Penn State Scandal: Board Of Trustees Promises Investigation, 'Swift, Decisive Action'

Penn State's Board of Trustees released a statement Tuesday evening, stating its outrage about the details described in last weekend's grand jury presentment of Jerry Sandusky's alleged sexual abuse. 

Unlike Penn State president Graham Spanier's original statement on Saturday, which promised "unconditional support" and "complete confidence" in the university's athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz, who were both charged with perjury and failure to report Sandusky's alleged actions to the police, the Board of Trustees announced it will form a Special Committee to investigate "what failures occurred" and that "swift, decisive action" will be made.  

The Board's statement in full:

The Board of Trustees of The Pennsylvania State University is outraged by the horrifying details contained in the Grand Jury Report. As parents, alumni and members of the Penn State Community, our hearts go out to all of those impacted by these terrible events, especially the tragedies involving children and their families. We cannot begin to express the combination of sorrow and anger that we feel about the allegations surrounding Jerry Sandusky. We hear those of you who feel betrayed and we want to assure all of you that the Board will take swift, decisive action.

At its regular meeting on Friday, November 11, 2011, the Board will appoint a Special Committee, members of which are currently being identified, to undertake a full and complete investigation of the circumstances that gave rise to the Grand Jury Report. This Special Committee will be commissioned to determine what failures occurred, who is responsible and what measures are necessary to insure that this never happens at our University again and that those responsible are held fully accountable. The Special Committee will have whatever resources are necessary to thoroughly fulfill its charge, including independent counsel and investigative teams, and there will be no restrictions placed on its scope or activities. Upon the completion of this investigation, a complete report will be presented at a future public session of the Board of Trustees.

Penn State has always strived for honesty, integrity and the highest moral standards in all of its programs. We will not tolerate any violation of these principles. We educate over 95,000 students every year and we take this responsibility very seriously. We are dedicated to protecting those who are placed in our care. We promise you that we are committed to restoring public trust in the University.

At this point it doesn't seem likely that Spanier will emerge from this controversy with his job. Reports on Tuesday indicated that the Board would meet Wednesday to discuss Spanier's status; it's unclear if the decision to form a Special Committee changes those plans. 

Reports on Tuesday also indicated that a decision on Joe Paterno's future would come this week, but given the outpouring of student support for the coach and his decades of tenure with the university, it seems likely the Board may wait until the conclusion of their investigation before taking action. But again, that's just conjecture; this is obviously a fluid, and combustible, situation.

For more on the Jerry Sandusky investigation, visit Penn State blog Black Shoe Diaries.

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