Penn St. board appears poised to vote on president
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) -- Penn State University trustees appear poised to vote on a new president Friday, almost two years to the day since its longtime president was ousted in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.
In a legal notice published Wednesday, the board announced a special meeting to consider the resolution of a personnel matter. According to the board's website, it is responsible for only one position at the school: the presidency.
University spokeswoman Lisa Powers said the board plans to hold a news conference following the meeting. The board also planned closed sessions on Thursday night and Friday morning.
No names of prospective presidential candidates had been confirmed as of Wednesday.
A group of trustees has been working with a headhunter firm to choose a successor to President Rodney Erickson, who plans to retire by June.
Graham Spanier, one of the nation's longest-serving college presidents, was ousted and veteran football coach Joe Paterno was fired in November 2011 in the chaotic days after Sandusky, a former defensive coach under Paterno, was arrested. Erickson, previously the university's provost and executive vice president, was appointed to succeed him.
Erickson led Penn State through an agonizing period of self-examination, including pending criminal charges against Spanier and two other university administrators for an alleged cover-up, NCAA sanctions that include a $60 million fine and a four-year ban on post-season football, and a backlash among angry alumni and students who believe Paterno was treated unfairly.
Paterno died of lung cancer in January 2012 and was never charged with a crime, though a Penn State-commissioned report faulted him and law enforcement officials questioned whether he acted appropriately. His family has sued the NCAA, saying it lacked authority to impose sanctions based on criminal matters that were not related to the sports it oversees.
On Monday, the university announced $59.7 million in out-of-court settlements with 26 young men who claimed they were molested by Sandusky, who is serving a 30- to 60-year prison term after being convicted of 45 counts of child sex abuse.