“Six years of fighting is a bit tiresome…so here’s my opportunity to step aside for others who may have a different approach but the same passions,” Alfred Lubrano, the Paoli-based financial adviser, told PennLive yesterday after he left the Penn State board of trustees.
By Peter Gleason
Anthony Lubrano has had enough.
Which is why the ardent defender of the memory of former coach Joe Paterno isn’t seeking a third term on the PSU board.
Lubrano and Ryan McCombie joined the board in 2012 in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal, and now they are leaving essentially together.
Here’s how PennLive’s Charles Thompson describes it:
What followed was a pitched civil war that turned once-sedate trustee meetings into noisy town halls about the scandal’s aftermath, regular battles-by-appointment over questions for which there were no easy answers.
There was, after all, incontrovertible knowledge by Penn State’s top leaders, including coach Joe Paterno, of 1998 and 2001 allegations against Sandusky, and it was clear that none of the steps taken by those leaders stopped the problem.
A Dauphin County jury went so far last year as to convict former Penn State President Graham Spanier on a count of child endangerment. Two of Spanier’s highest-ranking lieutenants, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, pleaded guilty to the same charge.
(Other charges were initially filed, including perjury and obstruction of justice, but dismissed before trial because of legal issues raised over whether Spanier, Curley and Schultz were fairly represented during their grand jury appearances.)
The 2011-12 trustees, and their heirs on the board, consistently argued that in the face of those facts they took the hard steps needed to help the university survive the scandal in the best shape possible.
But in Lubrano’s view, they also unnecessarily applied a scorched earth policy to an entire era at Penn State for what were, at their core, Sandusky’s crimes, all in the name of hurried, political correctness.
Always working from a minority position on the now 36-member board, Lubrano never stopped pushing back against the over-corrections he thought Penn State’s leaders made in what he liked to view as a battle for the soul of the university.
“We tried to keep them honest to the extent that we didn’t let them simply ‘move on,’ to use their words,” Lubrano said Monday.
“We forced open discussion of the Freeh Report,” the controversial trustee-commissioned report published just as Lubrano took office, on Penn State’s role and responsibility for Sandusky’s crimes.
The report called into greater question Penn State’s top leaders’ response to allegations about Sandusky’s behavior, but many alumni argue that its conclusions are not supported by evidence.
“We forced open discussion of the (NCAA) consent decree (levying harsh punishments against Penn State’s football program)… and we fought for the legacy of the people that came before us,” Lubrano continued.
In their crusade, Lubrano and his allies lost almost every single battle at the board level.
They never won a formal apology from the university to the Paterno family for the coach’s firing-by-telephone within days after Sandusky’s November 2011 arrest. Joe Paterno died the following January, after a bout with cancer.
They never got the board to renounce key findings of the Freeh Report.