The recent release of the Freeh Report marked one of the most sorrowful days in what has been without a doubt the most difficult chapter in our University's history. I am certain that many of you have read or heard about the report's findings, and you may have seen President Rodney Erickson's recent message on this topic. As the Chairman of the Board of Trustees since January of this year, I would like to also share my perspective on the Freeh report and our path forward as a Penn State family.
Clearly, no one has been hurt more than the victims of Mr. Sandusky's conduct and we must not lose sight of that fact. Additionally, as members of the University community, we all feel a personal sadness, disappointment and indeed, anger, over the failures of our leadership.
The Board of Trustees, as the group that has paramount accountability for overseeing and ensuring the proper functioning and governance of the University, accepts full responsibility for the failures cited in the Freeh Report. The Board, in cooperation with the Administration, will take every action to ensure that an event like this never happens again in our University community.
I want you to know that I see with great clarity that the future for this institution can be stronger than it has ever been before. Implementing the recommendations called for in the Freeh Report is one of the first steps we will take as we work to move forward. These recommendations include structural changes for the way the University is governed to ensure greater transparency and collaboration. President Erickson and I have appointed a special task force composed of both Board of Trustees members and senior members of his administration to ensure these recommendations are enacted with care and urgency, and positive changes have already begun to occur.
At the same time, progress will be about much more than responding to recommendations, but about evaluating the fundamental culture that is Penn State. As we move forward, we will work to rebuild a culture that will be shaped by the highest commitment to academics and athletics — but ultimately, a culture of transparency and accountability that will be defined by the actions of men and women, in all positions across the university, committed to always doing the right thing without fail.
Now more than ever, the Board of Trustees is open to hearing your thoughts and concerns, and can be reached at BOT@psu.edu. I also will continue to share updates with you via http://progress.psu.edu/ and http://www.psu.edu/trustees/.
Karen B. Peetz ’77
Chairman, Penn State Board of Trustees