Interim Penn State President Rodney Erickson on Thursday afternoon released through the alumni newswire email service a plea, "… to be patient, to avoid speculation and to refrain from passing judgment until the facts are known."

Mr. Erickson should have passed that sound advice to the Board of Trustees before it appeased the "holier than thou" character assassins who demanded a nationally known figure as a scapegoat.

It is obvious that at Penn State, loyalty is a one-way street and that the board is comprised of cowards who crushed Coach Joe Paterno's heart, soul and personal honor. Coach Paterno was not an eyewitness to the alleged crime, Jerry Sandusky was not an assistant coach at that time, and Mr. Paterno did notify his superiors with a reasonable expectation that those authorities would discharge their responsibilities.

The board failed in its obligation to defend Mr. Paterno when it properly held others accountable for not informing the police in a timely manner. By sacrificing a man who devoted his life to the university and made tremendous contributions to its students, the board mishandled these tragic events and dishonored itself.

Mr. Paterno deserved the opportunity to serve as coach for the remainder of this season. He must now live with the implied guilt by association and shame hastily inflicted by a board that could not weigh a man's character and contributions to society against a human's misplaced trust in others. This travesty of justice will haunt Penn State for many years.

Jerry Rodkey, Ellicott City

The writer is a member of the Penn State class of 1971.