Integrity monitor's quarterly report outlines Penn State's continued progress

February 27, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State has been successful in its continued implementation of initiatives undertaken in response to the recommendations of the Freeh Report, according to the 10th quarterly report tracking Penn State's progress in meeting the goals of the Athletics Integrity Agreement (AIA) signed by Penn State, the NCAA and the Big Ten Conference. The complete text of the report, including information about actions Penn State has taken, is available here.

In issuing the report Sen. George Mitchell, who was named in 2012 by the NCAA as the independent monitor for Penn State to oversee the AIA, announced he would be withdrawing from the position for personal reasons unrelated to Penn State. He appointed Charles P. Scheeler, senior counsel at Mitchell’s law firm DLA Piper, as monitor. Scheeler has served as Mitchell’s principal assistant and lead member of the monitoring team. Mitchell said he would be available to Scheeler for consultation.

“It has been a pleasure for me to work with all of the parties in this matter.  I am grateful to the NCAA and the Big Ten for placing their confidence in me at the outset,” Mitchell said. “I also am grateful to the many Penn State officials, past and present, with whom I have worked. Penn State has made a determined and good-faith effort to comply with its commitments under the Athletics Integrity Agreement. This has been a challenging time for everyone involved. But I believe that as a result of this process Penn State will emerge better and stronger than ever.”

In his second annual report in September 2014, Mitchell said that should the University continue its progress he would consider recommending in his subsequent annual report that the NCAA and Big Ten conclude the monitoring earlier than planned. Mitchell said Scheeler would address the issue in the third annual report, due in September.

"The University would like to express its appreciation for Sen. Mitchell's role in and contributions to the University's implementation of the Athletics Integrity Agreement, both directly and as the independent evaluator of the University's efforts,” Penn State President Eric Barron said. “We believe that implementation of the requirements of the Athletics Integrity Agreement has resulted in significant improvements in policies and procedures aimed at protecting and enhancing safety, ethics, integrity and compliance and we look forward to continuing to work with Charlie Scheeler in his role as the independent monitor."

During the past quarter, Mitchell’s team made multiple visits to Penn State’s University Park campus to meet with a wide array of University administrators and other leaders, and several councils and working groups.

Among activities reviewed by Mitchell during this reporting quarter:

- The University’s Task Force on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment published its 267-page report, offering 18 recommendations relating to Title IX oversight, student conduct process, reporting obligations, education and awareness and victim resources. The recommendations were accepted by Barron on Feb. 17.

- Following the implementation of a new child protective services law in Pennsylvania, the University issued updated policies, procedures and training programs for the protection of minors.

- The Youth Programs Council is reviewing University Policy AD 39 “Minors Involved in University-Sponsored Programs” and considering additional revisions for clarification in response to questions from staff. The council has identified policy improvements and a youth programs guidebook as priorities for 2015.

Additionally the Office of Ethics and Compliance in conjunction with Continuing Education held a statewide program for staff overseeing youth programs to educate them on changes to Pennsylvania’s child abuse laws, University policies and resources available for compliance with changes.

- Ethics Officer Timothy Balliett began town hall meetings across the University for public discussion of the Penn State Values. He also has begun working with units to maximize use of data and analysis from the values and culture survey. Additionally, he is collaborating with Damon Sims, vice president for student affairs, on development of a Center for Character, Conscience and Public Purpose. The center would be a resource to sponsor speakers and house visiting scholars and student interns to organize civic engagement activities and promote ethical leadership.

- Mass emails were added to the established text messages and postings for communicating “Timely Warnings” on campus as related to the Clery Act.

- In efforts to complete recommendations of the Freeh Report, Penn State continued to implement a Human Resources Information System and institute physical security measures at athletic and recreational facilities.

- Athletics Integrity Officer Julie Del Giorno continued to provide ethics awareness training to teams and athletic department staff. She also received five new complaints through the ethics and compliance reporting hotline, all of which are currently under investigation.

“This reporting period, we observed significant activity in the Office of Ethics and Compliance to bring Penn State’s child protection policies and training into conformity with new Pennsylvania laws that took effect on Dec. 31, 2014” Mitchell said. “We further observed the timely completion of the work of the Task Force on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment, which will remain a topic of significance on campus throughout the coming year. Penn State’s administration has remained fully cooperative throughout this time.”

In the coming quarter, Scheeler’s team will continue to monitor the process of implementing the many changes to Penn State’s policies, procedures and trainings related to child protection, as well as background check obligations. They will continue to observe socialization of the Penn State Values, implementation of the 18 recommendations of the Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Task Force and construction of the Human Resources Information System.

“Penn State’s administrative leadership has reiterated to me personally, and to the public, its commitment to complete and sustain both the many compliance improvements recommended in the Freeh Report as well as independent initiatives the University has undertaken over the past two years,” Mitchell said.

Last Updated May 24, 2019