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PSU chooses president



Published: Tue, February 18, 2014 @ 12:00 a.m.

Associated Press

STATE COLLEGE, Pa.

Eric Barron, a former professor and dean at Penn State University and president of Florida State University, was chosen Monday to lead Pennsylvania’s largest university as it continues grappling with fallout from the Jerry Sandusky scandal. He’ll bring with him the experience of managing a major state university known as much for its storied athletic program as its academic mission, as well as the fallout from a sex-abuse scandal with ties to big-time college football.

Penn State trustees unanimously approved the selection at a special meeting in State College after a 15-month search process in which university officials had kept the new president’s identity secret, refusing to confirm whether Barron was even being considered until the meeting began.

Barron, who worked at Penn State for 20 years, including four as dean of its College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, will succeed President Rodney Erickson, who plans to retire when his contract expires in June. Barron is getting a five-year contract worth $1 million a year and will start in May, if not sooner.

Erickson, Penn State’s former provost and executive vice president, was named president in November 2011 after then-president Graham Spanier was forced out after child molestation accusations against Sandusky, a former assistant football coach. Sandusky is serving a 30- to 60-year state prison sentence after being convicted in 2012 of 45 counts for the sexual abuse of 10 boys. Spanier was later charged in an alleged cover-up.

Barron called the Sandusky scandal painful and saddening but focused on the changes it has brought.


Comments

1JudyJones(148 comments)posted 10 months, 1 week ago

Statement by Barbara Dorris of SNAP of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-862-7688, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)

Already there's talk of Penn State's new president wanting or helping to “heal” the university. That's misguided.

Job one is preventing future cover ups and helping prosecutors convict the ousted school staffers who face upcoming criminal trials for their role in enabling or hiding jerry Sandusky's crimes.

Eric Barron has a simple choice. He can do nothing, and assume that justice will be done. Or he can act responsibly and use school resources and his bully pulpit to beg anyone else with information or suspicions about the crimes of Spaner, Schultz and Curley to call law enforcement immediately. (If Spaner, Schultz and Curley skate on some technicality, Barron's hopes for healing will experience a severe setback.)

After that, Barron's second job is healing those hurt by the actions and inactions of Jerry Sandusky, Graham Spaner and other now-former university staffers. Their pain – which is no doubt on-going, despite Sandkusy's conviction and civil settlements – should still be high on the university head's priority list.

Those who were directly, physically and emotionally hurt as kids take precedence over those who were indirectly upset as adults by this horrific scandal.

Then, and only then, should Barron focus on “healing” the university.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 15,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)

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