In news that was first rumored late Wednesday evening, Steve Garban, the embattled former Chairman of the Penn State Board of Trustees has resigned his position, according to the Centre Daily Times.
ESPN.com reported recently reported that following last week’s regularly scheduled meeting, several Trustees confronted Garban, expressing outrage over how the Board was portrayed in the Freeh Report and pressed him to resign.
The Freeh Report confirmed that Garban, along with former University President Graham Spanier and general counsel Cynthia Baldwin , had been made aware of the investigation into Jerry Sandusky in April of 2011, but failed to alert the full Board. In October of 2011, Garban, along with Spanier, Baldwin, and fellow Trustees John Surma and Jim Broadhurst were alerted to the imminent charges against not only Sandusky, but also Tim Curley and Gary Schultz. Again according to Freeh, none of them made the rest of the Board aware of this.
Just two nights ago, ESPN’s Outside the Lines reported that in 2004, the Board failed to even vote on sweeping changes to the governance of the University, after Spanier and Baldwin did not allow the changes to be brought to the full Board. It would not be a huge leap to assume Garban and other Trustees played a part in that decision too. It has been speculated that those changes would have enabled the University to at the very least react more efficiently to the investigation that opened several years after being proposed.
John Surma is sure to be the next to move into the cross hairs as he served as Vice Chairman during Garban’s tenure as Chairman. Surma is of course the voice that announced the firings of Joe Paterno and Spanier during a late night press conference in November. He and Garban stepped down from their leadership positions in January, but remained members of the Board.
I have not been as adamant as others in demanding swift, massive changes to the make-up of the Board. However, it has become more and more obvious as bits of news leak that while the Board might not have been aware of all specifics, there was a massive, long term failure of leadership from the body charged with governing “Dear Old State”. As we move forward, it is only reasonable to expect people that served in a leadership capacity during this chain of events to admit their failures and give up those positions.
The full board is not scheduled to meet again until September 14th. Let us hope for a very different make up amongst the attendees.
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