists are being targeted this time with a series of questions about Penn State’s reaction to the Sandusky scandal. One asks, “If Penn … […]

Lawsuit filed over Penn State records

October 11, 2012

Today I filed a lawsuit against the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records, challenging its decision to allow state officials to withhold public documents about Penn State. My suit stems from an information request in June, which sought emails and other documents received by Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis in his capacity as Penn State trustee. … […]

Documents reveal secret June retreat, e-mail to Freeh

August 23, 2012

Penn State trustees held a secret “retreat” earlier this year, and had at least casual contact with consultants who were investigating the Sandusky scandal, according recently released state documents. The idea of a June gathering was talked about during the trustee’s public meeting in May, according to an e-mail from Paula R.  Ammerman, the board’s … […]

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

July 30, 2012

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 … […]

My friends hate me because I went to Penn State

July 27, 2012

A few days ago, a friend was kind enough to dig up a heated Facebook discussion that emerged in the wake of the Sandusky charges in November. I’m sure you can guess how it went, because you went through many similar discussions yourself, but here’s a summary: Friend: I would like for you to complete … […]

Steve Garban quietly falls on his sword, and takes an opportunity with him

July 19, 2012

Hey. Did you hear that? Steve Garban, the embattled Penn State trustee, finally resigned tonight. He knew about the Sandusky charges a week before they were announced, but apparently did nothing to stop the train wreck from unfolding. What? You didn’t hear anything? Oh, right. That’s because his resignation barely made a whisper. There was … […]

By allowing public comment, trustees almost start following the law

July 16, 2012

Penn State trustees will allow a handful of citizens to speak at their meetings, but only if it’s about a topic board members allow. Under changes approved to the board’s bylaws Friday, up to 10 people will be allowed to speak for three minutes each until a 30-minute clock runs out. But the 10 will … […]

New term limits won’t apply to today’s trustees

July 13, 2012

Penn State trustees approved shorter term limits today that won’t apply to themselves. The new 12-year limits will take effect on July 1 and apply to those elected starting in 2013.  Existing trustees will still be able to serve five three-year terms, for a total of 15 years. The proposal will also apply to board members … […]

Three quick takeaways from the Freeh report

July 12, 2012

I’m still reading, but here are some things we should take note of: 1. Wendell Courtney is an f’in liar Penn State’s former lawyer-in-chief told the New York times in November that he would have been “duty bound to report to law enforcement officials any allegations of inappropriate conduct toward children by Sandusky” in 2001. Since … […]

The clandestine leadership of Karen Peetz

July 11, 2012

In February, she led a closed-door meeting to talk about how trustees should restructure their group, a clear violation of the law. Once a week, her executive committee meets by phone to talk about whatever she deems necessary. And last night, as Penn Staters everywhere braced for the release of the Freeh report tomorrow, trustees … […]

Despite persistent anger, more alumni give to Penn State

In a sign that public support for Penn State remains strong, the number of donors that gave money to Pennsylvania’s flagship university increased modestly last year, officials reported yesterday. Fundraisers managed to reel in 8,000 more contributors during the 2012 fiscal year, netting $208 million for the quasi-public university from 191,000 donors. It was the second-best … […]

Legislator plans another shot at Penn State transparency

July 10, 2012

In the wake of the Sandusky scandal, state Rep. Eugene DePasquale wanted to pry open Penn State’s doors and make its records open to the public. But even with the unprecedented exposure of the university’s secrecy, the York Democrat’s bill never made it out of committee When legislators return to Harrisburg in the fall, DePasquale will … […]

Anthony Lubrano might be our only hope

July 8, 2012

I’m don’t agree with Anthony Lubrano on everything. The trustee-elect’s insistence on making trustees apologize for firing Joe Paterno is misguided. He often talks about greater “transparency” among trustees, but hasn’t proposed specific plans to improve it. And he’s still teaming up with Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship, whose most vocal members have often made … […]

How credible will the Freeh report be?

July 7, 2012

Many of us are hoping the Freeh report will be the definitive source about what happened in 2001. But there are indications it might provide more questions than answers. Take this paragraph from today’s Philadelphia Inquirer: According to sources familiar with the investigation – none of whom agreed to be identified by name because of … […]

What about The Second Mile?

