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President Knapp Forms Task Force to Assess Report on Penn State
August 30, 2012
University task force is reviewing the Freeh report to examine GW’s policies and procedures.
Last month, an independent investigation at Penn State led by former FBI Director Louis Freeh found widespread weaknesses in leadership, compliance, governance and culture, including an alleged failure to protect children from sexual abuse. The report concludes with 120 recommendations.
Immediately after the release of the report on July 12, GW President Steven Knapp convened a task force to examine the university’s policies, guidelines, practices and procedures in light of the report’s findings and recommendations. The task force is looking at a variety of compliance and operational issues to ensure that the university not only has sound policies in place but that they are documented and enforced. In 2007, Dr. Knapp also established a task force to assess campus safety and security following the release of reports on the tragedy at Virginia Tech.
“There are lessons to be learned from the experiences of others,” said Dr. Knapp. “In any large and complex institution, there will always be discoveries that point to the need for better systems, more communication and a renewed emphasis on core values.”
“As I said in a message to the George Washington community last fall, we all need to ask the tough questions and take on the responsibility, when necessary, of reporting incidents that are inconsistent with our shared values,” he said.
The task force examining the Penn State report is led by Beth Nolan, senior vice president and general counsel. Its steering committee members include Lorraine Voles, vice president for external relations; Lou Katz, executive vice president and treasurer; Forrest Maltzman, senior vice provost; Barbara Porter, chief of staff for the Office of the President; and Aristide Collins, vice president and secretary of the university.
“GW is committed to learning from this experience,” said Ms. Nolan. “This report presents an opportunity to measure our practices against a high standard and to step back and reassess why we do things the way we do.” The task force is not only examining how we protect those who live on and visit our campus but also taking the opportunity to examine more broadly university policies and practices, she said.
The steering committee is meeting weekly to examine the recommendations outlined in the Freeh report. The recommendations fall into eight areas: culture, administration and general counsel, compliance, board of trustees, athletic department, university police department, programs for non-student minors and access to facilities, and monitoring change and measuring improvement.
Task force members have been soliciting input from people throughout the university and plan to collect and analyze information this semester. They will conclude with a report to be published sometime next semester.
If you have input for the task force, click here.