Penn State’s Board of Trustees Meets in Lackawanna County
DUNMORE — The nation’s attention is now on the Penn State Board of Trustees to see what changes they will make in response to Louis Freeh’s report.
All that attention was focused on the Worthington Scranton campus in Dunmore, where the board met Friday after that strongly-worded report came out Thursday.
A classroom on Penn State’s Worthington Scranton campus became the focus of the fallout following the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. The long-scheduled board of trustees meeting comes just a day after a report commissioned by the board harshly criticized its handling of the scandal.
Leaders said they’re just beginning to digest the more than 100 changes suggested in the report compiled by former FBI director Louis Freeh.
“Today we will consider a number of immediate next steps with the objective of ensuring that a collapse of leadership of this magnitude never happens again,” said Trustee Chairwoman Karen Peetz.
At the meeting, Penn State’s new president listed some administrative changes he’s made since the scandal broke last year.
Rodney Erickson said there are now stricter rules for university employees who deal with children, and stricter consequences for not reporting misconduct.
There’s also a new oversight position, the Director of University Compliance, and the university plans to host a conference on child sexual abuse this fall.
“Child sex abuse happened at Penn State, but it also happens everywhere in communities across Pennsylvania, this country, and the world,” said Erickson.
All but four trustees at Friday’s meeting sat on the board when Jerry Sandusky was arrested in November. Trustees have said this board’s greatest failing was not asking the right questions of some Penn State leaders implicated in the Freeh report, including Joe Paterno and former president Graham Spanier.
One trustee asked the new president how he will change that closed culture.
“You should not feel that everything need to go through me as a funnel,” replied Erickson.
Despite many public calls from students and alumni for Penn State trustees to resign, Chairwoman Karen Peetz said that no members plan to step down as a result of the Freeh report.
Trustees did act on one of Louis Freeh’s suggestions by voting on a measure to shorten trustee term limits from 15 years to 12 years.
They also approved having a public comment period at the end of each board meeting and they changed the board’s auditing process.
In addition, the board members approved an overall tuition hike of 2.4 percent as well.