Penn State takes action on many Freeh Report recommendations
Penn State officials today provided an update on the 119 recommendations made to the University in a report by the Freeh Group, noting that more than one-third of the recommendations have been completed to date.
"There has been great collaboration and cooperation across all of our departments and organizations in addressing these recommendations," said Penn State President Rodney Erickson. "I'm very proud of our faculty, staff and students and look forward to continued progress. I am fully confident that Penn State will emerge stronger and serve as a model of compliance for universities across the nation."
Each of the recommendations has been assigned to one or more individuals within the University administration for review, analysis and possible implementation, and each area will receive oversight and progress monitoring by one of the standing committees of the Board of Trustees. University officials have said that as they implement the Freeh recommendations, in instances where implementation is not appropriate, they will provide reasons for non-implementation. In addition, an Administrative Response Team comprising the senior vice president for Finance and Business; vice president and general counsel; and the senior vice president for administration will review any analysis, action plans and progress submitted. These same metrics will be reviewed by an advisory council that consists of a cross section of the University community, including students, faculty, administrators, deans, chancellors and staff. The council is overseen by Keith Masser, vice chair of Board.
A complete update of status and actions Penn State has taken based on the recommendations is available at http://www.psu.edu/ur/2012/Freeh_Matrix.pdf and on the University's Progress website at http://progress.psu.edu/, and will be updated monthly.
The following is a sample of the progress achieved:
- Comprehensive change to the Board of Trustees governance structure, including expansion of committees, public meetings with comment and question periods at formal board voting sessions.
- Key officials' contracts made public and posted: President Rodney Erickson, Head Football Coach Bill O'Brien, Acting Athletic Director David Joyner, and Vice President for Finance and Business David Gray.
- All senior executive positions advertised externally, and expansion of the talent pools for those positions through the engagement of search firms.
- Established the Progress website, http://progress.psu.edu/, to disclose important information to the public. Fully disclosed all costs for legal fees, consultants and public relations firms associated with the Sandusky matter.
- Established the position of chief compliance officer, with oversight throughout the university, with the search for this position near completion.
- Hired a full-time Clery compliance coordinator, who joined the Office of University Police and Public Safety in March and using outside consultants to provide Clery Act training to University employees.
- Providing sufficient support and oversight of the Office of Student Affairs to make certain that all students follow the same standards of conduct.
- Revising organizational structure of the Athletic Department, clearly defining lines of authority, responsibilities and reporting relationships.
Policies and Procedures
- Created a master list of 3,000 names of those persons with Clery Act reporting responsibilities to notify them annually of the Clery Act responsibilities and publish the list to the University community.
- Mandatory reporter training conducted for more than 7,200 employees and volunteers.
- Established and implemented policies to facilitate assistance from other law enforcement agencies in sensitive or extraordinary cases.
In addition to the specific progress related to the Freeh Report, University officials also indicated that an array of other actions to improve processes have taken place in the past several months, including:
- Completion of a search for a new chief legal counsel.
- Enhancements to the human resources function.
- Search for new provost under way.
- Improvements to internal and external communications.
- Changes in the organizational structure of Intercollegiate Athletics to clearly define lines of authority, responsibilities and reporting relationships.
- Formation of the Vision Council, advised by former University of Illinois President Stan Ikenberry. The Council will provide strategic planning recommendations by mid-year 2013 to the Board of Trustees and Administration.