State legislators propose hearings on PSU reforms to prod university to act
HARRISBURG — Saying proposed changes at Penn State University have stalled, Senate Democrats on Wednesday suggested hearings this summer to speed consideration of reform legislation.
Proposals to modify Penn State's board of trustees and bring it fully under provisions of the state's Right-to-Know Law emerged during the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal 19 months ago. Sandusky, a former assistant football coach, was sentenced in October to more than 30 years in prison for molesting 10 boys, incidents that shamed the university.
Sens. John Yudichak of Luzerne County, Andy Dinniman of Chester County and Rob Teplitz of Dauphin County urged Republican lawmakers and the university to work with them to enact significant changes.
“Penn State supports full accountability to the commonwealth and public for appropriated funds that support its educational mission,” spokeswoman Lisa Powers said. “We know this issue will be the subject of ongoing discussions by legislators, in both the House and Senate, and we expect to be fully engaged in those discussions, along with our colleagues from the other state-related universities, in order to find the best common ground for access and accountability.”
Senate Republicans did not immediately respond.
Dinniman introduced legislation to reduce the size of Penn State's board and expand the Ethics Act, which bars public officials from using their positions to gain financially, to cover board members at state-funded schools.
“Everyone spoke. Across the aisle, everyone said it's time to do reform, but reform was not done,” Dinniman said.
Teplitz worked with former Auditor General Jack Wagner of Beechview on a report detailing issues with the board and recommending reforms. He said few recommendations were implemented.
In May, Penn State trustees approved term limits for board members, removed the Penn State president and state's governor as voting members of the board, and instituted an expanded conflict-of-interest policy.
Lawmakers need to do more, Yudichak said.
Penn State trustee Anthony Lubrano, who won a seat on the board last year after campaigning on a reform platform, has criticized the slow pace of change.
“I have been disappointed with the lack of progress on substantive reform such as board size, composition and term limits. I am also troubled by the lack of action on the Wagner recommendations,” Lubrano said.
Josh Fatzick is an intern with the Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents Association.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Running marathons labor of loves for N.Y. man
- Proposed rule on noise limits for oil, gas sites in Pa. pleases none
- Facebook still hangs onto teen users but is losing some of its luster
- Pennsylvania project to remedy coal refuse slurry ponds beside popular trail
- Energy Spotlight: Jaime Johnson
- Pirates suffer 3rd straight walk-off loss in St. Louis, 3-2 in 14 innings
- Kaboly: Steelers fill biggest needs by drafting defensive players
- Steelers are banking on linebackers to improve strength of defense
- The power of Marcellus: Real & impressive
- Winning a tradition for Freeport track team
- How to maintain fitness with Interim exercises