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Penn State wants to share what it's learned in addressing Sandusky scandal

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By Anna Orso
Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

STATE COLLEGE — Penn State's governing body this week will discuss how to share with other institutions the changes university officials put in place to improve governance and oversight since the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

Trustees, during committee meetings on Thursday and a full board meeting on Friday, will evaluate reforms made in response to the Freeh Report as part of a second phase of complying with the report's recommendations, spokeswoman Lisa Powers said.

Officials implemented “virtually all” of former FBI Director Louis Freeh's 119 recommendations, she said. They include putting security in athletic centers and updating long-range planning and risk management policies.

In his university-commissioned report, released in July 2012, Freeh cited changes needed in the university's structure because of the way administrators handled the molestation complaints brought against Sandusky, a former assistant football coach.

Sandusky, 69, is in prison for abusing 10 boys in and around campus facilities and his State College home. His 2011 arrest as a result of a two-year grand jury investigation and conviction last year drew national attention and rocked the campus.

Though the report doesn't require it, Penn State officials are looking to share what they learned about oversight with other higher ed institutions in Pennsylvania and throughout the country, Powers said. Administrators talk with officials from other universities who have questions every week, she said.

The board will consider hiring a consultant to evaluate the board's size and structure. Trustees have not selected a search firm and Powers said she did not know the anticipated cost for a consultant.

In November 2012, then-state Auditor General Jack Wagner suggested the university reduce its 34-member board. Among other recommendations, Wagner said Penn State should eliminate the voting powers of the governor and university president as board members.

Separately, the board on Friday will discuss the recent dismissal of fencing coach Emmanuil Kaidanov in executive session, Trustee Anthony Lubrano said. University officials in August dismissed Kaidanov, who accumulated 12 NCAA championship wins over 31 years.

The board's agenda includes a proposed $750 million capital budget for fiscal year 2014-15 that includes building upgrades at the main and branch campuses.

Anna Orso is a freelance reporter based in State College.

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