STATE COLLEGE - Penn State trustees will weigh the state auditor general's recommendations that the school's governing structure be changed in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal.
Trustees began two days of regularly-scheduled meetings Thursday. Auditor General Jack Wagner's recommendations, released Wednesday, included the removal of the university president as a voting trustee.
Trustee James Broadhurst said leaders spoke briefly with Wagner by phone before he released his report. They only received Wagner's full report late Wednesday or Thursday, he said.
"There's obviously a lot more information there," he said. "A lot more we need to address and talk about."
In his conversation with trustees, Wagner highlighted several points, including taking away the vote of the school president, Broadhurst said. The other main points, Broadhurst relayed to a trustees committee meeting Thursday, was to make the governor a nonvoting member; increase the number needed for a voting quorum from 13 to a majority of members; and fully extend the Right-to-Know law to Penn State and the other three state-related institutions of Lincoln, Pitt and Temple.
Wagner told reporters Wednesday his suggested changes might not have prevented what occurred after Sandusky, a former assistant football coach, was charged a year ago this month with abusing boys on and off campus. Still, Wagner called for "real and substantive reform.
Sandusky was convicted of sexually abusing 10 boys over 15 years. He is serving a 30- to 60-year prison sentence. Criminal charges also are pending against former high-ranking university officials, accused of helping to cover up complaints about Sandusky.
Trustees chairwoman Karen Peetz said the board is awaiting similar recommendations from the Faculty Senate. They've already received recommendations from former FBI director Louis Freeh, who led the university's internal investigation into the scandal.
"We need to decide at the end what we want to do" after more deliberation over all recommendations, Peetz said at the governance committee meeting Thursday. Potential changes will also be a main topic of a January retreat by the board.
Trustees on Thursday also discussed the process to replace President Rodney Erickson, who plans to step down when his current contract expires in June 2014. Peetz plans to serve as head of the search committee, and Penn State plans to vet search firms to help with the process.
The future of the status of emeritus trustees and whether the current 32-member board should be downsized - two other issues that have been targeted by critics - were also topics of discussion Thursday.
The committee did not make any final decisions. The full board meets Friday.
Trustee Carl Shaffer said he read some of Wagner's report and thought some points may not apply to Penn State. "This is a unique situation that a lot of it may not fit us," Shaffer said.
"We have everyone in the world telling us what to do, but this is our university," he said. "I think it's up to this board to decide how to take this university forward."
Responding to Shaffer, trustee Joel Myers said Penn State was in a unique situation to evaluate recommendations but "it doesn't mean we have to accept it all ... This is a period that's going to define Penn State's future after all that's happened. It's unique in that regard."