UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa., Aug. 15, 2012 – This fall, Penn State will convene some of the nation’s top experts in child sexual abuse and child trauma research, prevention, and treatment for a public forum on this nationwide problem. The Child Sexual Abuse Conference: Traumatic Impact, Prevention, and Intervention will take place at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel on Oct. 29-30, 2012.
The two-day conference will feature discussions with Sugar Ray Leonard and Elizabeth Smart, both of whom suffered sexual abuse as children. Leonard, an American boxing icon and Olympic gold medalist, will deliver a keynote address and participate in a Q&A with attendees, while Smart will serve as the conference’s closing speaker. The event will also include nationally recognized experts in the field of child sexual abuse and child trauma from across academia, including:
A recent warning from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education related to Penn State's accreditation does not involve the academic quality of Penn State or its programs. The University's accreditation remains intact and its leaders are confident they will satisfy the commission's concerns.
"This warning has no bearing on our educational programs or the integrity of those programs," said Penn State President Rodney Erickson. "What's being looked at are issues of governance, integrity and institutional resources related to the fallout from the child sexual abuse scandal involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky."
The following remarks were made by BOT Chairman Karen Peetz during today's (Aug. 12) special meeting regarding the NCAA consent decree:
Over the last few days, questions have been raised about the process in which the NCAA crafted and imposed, and the University accepted, what are unquestionably harsh sanctions that will have a significant impact on the University and its students, student-athletes, alumni, faculty, staff and other constituencies. Questions have also been raised about the Freeh Report and how that report was used by the NCAA as the basis for its action.
I had intended to call for a vote this evening to ratify the Consent Decree. Not because ratification is legally required. It is not. But, rather, because President Erickson's authority had been challenged publicly by some of our own trustees, the leadership of the Board wanted to publicly demonstrate the Board's support of President Erickson and the University's commitment to fully perform and comply with the Consent Decree. We had hoped to clear up any lingering misunderstanding with respect to the Board's and the University's position on this matter. Given that Trustee McCombie yesterday indicated publicly that he has instructed his lawyer to refrain from taking any further action, a formal vote may not be as necessary as we had initially anticipated.
The Penn State Board of Trustees will hold a special meeting via conference call at 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 12. The sole purpose of the special meeting is for the trustees to consider ratification of the binding consent decree imposed by the NCAA and accepted by the University. The public can listen to the meeting at the following web site online: WPSU.org/live.
In addition, those interested may also call in to the following conference call number, which is available on a first-come, first-served basis with a limit of 50 people: 1-866-393-1766. The following access code is required: *1855# (star, 1855, pound key).
To read the NCAA consent decree, visit http://www.ncaa.com/content/penn-state-conclusions online. President Rodney Erickson's statement regarding NCAA consent decree can be found at http://live.psu.edu/story/60475 online. Statements also have been made by the Board of Trustees (http://live.psu.edu/story/60509), Penn State Acting Athletic Director David Joyner and Head Football Coach Bill O'Brien (http://live.psu.edu/story/60478); Penn State's varsity athletic coaches (http://live.psu.edu/story/60489); and members of the football team (http://live.psu.edu/story/60506).
When they take the field at Beaver Stadium for their 126th season, The Pennsylvania State University football team will wear uniforms featuring a blue ribbon to support all victims of child abuse. Also, for the first time, the names of each football player will adorn their jersey in recognition of their resolve and dedication to the team and the University.
“The Penn State community stands with all victims of child abuse,” said Acting Athletic Director David Joyner. “Coach Bill O’Brien and his football team made it clear they want to support victims and bring more awareness to this issue, which affects so many.”