Penn State trustees hear criticism from public

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Students and alumni gave an earful this afternoon to Penn State University's trustees, who held their first public comment session during today's board meeting.

The seven speakers -- who were held strictly to their time limits, which drew boos from the standing-room-only crowd -- questioned why the board has begun to implement recommendation from the internal investigation unveiled this summer without further scrutinizing that report, and sought data on the costs stemming from the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal.

Board president Karen Peetz said there's no plan for a detailed review of the report compiled by former FBI director Louis Freeh, prompting some groans and chuckles from the audience.

Other speakers included a current student, Aaron Dillen, who also raised questions about the Freeh report.

"It's not the students bringing shame to the university, it's all of you, except for the new trustees," Mr. Dillen said.

Ms. Peetz, president Rodney Erickson and other officials responded to most of the speakers, including to Cecelia Masella, who was critical of what she described as discrepancies among public comments on whether the NCAA had been considering shutting down Penn State's football program as part of its sanctions.

"There are many thousands of individuals like myself who cannot heal until truth triumphs," Ms. Masella said. "We are not going away."

An eighth speaker had been signed up but cancelled, Ms. Peetz said, due to a death in the family. When the earlier speakers had finished, former Pittsburgh Steeler Franco Harris quickly rose and said into the microphone: "I'd like to pinch-hit for number 8."

As he began to speak, Ms. Peetz interrupted him, saying that he would need to register like the other speakers did in order to be allowed time to address the meeting. They spoke over each other for a minute until the microphone was shut off.

Also during this afternoon's meeting, the board tabled an effort to rename a campus child-care center that was named last year for former university vice president Gary Schultz. The ex-administrator was charged, along with former athletic director Tim Curley, with failing to report an incident of child abuse and misleading the grand jury investigating Mr. Sandusky.

Trustee Anthony Lubrano read a letter from Mr. Schultz's attorney, who asked them to wait on taking action so as not to influence his client's trial, set to begin in January.

Ms. Peetz also announced that a search for a new university president will begin in November, and that details of the process would be available at that time.

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Laura Olson: or 717-787-4254.


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