STATE COLLEGE, Pennsylvania — Penn State's three new alumni trustees will likely need more allies on the board to get the school's governing body to re-visit former FBI director Louis Freeh's scathing report into the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal.
But one of the newly-elected trustees, Barbara Doran, said the turnover does add to the board three more reform-minded voices that hope to influence future conversations.
Doran and the other newcomers were supported by a vocal alumni group critical of school leadership for its actions since retired assistant football coach Sandusky was arrested in November 2011. Some alumni and former players want the school to take another look at the report Freeh conducted for the school, which they say made unfounded accusations against the late coach Joe Paterno.
How the university handled his firing days after Sandusky's arrest also remains a major sticking point.
"Well, we still don't have the numbers in terms of the votes. If you were to call a vote on a certain issue, it's not going to happen," Doran said. "But I think when you have three strong voices coming in, it begins to change the tenor."
Doran, Bill Oldsey and Ted Brown easily won election among alumni in results announced at last week's board meeting. Each had endorsements from the alumni group Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship and the Paterno family.
The board now has 30 voting members after trustees on Friday took away the votes of the Pennsylvania governor and the university president as part of a package of governance reforms. Alumni hold nine seats total, with three seats up each year.
The rest of the board is composed of six business trustees appointed by the board itself; six agricultural trustees voted on by state agricultural groups; six gubernatorial appointees; and three ex-officio members in Pennsylvania's secretaries of agriculture; education; and conservation and natural resources.
The alumni voting bloc is seen by watchdogs as the most visible way to effect change.
"I'm looking forward to getting to know the new candidates and working with them, having a good debate inside the board," trustees chairman Keith Masser said after Friday's meeting when asked if the election represented a barometer of the alumni's feelings.
The three new alumni trustees formally take their seats at July's meeting.
They arrive a year after alumni sent three other newcomers to the board in Anthony Lubrano, Ryan McCombie and Adam Taliaferro. Each man also campaigned to varying degrees on reform.
Doran said her most critical issue was re-addressing Freeh's findings, which were never formally approved or discussed by the full board following the report's release in July 2012. Two years of turnover will open new opportunities for discussion, she said.
"Maybe we didn't do the right things, and there are things we can do to right the ship," Doran said after learning about her victory. "So I think that the dynamic changes, and I think the message will start to soften from some of the hardliners, and they'll start to look back and think we may have to re-examine a few things."
Lubrano said Monday that he hoped the nine alumni trustees would meet as a group over the new few weeks to gauge the pulse of the group's constituency. The university boasts roughly 560,000 graduates across the country.
Addressing Paterno's legacy and the Freeh report remain important, he said, "but the greatest issue is re-establishing credibility in the community."
Trustees have said Paterno was ousted in part because he didn't meet a moral obligation to do more to alert authorities about allegations against Sandusky. Paterno died in January 2012 at age 85. His family has vehemently denied any suggestion that he would cover up such allegations.