Special Investigations Task Force
In November 2011, the Board of Trustees announced the convening of a Special Investigations Task Force. Led by trustees Kenneth Frazier as chair and Ronald Tomalis as vice chair, the Task Force was comprised of University Trustees, a student, a faculty member and a distinguished alumnus. By commissioning this investigation and sharing the report findings, the Board invited the highest degree of accountability. The Freeh report was released online at http://progress.psu.edu/the-freeh-report, on July 12, 2012 simultaneously to the University community, Board of Trustees, the media and the general public (link).
The Penn State Board of Trustees’ Special Investigations Task Force appointed Louis Freeh, former FBI director and federal judge, to conduct an independent investigation of the University's response to the allegations of sexual abuse committed by former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. The goal of this investigation was to identify where failures occurred in our governance and compliance structure and to inform our work as we implement reforms that ensure our institution never again has to ask whether it did the right thing, or whether it could have done more.
After an eight-month investigation, Judge Freeh’s report provided 119 specific recommendations to strengthen University policies and performance in areas such as safety and governance, and it drew several conclusions about how the University responded to the situation overall.
The full report and additional information can be found at http://progress.psu.edu/the-freeh-report.
Implementing Freeh Recommendations
With the release of the Freeh Report and the implementation of its recommendations, Penn State is beginning to make improvements, promote healing and build a stronger future.
Each of Judge Freeh’s recommendations was assigned to one or more individuals within the University administration for review, analysis and possible implementation—and each area receives oversight and progress monitoring by one of the standing Board of Trustee committees. Among the changes Penn State has made are:
- Hiring a full-time Clery compliance coordinator to support the Clery Act, a federal crime-reporting law for schools;
- Developing a sustainable professional training program for employees to recognize and report child abuse; and
- Enacting a significant revision to our policy (AD 39) overseeing the supervision and treatment of minors involved in University-sponsored programs or programs housed or held at any Penn State campus.
Reforms made by the Board of Trustees include:
- Taking a more active and structured oversight role by implementing specific oversight committees focused on Risk, Audit, Legal, Compliance, Governance, Academic Excellence and Human Resources;
- Initiating a comprehensive review of best practices in governance, with the goal of developing a specific set of reform recommendations; and
- Making most Board of Trustees meetings open to the public.
The implementation of Judge Freeh’s recommendations is helping to build a stronger, more accountable and more transparent University community. In fact, other universities are watching Penn State to learn how they can strengthen their policies and make their campuses safer. Additionally, lawmakers in several states have introduced legislation to make reporting child abuse not only a moral duty, but a legal requirement.
A complete update of status and actions Penn State has taken based on the Freeh report recommendations is available here and is updated regularly.