PSU news by
Penn State's student blog



Judge Rules Against University, Grants Alumni Trustees Access to Freeh Docs

The litigation to get the documents that shaped Louis Freeh’s much maligned report into the hands of Penn State’s alumni trustees appears to now be over. While the Board was meeting in committee today at the Penn Stater, a Centre County judge ruled against Penn State and granted the request of seven alumni trustees to have access to all the Freeh report source files. Thus ends yearlong litigation brought on by the trustees against the university with a victory for the alumni trustees.

The majority of the board voted against allowing access to these documents, claiming that the confidentiality guaranteed to those who participated in interviews with Freeh and other related communication would be violated. President Barron, who promised to review the documents himself but has thus far not provided any updates on that endeavor, has said as much.

As a general rule of law for nonprofit corporations, fiduciaries (trustees) have access to all documents reasonably related to the performance of their duties. Penn State and many of the non-alumni trustees have spent most of the last year arguing that examining the documents that went into the Freeh report is not reasonably related to the duties of a trustee. The court disagreed.

“We are satisfied that a reasonable relationship exists,” Judge Daniel Lee Howsare wrote. “While the majority board of directors may control in deciding the affairs of the corporation, the majority could not deprive a minority director access to corporate information.”

The court also mandated a complete privacy agreement with the trustees so that they may not disclose any of the information contained in the documents, under the threat of sanctions for noncompliance.

The university put out a statement, trying to frame this decision as a win instead of a loss (even though it was unquestionably a loss as far as Penn State’s legal fight is concerned). Here it is in full:

“We are pleased with the court’s recognition of the university’s interest in maintaining the confidentiality of the materials, particularly the names and identities of those who were interviewed for the Freeh Report. The seven alumni elected trustees’ continuing demand to know ‘who said what?’ is contrary to the university’s efforts to create a climate where people feel safe in reporting possible wrongdoing.  The university offered repeatedly to provide essentially all of the approximately 3.5 million documents collected by the Freeh firm with no redactions whatsoever and all of the Freeh firm’s work product and interview memoranda with redactions of personally identifiable information, all under the conditions of a confidentiality agreement. This legal action was an unnecessary and wasteful expense.”

“While we would have hoped that a confidentiality agreement would have been sufficient to protect the university’s interests, the court’s order provides additional protection from any breach of the court’s confidentiality requirements.”

It is not yet known what the trustees plan to do with the 3.5 million documents they will soon have access to, but there is sure to be more discussion about this at tomorrow’s regularly scheduled full Board meeting, which begins at 1:30 p.m. at the Penn Stater. The administration has 45 days to turn over the documents.

You can view the full decision below.

About the Author


Posts from the all-student staff of Onward State.


More by Onward State

Staff Predictions: Over/Under Penn State’s Projected Win Total

Vegas bookmakers have set Penn State’s over/under win total count at 9.5 for the upcoming football season.

Penn State Baseball Swept In Weekend Series Against Northwestern

To Our Favorite NFL Teams: Please Draft Saquon Barkley


Shea Moyer Lifts Penn State Women’s Soccer Past West Virginia 1-0

Sophomore midfielder Shea Moyer scored the game-winning goal in the 80th minute of a rainy season opener at Jeffrey Field.

Penn State Women’s Soccer Poised For Strong 2018 Season

Incoming Penn State Track & Field Athlete Kristian Marche Shot To Death In Philadelphia

Former Women’s Gymnastics Coach Files Lawsuit Against Penn State Over Handling Of Abuse Allegations

Men’s Soccer Trio, Reading United Win PDL Eastern Conference Title, Fall Short Of National Championship

Student Life

Start The Semester Off Right With These Welcome Week Activities

Don your brightly-colored college shirt and officially begin your Penn State career with these Welcome Week activities.

Nike Releases New Penn State Sneakers

Penn State Parking Office Runs Into Student Permit Purchase Issues

Plans Submitted For New KFC In State College

Developers have submitted preliminary land development plans to build a new KFC restaurant at 1780 S. Atherton St. in State College.

Join Onward State: Fall 2018 Application

Onward State is hiring for the fall semester and we’d love to have you join us.

Start The Semester Off Right With These Welcome Week Activities

Don your brightly-colored college shirt and officially begin your Penn State career with these Welcome Week activities.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Assessing Penn State’s Front Seven Following Tuesday’s Medical Retirements

Penn State’s defensive line rotation will be shaken up following Ryan Buchholz’s medical retirement from football, while the coaching staff is letting the linebackers duel it out during camp.

Send this to a friend