Details of emails that reveal how top Penn State administrators handled the 2001 Sandusky allegation have finally leaked out. But many of us are having trouble getting our heads around what they really say. So I thought creating a timeline of how administrators handled the 2001 incident would be helpful. And in that context, I have two … […]

Taliaferro speaks, but Peetz will handle it from here

June 21, 2012

Trustee-elect Adam Taliaferro broke his silence today in a Philadelphia Magazine interview. He really didn’t say much during his campaign, so I was excited to read about all the awesome things he wants to do as a trustee. He didn’t disappoint. One really awesome thing is he wants to do is make sure nobody but board … […]

Can someone please explain this?

Jared S. (@ForeverJVP) tweeted the following: “SbB showed up on my TL. Someone is getting their RT’s turned off.” I don’t know about you, but I’m going to file this under “stuff I don’t understand.”

The apology Masser should have given

June 20, 2012

Dear Fellow Trustees, Look, I never wanted to be your vice president in the first place. But we screwed up so royally in November that Karen and I were the only people with enough credibility left to take these leadership roles, and that’s only because nobody knew anything about us. So here I am, doing … […]

A trustee finally gets honest, but alumni rail

June 19, 2012

Keith Masser emerged from relative anonymity in January when he became vice president of the Board of Trustees. By all accounts, he’s a mild-mannered farmer from east-central Pennsylvania who never seeks the spotlight. But that changed last weekend, when he became one of the first trustees to say something honest about the Sandusky scandal. After prosecutors announced … […]

Jerry Sandusky is not Penn State

June 18, 2012

A Father’s Day column by Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel raised the blood pressure of a lot of Penn Staters. Mine stayed closer to room temperature than others’, but what upset me was this paragraph: “If you haven’t already lost all respect for Penn State, its administration and its iconic former coach Joe Paterno, I suggest you read … […]

What did Hintz and Baldwin know?

June 17, 2012

While the Penn State family has largely been captivated by the day-to-day events of the Sandusky trial this week, I’ve been focused on documents that confirm Penn State’s top administrators conspired to cover up the horrible allegations. To me, this is the only real news of the week, and it’s unfortunate it hasn’t gotten much attention … […]

Unwarranted praise for Karen Peetz

June 11, 2012

It’s been a few weeks since my last missive. Since then I got married in Maryland, and with the wedding behind me, I’m enjoying some much-deserved time off from the insane workflow that defined my first five months of the year. Now I have some more time to devote to watching Penn State news, which … […]

Post-election analysis

May 5, 2012

I’m not a trustee today, but I’m definitely a Monday-morning quarterback. So after capturing a disappointing 482 votes, I tried to find a way  to put it all into perspective. Luckily I’m about to marry a Ph.D. candidate and statistics wizard. So I convinced Kristen M. Allison, M.A., CCC-SLP, to crunch the election results into … […]

Bagwell is not the real trustee

At Joe’s January memorial service, Phil Knight ended his eulogy with a question few were able to answer. “Who is the real trustee at Penn State University?” he asked. Today, I’m disappointed to report that I am not the real trustee. Instead, the record 37,000 alumni voters elected Adam Taliaferro, Anthony Lubrano and Ryan McCombie … […]

My worst fear

April 22, 2012

You might have read today’s article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, which painted one of the leading board candidates in a highly negative light. His alleged behavior is concerning, and should give anyone who’s considering voting for him pause. But I’m more worried about a huge hit to the reputation of Penn State’s alumni if we … […]

Election update

April 19, 2012

I just got this election update from the Board of Trustees: —————— TO: Candidates for Election of Trustees by the Alumni As you are aware, balloting is underway for the election of trustees by the alumni. I thought it would be helpful to provide a status report on the process including the balloting results. Ballots … […]

Go vote with pride

April 10, 2012

It’s been a long campaign, but election season has finally arrived. The support I’ve received so far has been humbling, and I’m grateful to you for believing in my plans for Penn State. But I need your help one last time to begin the road to restoring trust in our alma mater. And only candidates … […]

In the campaign’s final days, the debate turns vile

April 7, 2012

Wow. That’s about all I can muster after a day of debate on the social media channels about my decision to release an e-mail errantly sent to me by Anthony Lubrano, the leading candidate in the race for the Board of Trustees. In that e-mail, he told a supporter to vote for people other than … […]

A message to supporters

April 1, 2012

It’s been a while since my last campaign update, and a lot has happened since then. The trustees approved their plan to reorganize themselves into a system of committees and subcommittees unlike any public body I’ve seen. They did this after holding a secret weekend meeting in February, which was clearly illegal but creatively justified … […]

