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Critics to attend Penn State board meeting

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 5:31 AM EST, Fri January 20, 2012
Former Penn State University football coach Joe Paterno was fired in November.
Former Penn State University football coach Joe Paterno was fired in November.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The meeting is scheduled for Friday morning and critics plan to attend
  • Joe Paterno was told that he was fired via a phone call by the board of trustees
  • Board members say they do not have to apologize for their actions

(CNN) -- Members of a Penn State alumni group who opposed how longtime football coach Joe Paterno was fired will question the university's Board of Trustees when it meets Friday.

The meeting is the first by the board since Paterno's controversial firing in November.

The all-time winningest football coach in NCAA Division I history was fired amid the outcry over the handling of accusations against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, who faces more than 50 counts involving sexual acts with 10 boys since 1994. He has pleaded not guilty.

Paterno was alerted of his being fired during a phone call from Steve Garban, chairman of the Board of Trustees.

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The news sent hundreds of students spilling into the streets at Penn State in protest.

An alumni group, called Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship, says the board fired Paterno unjustly and without due process.

"We are Penn State alumni and friends who are outraged at the manner in which Penn State's Board of Trustees fired Head Coach Joe Paterno," the group said on its website. "Our goal is therefore to replace all incumbent alumni trustees."

Members of the board recently talked about the firing during an interview with newspaper The Patriot-News.

Board members said they did not do anything wrong and they do not need to apologize.

"I believe we met our responsibilities as soon as we knew them," said trustee Keith Eckel. "I believe we were deliberate in that process."

Board members said they did regret having to inform Paterno of the firing by phone.

At the time there was such a media frenzy board members were worried the news would leak out.

"We wanted to make sure Paterno found out from the board, not by radio," said Eckel. "But the board wanted to tell the world that night."

CNN contributor Sara Ganim contributed to this report.

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