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Erickson to Field PSU Faculty Questions; Senate to Discuss Resolution Anew

on December 05, 2011 3:43 PM

For the first time as Penn State's new president, Rodney Erickson will stand for questions Tuesday before the university's full Faculty Senate.

The Senate is to convene at 1:30 p.m. in the Kern Graduate Building for a regularly scheduled meeting. Its agenda has been overhauled in light of the upheaval at Penn State over the past four weeks.

Senate meetings normally include a time for the university president to respond to questions. But the question-and-answer period Tuesday is expected to last longer than usual.

"I will make a short presentation, then stand for questions," Erickson said during a town-hall forum last week, previewing his Faculty Senate appearance.

After its session with Erickson, the Senate will go on to talk anew about the resolution it passed Nov. 18.

That resolution, among several measures, called on the university to form a wholly independent investigative committee. Its chair and the majority of its members should have no affiliation, past or present, with Penn State, according to the resolution. (The full text of the resolution is available via this Senate page.)

Several days after that resolution materialized, a university board subcommittee announced the retention of former FBI Director Louis Freeh and his firm. Freeh will lead an independent, university-financed investigation at Penn State.

Freeh's effort will focus on the circumstances surrounding the alleged child sexual abuse that came to light in November, as well as the cover-up alleged by state prosecutors, Freeh has said.

However, it remains unclear whether most Faculty Senate members think the Freeh-led investigation will fulfill the spirit of their Nov. 18 resolution.

Specifically, Faculty Senate members are expected to discuss Tuesday how the Senate might "provide collaborative leadership ... to enhance transparency across the university and the effectiveness of shared governance," according to an agenda.

Faculty Senate meetings are open to the public. The university trustees named Erickson Penn State's 17th president effective Nov. 9, upon the departure of former President Graham Spanier.

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