Penn State adopts three-quarters of recommendations in Freeh report

mdawson@centredaily.comMarch 27, 2013 

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Louis Freeh addresses the media during a press conference at the Westin Hotel in Philadelphia on Thursday, July 12, 2012. He released the findings of his investigation into the Penn State scandal.

CHRISTOPHER WEDDLE — CDT photo Buy Photo

— Penn State has implemented almost three-quarters of Louis Freeh’s 119 recommendations for improving governance and safety in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal that tarnished the university’s reputation.

University officials reported Tuesday that 83 of the recommendations have been put in place or are ongoing. The university has promised to implement all applicable recommendations by the end of the year.

In the latest update, Penn State said it will not adopt one recommendation in which Freeh suggested splitting off the Office of Human Resources from the supervision of the vice president for finance and business.

Penn State said that division was not necessary because the human resources office’s top manager, Susan Basso, was promoted from associate vice president to vice president. Basso will report to the finance and business vice president, and not the president, as Freeh had recommended. However, Basso will serve on the president’s council.

Earlier this month, the university moved to fulfill one of the recommendations by hiring Regis Becker as the first director of university ethics and compliance. He begins work in April.

Penn State also completed a recommendation on supplying the human resources office with information about Clery Act compliance. The university has made resources on the Clery Act and other policies available online.

The university already had implemented dozens of the recommendations that included restricting access to athletics facilities, requiring training to recognize signs of child abuse, and adopting policies such as one that requires employees to notify safety officials “as soon as practical” if an administrator is suspected of wrongdoing.

The NCAA required Penn State to adopt the recommendations as part of the consent decree that set forth the sanctions. Penn State said it will get approval from the NCAA and the Big Ten on those recommendations that officials do not plan to adopt, such as the one regarding the vice president for human resources.

Former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell is assigned to oversee Penn State’s progress in implementing the recommendations and provisions of an athletics integrity agreement with the NCAA and Big Ten. Mitchell has given Penn State glowing reports, with the most recent earlier this month.

On Monday, NCAA President Mark Emmert praised Penn State for its work on adopting the governance and safety reforms, but he said the sanctions will not be lifted despite the progress.

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