Pennsylvania State University announced today that it has retained the law firm of Feinberg Rozen, LLP to help facilitate the possible settlement of all outstanding personal injury litigation arising out of allegations of sexual abuse in connection with the Sandusky matter. The law firm – headquartered in Washington, DC – has received national recognition for helping to resolve mass litigation arising out of the September 11 Terrorist Attacks; the 2010 BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the Virginia Tech Shootings in 2007 and the Massey Coal Mine Explosion in West Virginia in 2010. Both Kenneth R. Feinberg and Michael K. Rozen will make themselves available to assist Penn State, the victims of Mr. Sandusky and their counsel.
Penn State President Rodney Erickson will give a status report on the state of the University in a major speech to the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Oct. 31, as part of the club’s Speakers Luncheon Series. Erickson will discuss 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.
Erickson’s Oct. 31 remarks will underscore some of the University’s outstanding accomplishments this year: Penn State’s ranking as one of the top 50 world universities; the University’s student-athlete 88 percent graduation rate that tops the NCAA Division I average; the robust growth of Penn State’s research enterprise with more than $807 million in research expenditures; and the $10.7 million Penn State students raised last year for THON -- the largest student-run philanthropy in the world, which annually raises funds and awareness for the fight against pediatric cancer.
“In the face of the challenging times we’ve experienced, it’s important that the world knows Penn State is and always will be a world-class university with a mission of teaching, research and service,” said Erickson. “Penn State is defined not by the actions of a few, but by the deeds of hundreds of thousands committed to making our world a better place -- leaders in our communities, academia, business, research, athletics and philanthropy.”
The NCAA today announced it has established an independent task force to develop the philosophy and guidelines for the $60 million endowment, created under the Consent Decree, that will benefit external programs for the prevention of child sexual abuse and victim treatment.
“Since July, Penn State has received input from a variety of sources with respect to the structure and operation of the endowment, which we have passed along to the NCAA,” said Penn State President Rodney Erickson. “The NCAA has determined that at least one quarter of the annual disbursements from the endowment will be reserved for Pennsylvania organizations. However, recognizing that child sexual abuse is a national issue, the NCAA has determined that grants from the endowment will be available in other states as well. Penn State appreciates the commitments of the task force on this important endeavor that will help countless victims of child sexual abuse.”
Penn State President Rodney Erickson delivered the following remarks during the regular meeting of the Board of Trustees, held Sept. 14 on the University Park campus.
Good afternoon and welcome. This is the first board meeting of the new academic year, and classes have been in session for about three weeks. I want to say how nice it is to be surrounded by the rhythms of academic life -- papers to be written, quizzes to be graded and department potlucks to be attended. I’ve often thought that one of the main symbols of our academic life -- especially for young faculty or grad students -- is a covered casserole dish.
Perhaps more than any other year, we have all welcomed this return to normalcy and the energy that the students bring to campus.
Penn State’s Board of Trustees today (Sept. 14) received an update on the ongoing work to review and implement the recommendations set forth in Judge Louis Freeh’s July report. The board and University leadership are considering each of the report’s 119 recommendations, designed to strengthen policies and performance in areas such as safety; the identification and reporting of misconduct at Penn State; and University governance.
David Gray, senior vice president for Finance and Business/treasurer, said more than a dozen of the report's recommendations have been substantially addressed and efforts on many more are well under way. Changes already implemented by University leadership include hiring a full-time Clery compliance coordinator and providing Clery Act training for employees; instituting a new policy to limit access to athletic facilities; providing additional resources for the University's Athletic Compliance Office; and restructuring the Board of Trustees to ensure stronger governance of the University and more communication with constituencies, among other actions.
Monthly status reports on the implementation of the recommendations will be posted on the University’s Progress website at http://progress.psu.edu/. The first report will be available before the end of September.