GW looks into policies following Penn State scandal

President Stephen Knapp
University President Steven Knapp formed a task force in July to review the missteps in Penn State’s sex abuse scandal that surfaced last fall. Hatchet File Photo

Updated Aug. 30, 2012 at 4:21 p.m.

The University is reviewing its policies and practices this fall in the wake of the July Freeh report that outlined Pennsylvania State University’s failure to prevent a sex abuse scandal.

GW’s Task Force to Assess Report on Penn State has spent two months reviewing the Freeh report – which detailed a series of Penn State failures in leadership  – and comparing it to GW procedures, but only announced the review Thursday in a release.

“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,” according to the release. The group will release their own findings sometime this fall.

University President Steven Knapp launched the Task Force July 12, “immediately” after the report was released, according to the release.

Senior Vice President and General Counsel Beth Nolan, who is heading the evaluation, said in the release that the report offered a chance to look at ground-level safety procedures and broader university policies.

“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,” she said.

The damning Freeh report laid out 120 recommendations for Penn State in eight areas, including campus culture,  university administration, the Board of Trustees and campus police – areas where it said the school was lacking.

Oklahoma State and Temple universities have also launched similar task forces.

Last November, when allegations surfaced publicly about Sandusky, Knapp sent a message to students and employees reiterating the University’s safety offices and asking members of the GW community to be transparent about campus concerns.

“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,” Knapp wrote in the letter.

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