$33,000 in David Joyner’s pocket

March 27, 2012

Think of all the things you could do with $33,000. A vacation in Bora Bora. A new car. Maybe even start a new Penn State scholarship to help temper the high cost of tuition. David Joyner gets to do those things 12 times a year, because that’s how much Penn State pays him every month … […]

The road to private status runs right over the governor

March 24, 2012

Penn State Board of Trustees Chairwoman Karen Peetz made some some odd comments to the university Faculty Senate recently. She said trustees are looking toward Cornell University for guidance in how best to become a private university. That puzzled me, because, as a nonprofit corporation registered in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, I always thought of Penn State as a … […]

You’re destined to do great things

March 22, 2012

It’s a few years old, but I still can’t get enough of this Penn State football pump-up video. It inspires me every time. There’s about two and a half weeks left before the election. But for the three winners of the alumni trustee race, the war for change hasn’t even started. We must elect people … […]

Trustees’ attorney responds

March 18, 2012

Lanny Davis’ defense of last month’s Board of Trustees’ closed-door retreat  stumped me. He took issue with the conclusions of some experts who question the meeting’s legality. I wrote about his defense last week. But even with my vast knowledge of, and experience with, open meetings and open records laws, I just couldn’t understand his … […]

Death threats are not ok

It was disturbing enough to read that  some angry Penn Staters have lobbed death threats to members of the Board of Trustees. But I was even more upset to read  many remarks posted on social media sites that agreed with their tactics. I’m as angry at the board as anyone out there. But threats of … […]

Lanny Davis is foolish

March 15, 2012

In a letter to the editor published earlier this week, Board of Trustees attorney Lanny Davis continued to argue that the trustee’s secret retreat held last month wasn’t subject to Pennsylvania’s Open Meetings Law. That’s because official decisions weren’t made, “nor did any deliberations of university business take place at the retreat for the purpose of … […]

Karen Peetz should resign

March 9, 2012

After the trustees’ abysmal performance in the wake of the Sandusky scandal, I never thought they could do any worse. Surprise. They just did. In a story today about a series of illegal meetings held last month, newly minted board President Karen Peetz today revealed her fundamental misunderstanding of Pennsylvania’s open meetings law. The Sunshine … […]

Adam Taliaferro and the ethics question

March 7, 2012

Today a supporter asked me to weigh in on Adam Taliferro, the former Penn State football player who was paralyzed in a horrific on-the-field incident during his freshman year in 2000. He has since made a full recovery, graduated from law school, and is now making a bid for the Board of Trustees. A bit of controversy … […]

Half way in, the board changes the rules

March 6, 2012

Tonight we learned that somebody affiliated with the Board of Trustees has declared that candidates’ website addresses cannot be included in their official bios and position statements. The reason? According to well-placed sources on Facebook, the board wants voters to choose candidates based solely on those statements. I haven’t been officially notified of this new … […]

The official ballot position list

February 29, 2012

It’s here, it’s here: Ballot Position Press Release 2012

Turning attention toward rising tuition

February 27, 2012

The Penn State trustee race has seen some concerning developments over the past few weeks. An alumni group that rose to prominence endorsed three people who embody the status quo. Before that, a fake, anonymous endorsement email was sent to hundreds of alumni urging them to nominate three other candidates. None of this is helpful … […]

Location of ballot position drawing has been changed

This afternoon, I got word that the location of Wednesday’s ballot position drawing has been changed. Apparently there’s a lot of interest in this year’s alumni trustee election. It looks like we’ll know who’s officially running sooner than we thought. ———— TO:         All Candidates for the Election as a Trustee by the Alumni Thank you … […]

A secret meeting, and a broken law

February 25, 2012

Last weekend, board President Karen Peetz and Vice President Keith Masser decided it would be a good idea to host a board “retreat”  in State College. And like any leaders who are committed to transparency, they decided to keep their gathering under wraps and deny its stakeholders a chance to be a part of one … […]

Group’s picks fall short

February 1, 2012

Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship today announced their top six endorsement picks. Unfortunately, the group’s choices look like more of the same. Instead of choosing candidates with a record of fighting for transparency, most of their picks came straight from Wall Street. That’s not the kind of leadership the Penn State family needs. It’s disappointing. … […]

A giant leap forward for Penn State’s trustees

January 21, 2012

Wow. What did they put in the water yesterday at University Park? Truth serum? A billion gallons of Starbucks? Whatever it was, it spurred every member of the Board of Trustees to abruptly abandon their vow to not talk about the Sandusky crisis. No matter how you feel about this group and what they’ve put the Penn … […]

