Penn State faculty to consider vote of 'no confidence'

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The Faculty Senate at Penn State University is expected next month to weigh a resolution calling for a vote of no confidence in, and the resignation of, the university's board of trustees.

The motion was introduced by a medical college physician during a Senate session Tuesday in which the university's new president, Rodney Erickson, confronted continuing questions about Penn State's response to the child sex abuse scandal.

The physician, Anthony Ambrose, said Penn State ought to have a new board that's "lean, clean and probably under the circumstances, pretty mean."

Mr. Erickson told faculty he is confident trustees would not try to sanitize an investigation into why law enforcement was not told of allegations that former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky sexually assaulted a boy in a campus shower in 2002.

In all, Mr. Sandusky is charged with sexually assaulting at least eight boys over 15 years.

The president pledged to ensure academics are the prominent face of the university following revelations that some on campus have said illustrate football's outsized influence.

And he said Penn State, which is donating bowl revenue to child abuse charities and plans to create a Center for the Protection of Children, was "prepared to do the right thing" as circumstances and needs of abuse victims become known.

"We're not going to run away from this issue," Mr. Erickson said. "Our responsibility now is to be a national leader."

Mr. Erickson told faculty he would make public the terms and conditions of his employment.

After the meeting, in response to a query from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette asking for his contract, Mr. Erickson said, "I don't have one yet but will make it public as soon as I do."

Despite his assurances during the meeting, faculty speakers continued to express skepticism over creation of an investigative committee whose members all have ties to Penn State and suggested the removal of "interim" from Mr. Erickson's title apparently was done without faculty consultation.

Dr. Ambrose, a Penn State College of Medicine physician and associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, said of the board, "either they didn't know what was going on" suggesting "they were remiss in their duties, or they did know what was going on which is 100 times worse."

A Senate official said the resolution would likely be a part of the panel's Jan. 24 meeting.


Bill Schackner: bschackner@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1977.


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