Embattled Penn State president Graham Spanier has come under fire for keeping quiet and preventing Penn State coach Joe Paterno from speaking to media members at a press conference on Tuesday. It turns out that those decisions may not ultimately be his own: a report in the Chronicle of Higher Education suggests that Spanier has been instructed to keep silent by the university's Board of Trustees. And the muting has miffed him:
"It's tearing Graham up to sit by and watch everything he's done to build up this university over nearly 17 years—and see this individual's alleged acts tear away at it," said one of the sources, who asked not to be identified because of the board's policy.
Spanier's role in the investigations of Jerry Sandusky's alleged child molestation and rape while employed by Penn State in 1998 and while in the Penn State football facility in 2002 have drawn scrutiny. Spanier, according to a source "close to" him, says that he was not informed of the 1998 investigation until October 2011, and that he was never informed that the alleged 2002 incident was a sexual assault.
If that sort of alleged breakdown in communication prevented Spanier from acting on claims of monstrous abuse, Spanier is likely right to be livid about the furor over Sandusky. And, furthermore, the Board of Trustees is likely smart to have slapped tape over a powerful and frustrated figure's mouth.