The trustees speak, and it’s too little, too late

January 19, 2012

Penn State’s top trustees finally broke their silence today about their handling of the Saundusky crisis. On the eve of a public board meeting at which hundreds are expected to demand their resignations, 13 board members discussed their roles with the New York Times. Sadly, it’s too little, too late. Their recollections consisted of the … […]

Ira Lubert is a fool

January 17, 2012

I just spent the last five minutes making a combination of laughing/screaming sounds after reading a piece by Laura Goldman in the Philadelphia Business Insider. That’s because she happened to run into Penn State Trustee Ira Lubert, who said something that is laughable, outrageous and completely unbelieveable at the same time. “Naturally, I wondered why … […]

Go vote!

January 15, 2012

The past few months have seemed like an eternity. With a new president and a new slate of football coaches, the Penn State family is finally beginning the healing process. Joe Paterno finally spoke out in today’s Washington Post, putting to rest some of our remaining questions. But we have yet to hear anything substantive … […]

Yesterday’s editorial in the CDT

January 14, 2012

You might recall that I recently uncovered the trustees’ plan to reappoint most members of the executive committee. It was mentioned in  a copy of the board’s next meeting agenda that I recently obtained, which won’t be made public until Jan. 20. In yesterday’s paper, the Centre Daily Times agreed with my take on their plan, … […]

Erickson saying the right things

January 12, 2012

In today’s Philadelphia Inquirer story, I was pleased to see some movement in the right direction from Penn State President Rodney Erickson. Writing about public access to records, Reporter Susan Snyder wrote that Erickson promised to “provide anything not prevented by law, contract language, or privacy rights.” And Synder quoted Erickson as saying this: “The … […]

A candidate’s take on the trustee power structure

January 10, 2012

If you haven’t already seen Ben Novak’s take on the Penn State trustees’ power structure, I suggest you give it a read. The former trustee, who’s seeking to return to the board, definitely has some worthwhile insight into how most members are bullied into keeping their mouths shut. But some of the reasons he gives for board … […]

My application to Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship

January 9, 2012

This group has been in the news a lot lately, and many people have asked if I applied for its support. Indeed I have. And I’m happy to share my application with you.

My plan for ethics and accountability

Last week I told you about my road map for transparency to help restore Penn State’s reputation. Since then, I’m sad to report that we’ve only seen more of the same from the Board of Trustees. But we can’t let their determination to defend the status quo keep us from working toward making the university … […]

McQueary, Paterno and Penn State’s wistleblower policy

January 8, 2012

In the course of researching Penn State’s ethics rules, I came across its wistleblower policy, whose aim is to  “encourage and protect from Retaliation those who desire to report potential violations” of university standards. It was implemented in June last year. The policy is broadly worded to protect anyone who reports any potential violations to Penn State … […]

The attorney general’s role

January 4, 2012

Wanted to share this missive from a Tennessean with no ties to Penn State, who questioned the attorney general’s role in the turmoil that rocked our family recently. I agree with her sentiment. And I think the attorney general knew her office went too far when it wrote the grand jury report. The day after … […]

More questions from alumni

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 … […]

My transparency plan

January 3, 2012

When I announced my campaign for trustee last month, I promised to propose changes that would promote transparency at Penn State. Some Pennsylvania legislators argue that fully applying the state’s Right To Know Law to the university is best way to bring about such change. They’ve introduced bills to make that a reality. I believe … […]

Sentiment I agree with

January 2, 2012

Just read a letter to the editor tonight that sums up my sentiment toward the board of trustees: Most alumni are appalled by the actions of the board relative to coach Joe Paterno. They are appalled by the university’s inability to handle a crisis. They are appalled by a university that insults its most loyal … […]

Answering some questions from PSU alumni

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 … […]

Bagwell in the Wisconsin State Journal

Sending a big thank you to Wisconsin State Journal columnist Doug Moe for his piece about me and my candidacy today. Read it here:

Bagwell for Trustee in the Daily Collegian

December 29, 2011

Thanks to #PennState’s Katie Murt and the Daily Collegian for today’s story about my campaign. Read it here:

“Insurgent” campaign in the Post-Gazette

December 26, 2011

Thanks to Bill Schackner and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for this week’s story about my campaign. Forget for a moment that I appreciate the publicity, and let me compliment Bill for his wordsmith ability, particularly in regard to this line: “His insurgent bid could portend a push for a wider board shake-up at the hands of … […]