Temple’s Institutional Integrity: The Task Force’s Report and Recommendations
By Frank Friedman, Professor of Computer Science (emeritus) and
Eleanor Myers, Associate Professor of Law
On July 17, 2012, Acting President Richard Englert appointed a special Temple University task force to review the findings and recommendations contained in the report of the special investigative counsel to Pennsylvania State University, often referred to as the Freeh Report, and to consider opportunities for improvement within our own institution. Named the Task Force on Institutional Integrity, the group was chaired JoAnne A. Epps, Dean of the Beasley School of Law. and consisted of 8 administrative members, 4 senior staff, and the two of us as faculty representatives.¹
The complete Task Force report was issued in September, 2012 and may be found at www.temple.edu/president (see the "Reports" link on the right hand side of the page). In recognition of the short time given, the initial Task Force charge was changed to a focus on (1) a review of University activities involving minors; and (2) an assessment of compliance with The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (the “Clery Act”). As time permitted, the Task Force was also encouraged to make additional recommendations on topics covered by the Freeh Report and beyond the scope of activities involving minors and the Clery Act.
The Task Force’s inquiry was as comprehensive as time permitted. Accordingly, many of the recommendations are expected to require additional investigation and procedural and policy development, both immediately and in the future. In making its recommendations, the Task Force focused primarily on activities involving minors and Clery Act compliance. We also discussed and made recommendations on several other topics covered by the Freeh Report. Most notably, the Task Force made pointed suggestions related to
1) improving the operational transparency of the University,
2) improving the periodic training of all members of the university community concerning appropriate conduct shown by one member towards other members or associates of the University, and
3) ensuring a confidential and easily accessible university mechanism (such as a university ombudsperson or an Integrity Officer) for the reporting and handling of issues related to community member misconduct.
All discussions and recommendations related to all University campuses and the University Health System.
Details pertaining to Activities Involving Minors and the Clery Act are provided in pages 4-10 of the Task Force report. Many of these actions have already been fully or partially addressed by the University administration, as outlined by Acting President Englert and listed in our report to the Faculty Senate at the Full Senate meeting in May, 2012. We believe that the second set of recommendations issued by the Task Force (see pp 10-12), are also of significance to the integrity of the University. These recommendations include 1) the creation of a University Integrity Officer (or some alternative structure), 2) an evaluation of institutional accountability, and 3) an "independent evaluation of the University Board of Trustees and administration to determine if their procedures are appropriately transparent and whether constituents feel adequately heard and their positions appropriately respected."
Also included in the second set of recommendations are a set of suggestions pertaining to 4) the Temple department of Athletics and the University's oversight and operation of intercollegiate athletics, 5) consideration of the applicability of Task Force recommendations to all University campuses, and 6) a requirement that the University President report to the Board of Trustees in Fall 2013 the actions of the University in response to this Report.
We believe that progress in these 6 areas are of vital interest to all members of the Temple University community and that it is incumbent upon the University faculty to work with the new University administration to ensure that appropriate steps are taken to ensure the integrity of the University both with regard to internal operations and the image it projects.
We were honored to have been appointed to the Task Force, although the appointment of a faculty Senate representative was made belatedly, and only after the Senate leadership requested this appointment. The Task Force's deliberations were collegial and enlightening, and we were highly impressed with the caliber and dedication of the participating administrators The Task Force was a fine example of productive administration/faculty work on important challenges to the university.
We urge all interested faculty to read the Task Force report. We are concerned that attention to issues extending beyond the treatment and protections of minors, such those related to operational transparency (throughout all levels of University administration), the training of university personnel, and the concept of a high ranking and highly visible Integrity Officer (to name a few), may have lost some momentum as the new administration has taken over and responded to immediate and pressing concerns. If we are guilty of repetition in this regard, it is only because we believe that the decision to appoint the Task Force in the wake of the Sandusky matter provided Temple with a forceful rationale and impetus for effecting cultural and operational changes of significant magnitude. We hope Temple does not let this opportunity pass. •
¹ The views in the article are the authors' only and do not represent the views of the Task Force