Following Freeh report, Penn State trustees make some moves toward transparency

    Penn State’s board of trustees is wasting no time in implementing some items on a list of 119 recommendations from the Freeh report.

    On Friday, the board approved changes to its governance and level of openness. The panel now will allow public comment at its meetings for up to 10 people who register two days in advance.

    Chairwoman Karen Peetz says it’s a response to the investigation that revealed the school’s lack of transparency allowed its most powerful leaders to conceal what they knew about child sex abuse allegations against Jerry Sandusky.

    “We will consider a number of immediate next steps with an objective of ensuring that a collapse in leadership of this magnitude never happens again,” Peetz said.

    The board also has approved a reduction to trustee term limits — from 15 years to 12 years.

    Also Friday, Penn State President Rodney Erickson elaborated on his vision of how the university’s board of trustees will work with his administration.

    The internal investigation into the university’s handling of the Sandusky scandal slammed the board for being overconfident in its ex-president Graham Spanier.

    The report alleges Spanier lied about what he knew of the allegations.

    Erickson says he hopes trustees feel free to speak not just to him, but to any members of his council and administration.

    “You should not feel that everything has to go through me as a funnel. Obviously I want to know and be looped in on any important aspects and likewise, I commit to loop you in on anything I think is important and deserving of your attention,” he said.

    A trustee committee chair reported three civil lawsuits have been filed against Penn State by alleged victims of child sex abuse by Sandusky who were not included in the criminal case against the former defensive coordinator.

    At its Friday meeting in Scranton, the board also approved a tuition increase of 2.9 percent for in-state students at the main State College campus and a 1.9 percent hike at satellite campuses.

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