Penn State Receives Accreditation Warning
Penn State has been reminded that there's a third word in its name: University.
Penn State has been reminded that there’s a third word in its name: University.
AP (“Penn State receives accreditation warning“):
Penn State has been put on notice by an accrediting organization that says the university’s status is “in jeopardy” based on recent developments in the Jerry Sanduskychild sex abuse scandal.
The Middle States Commission on Higher Education, which accredits universities in the Mid-Atlantic region, cited information in the school’s internal investigation led by former FBI director Louis Freeh and the severe penalties imposed by the NCAA over the school’s handling of molestation allegations against the former assistant football coach, who was convicted in June of 45 child sexual abuse counts.
In an Aug. 8 notice, the commission said that Penn State remains accredited while “on warning” but it wants a monitoring report submitted by the end of next month detailing steps taken to ensure full compliance with governmental requirements, that the university’s mission is being carried out, that the commission will be fully informed and that Penn State is complying with standards on leadership and governance as well as integrity.
The commission also wants the report to address the university’s ability to bear financial obligations stemming from “the investigation and related settlements, etc.” It said “a small team visit” will be made, a standard practice “to verify institutional status and progress.”
Penn State officials on Monday expressed confidence that they would be able to address all concerns expressed by the commission.
University president Rodney Erickson said that the commission “wants us to document that steps we have already taken and are planning to take will ensure our full compliance with its requirements.” He said he was also confident that officials would be able to “fully demonstrate our financial stability.”
I doubt that this will be more than a shot across the bow. The university has fired and replaced the key decision-makers who were part of the scandal and seems to be moving in the right direction. But this is a reminder that, in addition to bringing shame on an athletic program that was once unassailable, that enabling Jerry Sandusky’s molestation of children was a failure of a university’s fundamental duty to safeguard the students entrusted to it.