PSU on Pace in Implementing Freeh Recommendations

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by GENARO C. ARMAS, Associated Press

STATE COLLEGE Pa. — Penn State has completed about three-quarters of the 119 recommendations to strengthen university policies from the former FBI director who led the school’s investigation into the Jerry Sandusky child sex Jerry Sandusky child sex  -Search using:News, Most Recent 60 DaysBiographies Plus Newsabuse scandal, a top official told the school’s faculty Tuesday.

Rob Pangborn, the interim executive vice president and provost, told a meeting of the Faculty Senate that the school was “on pace” in studying or implementing the recommendations released last July by Louis Freeh.

Penn State is expected to provide a more detailed progress report later this week.

Freeh’s recommendations covered areas including campus safety, training and governance. Penn State trustees have said they hoped to either implement Freeh’s suggestions by the end of 2013 or provide reasons why they chose not to make the change.

Freeh’s report is one of a number making recommendations for overhauling university governance and policies.

The Faculty Senate hopes soon to deliver to trustees its recommendations for reforms, said John Nichols, a professor emeritus of communications chairing a faculty committee looking at changes.

Trustees have also received recommendations from former Auditor General Jack Wagner and state Rep. Scott Conklin, whose district includes State College. Conklin, who used Wagner’s report as a blueprint, is sponsoring legislation that proposes changes that include reducing the size of the current 32-member board and fully extending the state’s Right-to-Know law to the school.

The Faculty Senate recommendations will “take a different approach than a lot of the other external reports,” Nichols said. “We understand the university, not somebody parachuting in from the outside.”

The pending faculty report is informational only, but intended to complement other reports, Nichols said.

“It’s more informed,” he added. “That it’s rooted … in the understanding of higher education. It’s rooted in the understanding of how the university actually works.”

The oversight, power structure and communications between leaders at Penn State have been scrutinized in the fallout from the scandal. Freeh in his report accused former Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno and three former school administrators of covering up allegations against Sandusky, who was sentenced last fall to at least 30 years in prison.

The retired assistant coach had been convicted last summer of 45 criminal counts, including allegations on and off campus.

Paterno died last January at age 85. His family and the former officials have vehemently denied Freeh’s conclusions.

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