STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — The arduous task of rebuilding Penn State’s shattered image began Friday with a pledge by the board of trustees to search for the truth amid an unfolding child sex abuse case against a former assistant football coach, a scandal that has already claimed the jobs of coach Joe Paterno and the school’s president.
At a meeting, the trustees opened with Chairman Steve Garban welcoming the replacement president, Rod Erickson, and Gov. Tom Corbett, who had pressed for fast action by trustees accustomed to deferring to President Graham Spanier.
The meeting was the first public gathering of the 32-member board in the wake of the scandal that has gripped one of the nation’s largest universities and touched off a violent student demonstration. In addition to the firing of Paterno and Spanier, an assistant coach who told his bosses in 2002 that he saw an assault was placed on administrative leave Friday.
Garban pledged to support Erickson as the board works “for the future of this institution that we respect and love.”
Without mentioning Spanier or Paterno, Erickson told trustees that their deliberate and decisive action had set a course for the university’s future.
Paterno and Spanier were fired Wednesday in the fallout of a shocking days-old grand jury report alleging repeated, illicit contact between retired assistant coach Jerry Sandusky and boys as young as 10.