The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

July 13, 2012

Penn State trustees pledge better oversight

SCRANTON — Penn State's board of trustees promised a "more active, structured and robust oversight role" in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal to make sure the school never again permits a predator to roam free on its campus, the school's chairwoman said Friday.

Karen Peetz opened a board meeting in Scranton by addressing Thursday's report from former FBI Director Louis Freeh that showed late football coach Joe Paterno and three top administrators concealed child sexual abuse allegations against Sandusky, a retired assistant coach convicted last month of abusing 10 boys over 15 years.

Freeh also found the trustees failed to exercise oversight over former President Graham Spanier and other administrators and failed to probe deeply enough when they learned that Sandusky was the subject of a grand jury investigation.

For the second day in a row, the board said it accepted "full responsibility" for its failures. Peetz said Freeh's report will "result in changes, beginning here, beginning today."

Peetz directed committees of the board to review sections of the 267-page Freeh report that apply to their roles and report back "action plans" for change by the next trustees' meeting in September. In addition, Penn State President Rodney Erickson said Friday he has appointed three senior administrators to coordinate and implement changes suggested by Freeh.

"While yesterday's issuance of the Freeh Report provides some level of clarity of our community, it does not undo the pain that the victims of Jerry Sandusky have experienced, and continue to experience," Erickson said.

The lengthy tenure of board members has been an area of criticism for some alumni angered by the board's actions in the frantic weeks following Sandusky's arrest in November — including the firing of Paterno. However, Peetz said Thursday that no more board would step down.

Cynthia Zujaowski of Clarks Summit, who attended the meeting, said the entire board should resign.

"I think they are very ready to cast blame on other people and to put consequences on other people and have not accepted consequences for themselves," said Zujaowski, whose husband is a Penn State graduate. "It's all well and good for them to say, 'I'm sorry, I tried but I failed.' But they are not willing to allow other people to say that and have that be accepted."

Four new trustees — who campaigned on a pledge to reform the way the board operates — attended their first meeting Friday.

 

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