Integrity monitor cites University’s momentum in newly released report
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The University is displaying its "growing leadership in compliance" and continues its "serious, good-faith effort to embrace and adopt" change, according to the latest quarterly report tracking Penn State's progress in meeting the goals of the Athletics Integrity Agreement (AIA) signed by Penn State, the NCAA and the Big Ten Conference.
"This is the fifth quarterly update Penn State has received from Sen. George Mitchell providing an overview of the University's changes that will help guide our actions related to ethics and integrity. I'm happy to say that we have again received a positive report," said University President Rodney Erickson. "Much like the year-end report released in September, this report filed today (Dec. 6) notes our numerous accomplishments and the dedication of University personnel in meeting or exceeding requirements."
The complete text of the report and information about actions Penn State has taken is available at http://www.dlapiper.com/ncaa_penn_state_report_5/.
Mitchell, named by the NCAA as the independent monitor for Penn State to oversee the integrity agreement, has provided periodic updates to the University and general public on the completion of virtually all of the 119 recommendations made by Judge Louis Freeh in July 2012. Freeh's recommendations are intended to improve governance, safety, policies, procedures and operations at the University. Meeting the Freeh recommendations was a requirement of the AIA.
Erickson said that, in recent conversations, Mitchell has urged University leaders to keep up the momentum that has propelled the University to date and maintain their diligence in ensuring these changes are embedded into the daily operations of the University.
"We are deeply committed to these improvements and to ongoing implementation of best practices," Erickson said. "We are now in a second phase of continuous improvement. It is clearly a priority that we intend to pursue."
Touching on nearly every part of the University, the report cited work being done in a multitude of areas, from the new compliance staffing in Intercollegiate Athletics to the presidential search, to the ongoing governance changes undertaken by the Board of Trustees.
Academic performance data of athletes released by the NCAA was also cited in the monitor's report, acknowledging that Penn State’s athletic programs achieved an aggregate 88 percent graduation success rate eight percentage points higher than the average of its Division I peers.
The report also mentioned Penn State's plans for a "second phase of efforts to improve the University in ways that go beyond the recommendations of the Freeh Report, while ensuring that changes put into place … will become embedded in the University’s structure and culture."
Over the course of the last several months, Mitchell and his team have been on the University Park campus on a number of occasions and also attended the day-long Second Annual Child Maltreatment Conference hosted by Penn State, noting that about 260 child advocates from around the state participated.
In addition, the report documented that to date, 16,882 employees and students and 2,057 volunteers have completed the “Reporting Child Abuse” online training offered by the University. Another 18,266 individuals completed in-person, classroom training in 2012 and 2013. Similarly, 2,801 employees, students and volunteers have completed online Clery Act training in addition to approximately 3,000 individuals who completed in-person, classroom training on Clery Act compliance in 2012 and 2013.
"Through this and many other initiatives during the quarter, the University continued to further its commitment to prevent child abuse and assist its victims," according to the report.