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Penn State board lowers the boom

By Laurie Bennett

November 10, 2011 at 1:15am

After an emergency meeting Wednesday, Penn State trustees announced that both coach Joe Paterno and president Graham Spanier were done.

“We thought that because of the difficulties that engulfed our university, and they are grave, that it is necessary to make a change in the leadership to set a course for a new direction,” said John Surma Jr., board vice chairman..

The university’s power structure has been overturned by allegations of child sex abuse by a former assistant coach and inaction by administrators who allegedly knew about the behavior for years.

Although Paterno had said Wednesday that he would retire at the end of the season, the board decided that he would not coach another game.

Trustees had issued a statement Tuesday, saying they were “outraged” by details in the grand jury report about the scandal and pledging to name a special committee to investigate.

The board includes some influential names.

Chairman Steve Garban is a former senior vice president and treasurer of the university. During his 12 years in the job, he oversaw the athletic program. As an undergraduate, he was captain of the football team.

Some, even within the boardroom, said his long history with the university rendered him incapable of leading trustees through the crisis.

Other members of the board include:

    · Kenneth Frazier, president and CEO of Merck and a director of Exxon Mobil

    · Surma, chairman and CEO of United States Steel Corporation, where Spanier is a director

    · Karen Peetz, a senior executive VP of Bank of New York Mellon, where Surma is a director.

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