Pennsylvania State University has been warned it could lose its accreditation because of the child sex scandal involving former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.The Middle States Commission on Higher Education told Penn State last week that its accreditation was in jeopardy because of the findings of an independent investigation into the Sandusky scandal and sanctions imposed on the high-profile football program.
Accreditation guarantees the educational standards of a university and the validity of its degrees. It is crucial for drawing students and receiving public financing.
Penn State “remains accredited while on warning,” the commission said in an August 8 letter to university President Rodney Erickson that the school made public.
There also is “insufficient evidence” that Penn State is in compliance with requirements on government policies and on integrity and providing information to the panel, it said.
Penn State must submit a monitoring report by September 30, the commission said. The report also must address the school’s ability to pay financial settlements and other obligations.
Sandusky, a former Penn State defensive coordinator, was convicted in June on 45 counts of child molestation, including incidents in Penn State locker rooms. He is in jail awaiting sentencing.
Two university officials face charges of perjury and failure to report suspected abuse.
Erickson said in a statement on Monday that he was confident that Penn State would provide documentation to the commission by the September 30 deadline.
“I am confident that we will fully demonstrate our fiscal stability,” he said. Penn State faces a $60 million fine imposed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association as well as legal and publicity costs and potential settlements in the Sandusky case.
The Middle States Commission accredits colleges and universities in the Middle States region, which includes Pennsylvania.
(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Anthony Boadle)
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