Penn State slapped with $2.4M fine for sexual abuse scandal
- The U.S. Department of Education has fined Penn State University $2.4 million for multiple violations of the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics, including a proposed $27,500 fine related to the 2011 indictment of former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky on charges of sexual assault of minors.
- According to a release, Penn State failed to collect and distribute data on campus sexual assault incidents in a timely manner, with fines for each violation costing as much as $2,167,500.
- ED officials say the fine should be a deterrent to other institutions about proper review of crime statistics. “When we determine that an institution is not upholding this obligation, then there must be consequences,” said Undersecretary Ted Mitchell.
The U.S. Department of Education made an example of Penn State with the record-breaking fines over what was perhaps one of the most egregious examples of misreporting and institutional cover-ups. The fine reintroduces a harrowing headline into the general conversation about higher education and brings stakeholders and influencers back to a topic that the institution, according to recent activities at football games, thought it had gotten over.
The federal government intends to enforce very strictly the tenets of the Clery Act, and any violations of its reporting requirements can lead to not only excessive fines, but ongoing PR conundrums. With social media and the digital dissemination of information, any controversial issue can gain life years after it actually happened. At Penn State, sexual assault has been a recurring issue with the cases involving Sandusky and former student Nate Parker.