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Athletic Integrity Report Applauds Penn State's Progress

by on June 01, 2015 3:00 PM

In his first report as Penn State's new independent athletic integrity monitor, attorney Charles Scheeler gives the university high marks.

In the report released Friday, Scheeler praises Penn State's new efforts to combat sexual misconduct on campus and comply with new child protection laws in Pennsylvania.

He also says the university continues to fulfill the terms of the Athletic Integrity Agreement between Penn State, the NCAA and the Big Ten signed in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

Scheeler's predecessor, former United States Senator George Mitchell, wrote in a previous report that Penn State might not need to continue the quarterly monitoring reports until 2017 as originally planned. Scheeler, who worked with Mitchell before taking over as monitor in February, says he will address that possibility in his next report.

One of the biggest challenges for Penn State this quarter was keeping up with new laws passed by the state legislature.

Because of these laws, Penn State and other universities must now adhere to stricter policies for background checks for employees who work with children. Universities must also offer more comprehensive training on child protection policies and legal requirements.

Scheeler says  Penn State began running background checks in February for employees who regularly work with children. By April, the university had started running checks on staffers who support summer youth programs and all new hires. Penn State's youth programs compliance specialist has also met with more than 600 university employees, providing training on the new child protection laws.

Schleer also applauds the university's new efforts to curb sexual assaults.

Penn State is currently implementing several recommendations from its task force on sexual assault and sexual harassment. These projects included more comprehensive sexual misconduct training for employees and students and implementing a new university hotline for misconduct.

Scheeler also notes that Penn State has started a new "investigative model" for handling reports of sexual assaults. "It is similar to the type of investigative model endorsed by the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault as 'encouraging reporting and bolstering trust in the process, while at the same time safeguarding an alleged perpetrator's right to notice and to be heard,'" Scheeler writes.

"Penn State continued to fulfill its obligations under the [Athletics Integrity Agreement] and to follow through with efforts undertaken in support of the University's plan for continuous improvement," Scheeler concludes.

 

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Michael Martin Garrett is a reporter and editor for StateCollege.com who covers local government, the courts, the arts and writes the Keeping the Faith column. He's a Penn State alumnus, a published poet and the bassist in a local indie rock band.
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