Graham Spanier, for years a leader in higher education as president of Pennsylvania State University, was indicted Thursday on charges of concealing information about suspected child abuse involving Jerry Sandusky, obstructing the criminal investigation of Sandusky, perjury before a grand jury and endangering the welfare of children. The charges came a year after the scandal involving Sandusky became public. While the former assistant football coach has been convicted of dozens of counts of sexual abuse of minors, Spanier is accused of failing to report Sandusky to authorities. "This is not a mistake, an oversight or a misjudgment. This was a conspiracy of silence by top officials at Penn State, working to actively conceal the truth, with total disregard to the suffering of children," said Linda Kelly, Pennsylvania's attorney general, in a statement.
Spanier was fired by Penn State shortly after the scandal broke and has been on sabbatical with the assumption he would soon return to a faculty role. The university announced Thursday that Spanier was being placed on leave, and that Penn State would have no further comment about the legal proceedings.
One of Spanier's lawyers released a statement defending the former president. "Graham Spanier has committed no crime and looks forward to the opportunity to clear his good name and well-earned national reputation for integrity. This presentment is a politically motivated frame-up of an innocent man. And if these charges ever come to trial, we will prove it."
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The full Faculty Senate at Saint Louis University has voted 51-4 on a measure of no confidence in the university's president, Rev. Lawrence Biondi, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Faculty members are angry over a proposal (since withdrawn) that they say would have effectively eliminated tenure protections, and there have been a number of clashes in recent years over the university's direction. A faculty compilation of documents and articles about the conflict may be found here. A spokesman for the university called the vote "unjustified," adding that "during the past 25 years, Father Biondi has led SLU through a remarkable era of progress, improving academics, increasing the size and quality of the student body, transforming the campus, and enhancing SLU's national and international reputation."
Under pressure from his board, Lars Hafner agreed Tuesday to resign as president of the State College of Florida, The Bradeton Herald reported. Two trustees -- who were not among those who clashed wtih Hafner -- then announced that they were quitting. Hafner's supporters, including many who work at the college, say he was a strong advovate for the institution and helped it expand. His board critics were appointees of Governor Rick Scott, a Republican, and said Hafner had failed to practice fiscal conservatism.
Louisiana State University's board voted Friday to combine the positions of system president and chancellor of the flagship campus at Baton Rouge, The Times-Picayune reported. Officials cited an outside report suggesting that the move would promote better decision-making. Currently, a single person is filling both positions (on an interim basis). Faculty leaders said that they were not told in advance that the issue would be considered, and that they were not given an opportunity to analyze the implications of the change.
Settling a dispute between federal agencies, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security decided Wednesday that it would provide $83 million in funds to help the University of Iowa rebuild three flood-damaged facilities on new sites, The Gazette of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, reported. The Federal Emergency Management Agency had recommended the funds, but the Homeland Security agency's inspector general challenged the award in July, saying the buildings should have been repaired rather than rebuilt. But Homeland Security officials sided with FEMA on Wednesday. The Iowa campus was devastated by massive floods in 2008, and university officials have been counting on the federal funds as they have worked to rebuild the campus.