In the wake of the report closing the internal probe into Penn State’s handling of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse allegations, the university is now considering the more than 100 recommendations made by investigators.
They include specific suggestions to practice more transparency throughout the university, including its administration, athletic department, and Board of Trustees.
John Culhane, a law professor at Widener Law School in Dauphin County, said Penn State could restore its reputation and even become an example of transparency and good governance to other universities.
“Let’s look at the fact that Penn State very quickly commissioned an independent and well-respected person to conduct the investigation and issue the report, and then made the report public immediately in all its gory details,” Culhane said. “I mean I think they’ve already taken a huge first step.”
The so-called Freeh Report also suggested establishing new offices and administrative positions, like a University Ethics Officer and an independent Chief Compliance Officer, to ensure federal law is followed as far as reporting on-campus crimes goes.
Culhane said the true autonomy of those offices, and other recommended new positions, will be crucial if the various reforms are to make a difference at Penn State.
“You can set up any kind of procedures that you want and it can look great and the recommendations can be implemented,” Culhane said, “but I think what you probably need at least in the short term is some outside authority coming in.”