Sen. Mitchell Releases Third Quarterly Report, Praises Penn State's Progress
Penn State Integrity Monitor Sen. George Mitchell calls Penn State's online mandatory reporter and Clery Act training courses "thorough," and commended the university on its continued efforts toward being a national leader in compliance and child sexual abuse awareness.
In his third quarterly report released Friday, Mitchell details the actions taken by Penn State to comply with the consent decree it signed with the NCAA and the Big Ten in July. Mitchell was appointed to oversee Penn State's progress when the consent decree was enacted. The third quarterly report encompasses March, April and May 2013. In that time, the Penn State Board of Trustees met twice and made several changes to its structure and Penn State held events at several of its campuses in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Child Abuse Prevention Month.
The board of trustees voted to strip voting power from Penn State's president and Pennsylvania's governor. From now on, whoever holds those posts will be ex officio members. They also made amendment to the bylaws that include term limits for trustees – elected and appointed members can serve no more than 12 years.
In March, two new Penn State faculty members were hired as a result of the consent decree. According to Mitchell's report, Academics Integrity Officer Julie Del Giorno is responsible for developing, implementing, and overseeing policies and practices that ensure compliance with obligations of integrity, ethical conduct, and institutional control within the Athletics Department.
Del Giorno has received one direct athletics-related compliance complaint and two anonymous complaints and she is investigating and addressing them, Mitchell says.
Del Giorno reports to another new hire, Regis Becker, who is the first-ever director of ethics and compliance at Penn State. He is also chairman of the newly-formed Ethics and Compliance Council, which is comprised of 15 administrators and professors appointed by the senior vice president for finance and business.
Mitchell applauded the university for its efforts in implementing the recommendations in the Freeh report. In March, Penn State announced that of the 119 recommendations, Penn State has completed 76. The rest of the recommendations the university plans to implement are on track.
Online Mandatory Reporter and Clery Act training has been made available to all faculty and staff. Mitchell says a member of his staff took each course and found it to be thorough. At the end of the course, participants are required to take and pass a test, showing mastery of the class material.
To date, nearly 6,000 people have taken mandatory reporter training online. That's in addition to the 10,400 who completed it in a classroom setting, Mitchell says. There have been 30 people who have completed the Clery Act training online, while about 3,000 people completed in a classroom.
In April, various events were held around State College and at Penn State as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Child Abuse Prevention Month. At least seven commonwealth campuses hosted events, including workshops, courses, presentations by survivors of sexual violence, documentary screenings, candlelight vigils, several runs sponsored by student groups, rape aggression defense training offered by campus police, blue and teal ribbon displays around campuses and several "Take Back the Night" events.
Penn State President Rodney Erickson says Penn State's hiring for the Network on Child Protection and Well-Being is ongoing. Penn State plans to hire twelve new faculty members to advance the knowledge, practice, education and outreach to combat child abuse. The Network will work with the Penn State Hershey Center for the Protection of Children, Mitchell says.
Mitchell's fourth quarterly report will come out in August.