Penn State has established a 10-member advisory council, comprised of a wide range of individuals from across the University, to provide input and feedback as Penn State administrators and the Board of Trustees work through the 119 recommendations in a July report issued by former FBI Director Louis Freeh.
The Freeh Report, commissioned by the University as part of an independent investigation related to the child sex-abuse scandal involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, recommends changes designed to strengthen policies and performance at Penn State in areas such as safety; reporting misconduct; and governance. To date, one-third of the recommendations have been completed. University officials hope to implement the changes Freeh recommended by the end of next year following a thorough evaluation, or to offer reasons why they would not implement changes.
Nearly 8,000 Penn State employees and volunteers have now attended the University's professional training program designed to help employees recognize and report suspected child abuse.
"As of Oct. 15, we have trained 7,963 employees and volunteers, including the University's Board of Trustees and senior leadership," said Susan Cromwell, director of workplace learning and performance in Penn State's Office of Human Resources. "We have 23 sessions on the calendar through December, and additional sessions still can be scheduled by units as needed."
Face-to-face training sessions began in April so the University could address an immediate need to train employees, also identified as "authorized adults," who would be working with children at numerous summer camps and workshops at University Park and other Penn State campuses across the commonwealth.
Penn State's Board of Trustees will hold a special meeting on Friday, Oct. 26, at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel to consider a resolution to authorize a subcommittee of the Board to approve possible settlements of claims made against the University related to the crimes of Jerry Sandusky.
The special board meeting, which is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. in room 108, will be preceded earlier in the day by an executive session at 4 p.m. Trustees can participate by phone or in person.
At the full board meeting, trustees will discuss giving the Subcommittee on Legal -- an arm of the board’s Committee on Legal and Compliance -- the authority to approve settlements that may be reached related to claims against the University by individuals alleging that Penn State is liable for injuries suffered in connection with sexual abuse by Sandusky. The former assistant coach was convicted on June 22 of the abuse of 10 boys and sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison.
Penn State University’s credit rating through Standard & Poor’s remains AA. S&P noted the University’s strong performance track record indicating that “Penn State’s current credit metrics remain consistent within the rating category.” As such, the University remains among the top 40 public rated institutions in the country and maintains the same rating as the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The University’s S&P outlook will be assessed again within the next two years.
The University is moving forward quickly to fulfill the requirements of the Athletics Integrity Agreement entered into in August among the NCAA, the Big Ten and the University. The agreement contains a number of prescriptive measures designed to ensure Penn State continues to meet all applicable NCAA and Big Ten rules and standards of integrity.
As part of the agreement, Penn State is currently searching for an athletics integrity officer to develop, implement and oversee policies and practices within the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics that ensure compliance and ethical conduct. This new position will be in addition to the compliance officer already working within Intercollegiate Athletics. The integrity officer position will oversee compliance with obligations of integrity, civility, ethics and institutional control, according to Penn State President Rodney Erickson. The position is expected to report to the University-wide chief compliance officer, a position currently being filled by the University.