UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – University officials have rejected a new demand by some alumni-elected trustees seeking confidential and privileged information and documents created three years ago as part of the investigation by Judge Louis Freeh.
As reported in mid-December last year, some members of Penn State’s Board of Trustees requested to review confidential and privileged memoranda and notes of interviews between the Freeh team and Penn State employees and others.
Penn State President Eric Barron in a message to the University community on Dec. 19 pledged that the University would protect individual anonymity of the people interviewed “to the maximum extent possible” under the law. However, the University is now faced with “yet another demand” from trustees to have unrestricted access to confidential interview memoranda from the Freeh investigation.
Below is a message from Dr. Barron and Board of Trustees Chairman Keith Masser with an update on the current situation.
STATEMENT BY BARRON AND MASSER:
"Unfortunately, on April 15 we received yet another demand by a small group of Penn State trustees to have access to privileged and confidential information, including interviews with University employees and others developed as part of the investigation by Judge Louis Freeh three years ago.
"The trustees have refused to accept confidentiality measures offered as a compromise and threatened action if we do not comply. We have rejected their demand. As we have stated in receiving past requests, the University intends to honor the promises of confidentiality made to the faculty, staff and others who were interviewed as part of the Freeh investigation.
“In the last three years, Penn State University has worked incredibly hard to encourage members of our community to report wrongdoing, without fear of retaliation or criticism. This demand and the continuing efforts of these trustees will undo that progress. Additionally, we have seen public statements on social media vilifying individuals who have voiced different opinions on what happened, with some even calling for businesses to be boycotted. No one should be exposed to such abuse. University leadership also is concerned that the continuing efforts of these trustees to seek this information, especially given their refusal to agree to confidentiality protections, will have a serious negative effect on the level of cooperation the University will receive with the investigation of any matters that may arise in the future.”
To see the University’s full response to the demands of Trustees Ted Brown, Barbara Doran, Robert C. Jubelirer, Anthony Lubrano, Ryan J. McCombie, William F. Oldsey and Alice W. Pope, go to http://www.psu.edu/ur/2014/Response_Letter.pdf.