Penn State takes action to exceed Clery Act requirements

Penn State’s Clery compliance coordinator, Gabriel Gates, said the University “strives to exceed the requirements of the Clery Act,” a federal law related to campus safety, during a presentation today (Nov. 16) to the Board of Trustees.

“We aim to build a higher education community standard of excellence,” Gates said about his work providing administrative and advisory support to senior management and the University-wide community. “We attempt to create an open and proactive forum that will raise awareness of campus safety initiatives and crime prevention techniques.”

The Clery Act requires all higher education institutions in the country to disclose certain information about campus crime and security policies. This includes issuing campus alerts, publishing annual security reports, disclosing missing student protocols, maintaining a daily crime log and a daily fire log, and publishing an annual fire report, Gates said.

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Board approves athletics code of conduct

Penn State’s Board of Trustees today (Nov. 16) approved a code of conduct for intercollegiate athletics, as required by the Athletics Integrity Agreement entered into by the University, the NCAA and the Big Ten Conference as part of the consent decree imposed by the NCAA and accepted by the University. The code brings together policies and procedures that already in place at the University.

The code of conduct applies to all coaches, managers and student-athletes of NCAA-sanctioned Division I intercollegiate athletics teams; University employees directly involved with intercollegiate athletics teams; the University Board of Trustees; the President of the University; and all members of the athletic director’s executive committee.

The purpose of the code “is to serve as a guidepost to direct the ethical bearing of the athletics department.” It was drafted to reflect the athletics department’s mission, vision and core values of integrity, respect and honor, as well as the Penn State Principles, a document shared with the entire University community that spells out the values that Penn State embraces.

All covered individuals under the code must comply with University policies and procedures; the Intercollegiate Athletics Policy Manual; applicable NCAA constitution and bylaws and Big Ten Handbook; and all applicable laws, rules and regulations. Additionally, all those covered by the code must report through designated methods suspected violations of policies and rules.

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Penn State’s accreditation reaffirmed, University now off warning list

Penn State is in full compliance with all accreditation requirements, according to the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), which has lifted its 'warning' and Thursday (Nov. 15) reaffirmed the University's accreditation.

While Penn State's accreditation always remained intact, the University was put on warning by MSCHE on Aug. 8, based on the fallout from the sexual abuse scandal involving retired former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

"When notified of the warning we were confident we could verify our ongoing commitment to integrity, stable leadership and financial security -- the areas that Middle States had questioned. I'm grateful that these areas of strength have now been validated by Middle States," said Penn State President Rodney Erickson. "While the excellence of our educational programs was never in question, it is reassuring that Middle States continues to recognize Penn State as a world-class academic institution that is stepping up to meet its current challenges."

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Penn State President Rodney Erickson addresses the National Press Club

Penn State President Rodney Erickson addresses the National Press Club

Penn State President Rodney Erickson provided a status report on the state of the University and a look into the future of higher education in a major speech today (Nov. 2) to the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

As part of the club's Speakers Luncheon Series, Erickson highlighted what the University has learned from the child sex abuse scandal, reforms it has put in place, and its ongoing commitment to its core mission of teaching, research and service. Following is the full text of Erickson's speech.

Erickson’s speech follows the University’s Oct. 29-30 conference on child sexual abuse, which brought together some of the nation’s top experts in child sexual abuse research, prevention, and treatment, as well as survivors, for a forum on this national challenge.

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University officials issue statement on Attorney General’s actions

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – (Nov. 1) Penn State officials today learned of the charges announced at a press conference held by Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly against former University president Graham Spanier, and of additional charges brought against former Athletic Director Tim Curley and former university administrator Gary Schultz, in relation to the Jerry Sandusky case.  According to the Attorney General, all three men are now charged with conspiracy; obstruction of justice; endangering the welfare of children; failure to report a crime; and perjury.

Spanier was removed as president of the University on Nov. 9, 2011. After his removal, he continued to serve as a tenured professor at Penn State, though he has been on sabbatical leave. In light of the charges brought against him, Spanier will be placed on leave, effective immediately.

After charges were filed last November, Schultz returned to retirement and Curley was placed on administrative leave. Curley was on a fixed-term contract and has recently been given notice that his contract will not be renewed when it expires on June 30, 2013.

University officials will not comment further out of respect for the legal process.

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