DUNMORE, Pa. – While the monuments to and imagery of the late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno continue to be in evidence on the State College campus, PSU Board of Trustees chair Karen Peetz said Friday there is no need for a timeline or deadline on decisions about whether the school will remove Paterno's image and name.
Former FBI director Louis Freeh's report on the child sex abuse scandal at the school said Paterno's inaction toward Jerry Sandusky's crimes helped conceal Sandusky's activities, further clouding the image of college football's winningest coach, who died in January.
Paterno's name is on a campus library he and his wife, Sue, donated to years ago. There is a bronze statue in his likeness outside Beaver Stadium. Even the university creamery has an ice cream flavor, "Peachy Paterno" named after the coach.
"We feel honoring coach Paterno is a sensitive issue," Peetz said after a meeting of the school's Board of Trustees on PSU's satellite campus outside Scranton, Pa. "It's going to take a lot of dialogue with the community. We want to be reflective and take our time. There's not a timeline or deadline. That's not necessary. It's going to take a lot of discussion."
PSU president Rodney Erickson said some talks have been held about "some modest renovations" to the Lasch Football Building, where some of Sandusky's assaults took place, and he said there have been substantial security updates there and at other athletics facilities.
The board and the administration have each set up task forces to review the 119 recommendations the Freeh report contained, and Peetz said she would like to have a structure in place by the board's September meeting for tackling the recommendations.
"As a parent," she said, "the report showed everyone is responsible for everyone else's children."
The NCAA has launched an investigation of the athletics department in the wake of the scandal, and Erickson said: "We'll have an opportunity to talk with the NCAA over the course of the next couple weeks. The immediate task is to begin to respond to the Nov. 17 letter I received from (NCAA) President (Mark) Emmert.
Now that the Freeh report has been completed, the school is in "better position" to respond to the NCAA, Erickson said.
Also Friday, trustee Ira Lubert, who chairs a subcommittee on legal matters and liability, told the board that the school thus far has three civil lawsuits pending against it for the failure to protect children from being sexually assaulted, and he said others can be expected.
The school is attempting to resolve any suits "in a fair manner" and will be in contact with attorneys for the plaintiffs, he said.
Additionally, Lubert said, former assistant coach Mike McQueary has filed a writ of summons with the intention to file a whistleblower lawsuit against the school. McQueary, who was not retained by new coach Bill O'Brien, said he witnessed Sandusky assaulting a boy in a university shower room in 2001 and told Paterno the next day. Paterno told then-athletics director Tim Curley and university vice president Gary Schultz of the incident but did not go to law enforcement authorities.
"We do not believe Mr. McQueary's claims have any merit," Lubert said.
Like the title says should Penn State lose its football program after covering up the fact that Jerry Sandusky was raping children on campus for 15 years? Also, should Joe Paterno's name and images be removed from campus since it was confirmed he knew about these happening and never went to law enforcement?
I'm going to say yes to both of those questions. Penn State put more value in a game of ******* football over the safety and welfare of its students by letting a known pedophile walk among them for 15 years. Paterno knew about it and did not as so much as call the police.
Why? Because it would be embarrassing to the school. Forget his achievements as football coach of the Nittany Lions. When you do nothing when someone you know is a danger to children you are nothing but trash. It really is the kind of thing that makes you lose all hope in humanity especially when some people are still defending Paterno as if he was a saint that is being wrongfully persecuted. These people had some screwed up priorities and should get hit where it hurts. Thoughts?