"Moving forward" was the oft-repeated phrase of the day at the first regular Penn State board of trustees meeting to be held since the school was enveloped in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case last fall. At the Friday gathering, University president Rod Erickson said the school is taking steps to move past the scandal.
"I can't thank our faculty staff and students enough for the work that they've been doing, moving the university forward in the midst of everything that's happened," said University President Rod Erickson.
Board trustee Ken Frazier said the special investigation into how Penn State handled the matter has already produced recommendations to change the school's policies regarding minors and reporting suspected abuse.
"It may take years to fully come to terms with this tragedy," said Frazier, "but one element of doing so is to understand how the alleged acts could have happened here at Penn State, where the breakdowns occurred. Who knew what, when, and what changes we can make going forward to prevent such anguish."
Former FBI director and former federal judge Louis Freeh is leading the investigation.
Penn State is taking its own steps to move past the scandal. It has formed a task force on a faculty-led institute on child abuse, and a hotline for reporting suspected abuses.
The scandal continues to get attention at the highest political level. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett led the trustees in a round of applause for what he called the students' efforts to calm the school after beloved head football coach Joe Paterno was fired.
The meeting comes after a week in which trustees gave several interviews where they defended their decision to fire Paterno for not doing enough to tell police about an allegation of child sexual abuse. Trustees have been quoted faulting former school president Graham Spanier for failing to lead the school during a time of crisis.
At the same meeting Karen B. Peetz was elecyed to chair the Board of Trustees. She succeeds Steve A. Garban who decided to leave the board altogether. The board also elected Keith E. Masser to the post of vice chair. That position hand been held by John P. Surma.