Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Psu Board Won't Reopen Freeh Report Vote Follows Heated Debate over Sandusky Case

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Psu Board Won't Reopen Freeh Report Vote Follows Heated Debate over Sandusky Case

Article excerpt

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Alumni who long pushed Penn State University's board for a public vote up or down on the controversial Freeh report - a document they say unfairly tarred their school - finally got their wish Tuesday, if not the outcome they wanted.

After heated debate during which several audience members were ejected from the board meeting, trustees voted 17-9 against a resolution backed by alumni-elected trustees. It would have reopened the Freeh investigation, which in July 2012 concluded that top university leaders concealed information related to child sexual assaults by former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

It's unclear what comes next. But Tuesday's special meeting at the Nittany Lion Inn did little to heal deep board divisions that remain nearly three years after Sandusky was charged and later convicted of assaults against young boys, some on campus.

Emotions among trustees flared during the nearly hourlong debate, as they did in the crowd of 80 onlookers. Board chairman Keith Masser vowed to keep order and one woman, who subsequently tried to speak from the audience, was escorted from her seat by campus officers.

Several others were removed as they criticized the board, including one who shouted an obscenity before leaving and said "I'm proud to be kicked out!"

The school-commissioned report by the law firm of former FBI director Louis Freeh became a basis for landmark sanctions by the NCAA - including $60 million in fines, a postseason bowl ban and loss of football scholarships.

University trustees, without ever voting to accept the report, used it as a road map for implementing reforms that they said led to early lifting of some of those sanctions.

But critics contend the report was incomplete, inaccurate and part of a rush to judgment by a university so desperate to extract itself from scandal that it scapegoated campus leaders, including the late legendary football coach Joe Paterno, whom alumni say was wrongly accused in the report of concealing key facts related to Sandusky's crimes. In doing so, say alumni, the report served to damage the university's reputation. …

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