Alvin Clemens, a member of the Penn State University Board of Trustees since 1995, has resigned from the Board, saying that the decision to fire Joe Paterno, for which he voted, was a “rush to injustice.” Clemens stated:
We had no advance notice and little opportunity to discuss and consider the complex issues we faced. After 61 years of exemplary service, coach Paterno was given no chance to respond. That was a mistake. I will always regret that my name is attached to that rush to injustice.
Clemens had urged the Board to revisit the conclusions in the Freeh report, which condemned Paterno, in light of the rebuttal report commissioned by the Paterno family. Former Attorney General Richard Thornburgh was one of the authors of the rebuttal report.
We have argued, the Freeh report is, indeed, a highly flawed document. The evidence marshaled against Paterno by Freeh amounted to virtually nothing.
After more than 430 interviews (but not of several key figures) and a “review” of more than 3.5 million documents and other information, the Freeh Report concluded that three emails from other people – former Penn State President Graham Spanier, Athletic Director Timothy Curley, and Senior Vice President Gary Schultz – prove that Paterno was a co-conspirator in a cover-up. As we explained, the evidence cited by Freeh did not support this conclusion.
You can find more information about the thinness of the Freeh report and the disgraceful coverage thereof by media rushing to demonize Paterno here.
The media, of course, had helped elevate Paterno into an almost saintly figure. As usual, the media got it wrong coming and going, but was, I think, closer to the mark the first time around.