SBD/November 8, 2011/Colleges

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  • PSU President Spanier Facing Growing Criticism For Role In Sandusky Scandal

    Front page of today's Harrisburg Patriot-News
    dedicated to an editorial on the Penn State scandal

    Penn State Univ. President Graham Spanier "faces growing criticism on and off campus about his role in an unfolding scandal involving" former PSU assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, according to Winnie Hu of the N.Y. TIMES. Two PSU officials, AD Tim Curley and interim Senior VP/Finance & Business Gary Schultz, "have stepped down in the scandal after they were charged with providing false testimony to a grand jury and failure to report allegations of suspected child abuse." Spanier was "not charged, but a grand jury said that he was made aware of a report of an incident in 2002." Spanier initially released a statement "expressing support for the two university officials, but has not commented further." Debate over Spanier’s actions -- or "perhaps lack of actions -- has angered and puzzled many students, faculty members and alumni." Hundreds of people have "signed an online petition and joined Facebook pages calling on Penn State’s board of trustees to fire Spanier" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/8). USA TODAY's Brady & Carey in a front-page piece note PSU student Dan Farbowitz yesterday "held a sign calling on" Spanier to step down. Farbowitz said, "It's fairly clear what went on. I believe the university leadership needs to be held accountable." Other signs critical of Spanier, Curley and football coach Joe Paterno were "posted in the HUB-Roberson Center, the common meeting place for students at the heart of the campus" (USA TODAY, 11/8).

    NEXT TO GO? In Pennsylvania, Charles Thompson notes state Attorney General Linda Kelly at a news conference yesterday "made plain that the university’s top public face, head football coach Joe Paterno, is not a target of the probe." But Kelly "failed to give that same level of public comfort" to Spanier. Kelly was "far less clear-cut about Spanier’s status, stating only that with regard to the president she could not go beyond what is in the grand jury presentment because the case is still active" (Harrisburg PATRIOT-NEWS, 11/8). The AP's Tim Dahlberg speculated that Spanier "will be the next to go" after Curley and Schultz. Dahlberg: "He did himself no favors by immediately leaping to the defense of his two accused subordinates in the sordid case, though he may have thought he had little choice" (AP, 11/7). The mother of one of Sandusky's alleged victims said, "To see that Graham Spanier is putting his unconditional support behind Curley and Shultz when he should be putting his support behind the victims, it just makes them victims all over again" (PENNLIVE.com, 11/7). YAHOO SPORTS' Dan Wetzel noted Spanier is "suddenly nowhere to be found." Wetzel wrote PSU is "desperate for a leader, desperate for some stability, desperate for an adult to stand up tall like the school always thought it would and Spanier is somewhere under a desk, hiding." Wetzel added, "All we've gotten from Spanier is a bizarre, inappropriate and heartless statement on Saturday" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 11/7).

    LEGAL MATTERS: In Pennsylvania, Cliff White reports Curley and Schultz yesterday surrendered to authorities and were "each released on $75,000 unsecured bail, meaning they don’t have to pay bail unless they fail to appear at any court-mandated hearing." They also were "required to surrender their passports." Curley and Schultz "did not answer questions when they entered or left the courtroom." Curley's attorney Caroline Roberto "called the perjury charge a red flag 'that the charges against Mr. Curley are weak'" (CENTRE DAILY TIMES, 11/8). Curley and Schultz were "not required to enter a plea." They have "denied any wrongdoing, and their lawyers are expected to seek to have the charges dismissed" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/8).

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