The second ever public comment session during the Board of Trustees meeting included harsh words and accusations by concerned individuals.
Gene Lizardi maliciously spoke to the board as the first person to speak, and noted that his comments did not apply to newly added members of the board.
Lizardi spoke about Nov. 9, 2011, when the board decided to fire former head football coach Joe Paterno by phone.
“Shame on you,” Lizardi said. “What a hell of a thing to do.”
He also criticized the board for their actions following the NCAA sanctions and said that their idea of “transparency” does not match his own.
“You took the easy way out in every way,” he said.
Another speaker, Philip Schultes, told meeting attendees and the board that he encourages high school students not to attend Penn State before changes are made within the board. He said he and his wife were previously Penn State proud, but because of the responses of the board over the last year, they are not proud anymore.
“We were Penn State, but we are no more,” Schultes said. “Penn State is dead to us.”
Other public comment speakers, Elizabeth Morgan and Patty Kirschner asked the board to reveal the letters of intent or requests for approval regarding the hiring of Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan in November 2011 to investigate the Sandusky case.
Morgan said that rumors of conflicts of interest between the Freeh Group and the board, as well as the thoroughness of the investigation, call for the release of the documents.
In a press conference following the meeting, Chairman of the Board Karen Peetz said the board will look into the existence of those documents. She said she did not have much information in this area because she “wasn’t directly responsible for hiring him.”
“It was not something the board signed on,” she said.
In response to Schultes’ message to high school students looking at Penn State, Peetz said she was concerned.
“That’s very disappointing,” she said. “I would expect alumni to get behind the university when it needs them the most.”
The public comment session included six speakers total. Eight had been approved after registering their comments, but two were not present. At the first public comment session during the September board meeting, seven individuals spoke to the board. Following those seven, former football player Franco Harris stepped up to the microphone but was silenced when Peetz said he could speak at the next meeting. Harris was not one of the individuals at the meeting today.