The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

September 14, 2012

PSU trustees vow close look at recommended changes

STATE COLLEGE — Penn State trustees on Friday promised to move forward with a detailed evaluation of changes recommended by former FBI director Louis Freeh in response to the child sex-abuse scandal that tarnished the university’s reputation.

At the same time, chairwoman Karen Peetz said the board wouldn’t do a detailed analysis of Freeh’s scathing report, which concluded that the late football coach Joe Paterno and three other school officials concealed child molestation allegations against retired defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. Paterno’s family and the officials have firmly denied the findings, which also have been questioned by many alumni.

“The four people spoken about most in the report, we’re certainly not going to take a position on their guilt or innocence,” trustee Mark Dambly later told reporters. “We’re going to allow that process to play out in the courts.”

University leaders faced pointed questions from the public about their handling of Freeh’s report and the resulting NCAA sanctions that punished the school’s venerable football program.

The trustees allotted time for public comment for the first time at one of their meetings, part of what trustees have said was a concerted effort to increase transparency.

Tuition increase

Penn State President Rodney Erickson told school trustees Friday the university would be able to keep the tuition increase next year to 3.3 percent if the Legislature approves its request for a 3 percent increase in state appropriations.

Erickson said the increase would amount to a $10.6 million increase to bring the appropriations level to $289.5 million.

Currently, state appropriations make up about 6 percent of Penn State’s budget of roughly $4.3 billion, and that share has slowly declined in recent years.

Child center renaming

The trustees voted to table a proposal to rename a child care center on campus that bears the name of former school administrator Gary Schultz, one of the school officials named in Freeh’s report. Schultz is awaiting trial on charges he lied to a grand jury about Sandusky and didn’t properly report suspected child abuse.

Trustee Anthony Lubrano read an email sent to trustees from Schultz’s attorney asking the board to wait on taking action until after his January trial.

Another trustee, Ira Lubert, said renaming the facility now could influence a trial.

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