UNIVERSITY PARK, CENTRE COUNTY - Penn State's Board of Trustees has elected a new leader, and is headed into some controversial issues over the next few months.
Penn State's Board of Trustees meeting Friday at the University Park campus started with a visit from former Senator George Mitchell. For 5 years, he'll be the new Athletics Integrity Monitor at PSU to make sure the university follows NCAA guidelines.
He thinks Penn State has done a good job so far but sees there's much more to do.
The Freeh Report and former Auditor General Jack Wagner pushed the board for reform.
Penn states Board of Trustees elected Keith Masser, a potato farmer who served as Vice Chair under Karen Peetz this past term. He sees a big year ahead of him.
Karen peetz's term as Penn State Board of Trustee's Chair is over, and new Chair Keith Masser's agenda is coming into focus.
"...As a community, we need to accomplish a few critically important goals..."
Masser says the school needs to attract a new President for Penn State, which they've formed a committee to do. He adds they need to reaffirm their bond with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and create a safe environment for everyone on Penn State's campuses.
"The world is watching us, and we have a unique opportunity to lead in higher education."
The school's trustees met for less than 4 hours on Friday. Aside from electing Masser, they acknowledged that they're considering recommendations from former Auditor General Jack Wagner.
In the short-term, deciding whether the Governor and school president should give up their vote, and lessen their role. In the long term, possibly shrinking the size of the board. Something Peggy Mankatric, the first public speaker wants to see.
"It is also clear, at least to me, that one of the failed points in this story rests with this board..."
Penn State Alumni Andrea Cook, echoed Mankatric's feelings two speakers later.
"...I would like to express my concerns over the Board of Trustees management over the crisis that occurred here over the past year..."
As does Trustee Anthony Lubrano.
"...As a board we're actually in agreement over many of the items in respect to reform. A couple of which, the size of the board for example, that may take us a little more time to resolve. So I'm in favor of making sure that we measure twice and cut once..."
Lubrano opened the meeting with a statement written by late football coach Joe Paterno and delivered to the Board of Trustees in the 1980's. He says Paterno needs to be honored.
"...We need to do something very significant to honor the memory of Joe Paterno. And his contributions to this university, there hasn't been an individual that's contributed more to this university from the inside out than Joe Paterno."
So will new BOT Chair Masser recognize Paterno? He wouldn't answer that question directly after his first meeting in charge.
As of now, there's no official word whether Penn State will be honoring the anniversary of Joe Paterno's death, on January 22nd. Lubrano and many of the public speakers, say that in itself is a travesty.