Following the Penn State University scandal and subsequent release of the Freeh report in July, administrators created a task force to examine GW’s policies to ensure that the safety and security of students are a top priority.
University President Steven Knapp addressed the community shortly after the Jerry Sandusky scandal became public last November in an email calling for students “to ask the tough questions and take on the responsibility, when necessary, of reporting incidents that are inconsistent with our shared values.”
When the scandal broke last fall, the media engulfed Penn State, leading to nationwide scrutiny around the campus that failed to protect children from abuse.
While we are pleased to know GW has established a Task Force to Assess Report on Penn State to examine its own policies, we are unsure why the community was shut out of the process for nearly two months.
It is clear that the purpose of the task force is to protect students, faculty and staff. And while the University has kept students up-to-date on professors’ newest endeavors, students’ accomplishments and campus developments, it should have also informed the community of this task force.
We are confident that the University has acted in good faith and has kept the well-being of students at the center of this investigation, but it is hard not to think that the University might be hiding something when it neglects to release information that affects the entire community.
Going forward, the University should be increasingly transparent about the motions of this task force and how the community can offer feedback. Students should not be kept in the dark.
And while there is no easy way to discuss the Penn State scandal without a shudder, there is no formula when it comes to dealing with the issues on college campuses.
The task force marks a progressive attempt to ensure problems that have plagued other college campuses are not overlooked in Foggy Bottom. But hiding such information undermines attempts to make security a priority.