Make Review Committee Independent; Expand Focus to All Campus Violence
  • Petitioned Ron Tomalis

This petition was delivered to:

PSU Board of Trustees (Vice-Chair Investigative Committee)
Ron Tomalis
Chair of Investigative Committee & PSU Board of Trustees via PSU Presidents Office
Ken Frazier and cc: members of the BOT
Acting Executive Vice President and Provost
Robert Pangborn
Independent Investigator into PSU sexual assaults, Freeh Group
Louis J. Freeh

Make Review Committee Independent; Expand Focus to All Campus Violence

    1. Joanne Tosti-Vasey
    2. Petition by

      Joanne Tosti-Vasey

      Bellefonte, PA

First, the investigative committee must be expanded to include people who are independent of the University. Second, the investigation needs to be expanded to include all forms of campus violence. Specifically this investigation needs to 1) include ways to break down the wall of immunity between the Athletic Department and the rest of the University, and 2) review policies, programs, and reporting mechanisms across the University and within the Athletic Department on all forms of sexual assault, domestic and dating violence and stalking
On Monday, November 7, the Penn State Univeristy Board of Trustees announced that they would be appointing an “independent” committee that includes “counsel and investigative teams” to investigate the allegations of child sexual assault. On Friday, November 11, when the Board announced the chairs of this committee, they stated, ““The complete committee membership will be determined and announced in the near future and is expected to be composed of a majority of Board of Trustee members with representatives from each of the board's constituencies as well as representatives of the Penn State community including faculty, students and alumni.”
This second statement indicates that the people conducting the investigation are not fully independent. All of the investigative committee members that are to be appointed are Trustee members, current members of the University community, or alumni. There are no experts on sexual assault or domestic violence, or stalking. There are no survivors. And there are no members of the larger community – whether that be people living in Centre County or more broadly across the communities in Pennsylvania where the other Penn State University Campuses are located.
There been many instances over the last the last 17 years where a wall of indifference has occurred between the University as a whole and the people within Athletics. Examples of earlier incidences include:
• Joe Paterno making insensitive remarks about domestic violence and sexual assault that were shrugged off as jokes by individuals, the Athletic Department, and the PSU administration;
• Athletics allowing a football player to play in a bowl game AFTER he was suspended for two semesters for an alleged rape; and
• The PSU administration weighed in on a rape case to have the sentence of a former Penn State wrestler placed at a minimal 6-month stay in the county jail.
Over these past 17 years, there have been some, but not enough, efforts to address this issue campus-wide. But other than ordering that no suspended player can play sports at Penn State, nothing seems to have been done to break down this wall between Athletics and the rest of the University for acts of violence against another person.
Therefore, this investigation needs to be expanded to ensure that any child, woman, or other adult – faculty, staff, student, or visitor on campus—should ever have to endure such violence again.

Recent signatures


    1. Broader investigation is happening

      Joanne Tosti-Vasey
      Petition Organizer

      Joanne Tosti-Vasey talked to some individuals at Penn State regarding the investigations into the allegations of child sexual assault by Gerry Sandusky. Our petition seems to be working in that some of the investigations into the "wall of indifference" towards all forms of assault against children AND adults - sexual assault, acquaintaince and domestic violence, and stalking - is occuring. There are investigations being done by the FBI, the US Department of Education, the NCAA, and Judge Freeh for the PS Board of Trustees in addition to the original criminal investigation by the PA Attorney General's office. However, I don't know which one(s) is asking these broader questions. Keeping up the pressure will let the PSU Board of Trustees know that we are continuing to monitor the situation and will continue to advocate for a full implementation of the zero tolerance policy towards all forms of violence the University supposedly put into place back in 2006.

    2. Partial Victory: Let's Keep Up the Pressure

      Joanne Tosti-Vasey
      Petition Organizer

      Ron Frazier, Chair of the PSU Special Investigative Committee (he's one of the people we've been petitioning), announced that the committee has hired Louis Freeh, former FBI director, to lead the independent investigation. Mr. Freeh stated that he has been assured that his investigation will be "fully independent" & that it will focus on any incident that interacts with the university dealing with "these types" of incidents, including cases of adult sexual assault. Mr. Freeh also stated that he would be looking into the "governance, controls, procedures & leadership" at the university to improve the climate of safety at the university & that his team of investigators includes former FBI agents, assistant U.S. attorneys, pedophile investigators and compliance investigators.
      But there still are no domestic violence or sexual assault experts who regularly deal with this issue & the investigation still needs to be expanded to cover all forms of campus violence.
      So keep spreading the word!

    3. PSU Faculty Senate Calls for Independent Investigation

      Joanne Tosti-Vasey
      Petition Organizer

      This afternoon the PSU Penn State Faculty Senate joined us in calling for an independent investigation with “an independent special committee whose chair and the majority of whose members have never been affiliated with Penn State.” Please let other know that our call is starting to be heard. But we need more voices. We'll let them know that we also want an independent committee, but we also want them to expand the investigation to include all forms of campus violence. Please pass this message on to your friends and colleagues.

    4. We just hit 500 signatures but still no response from PSU

      Joanne Tosti-Vasey
      Petition Organizer

      I created this petition to help pressure the Board to expand their investigation and make their committee more transparent & independent. We have, in less than two days, gathered almost 500 signatures. We all hope that, in addition to NOW's direct communications with the University administration and the Board of Trustees, this petition will help ensure that the University does the right thing & makes sure that policies campus-wide are reviewed, revised, created (where necessary), & enforced AND that the wall of indifference is torn down so that we no longer have to endure such maltreatment of another human being ever again.

      So far we have not heard anything from either the Chair or Vice-Chair of the investigative committee or from the PSU Board of Trustees. We are still awaiting a response to our concerns.

      So we need to keep up the pressure. Please spread the word. Ask your friends & colleagues to come to this site and sign this petition.

      Together we can make it happen!

    5. Reached 500 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Dru Smith SAN FRANCISCO, CA
      • almost 3 years ago

      Too many universities, including but not limited to Penn State, prioritize their sports teams and their own reputations over victims of sexual assault and harassment by their students and faculty. That needs to stop. NOW!

    • Janet Benton WYNCOTE, PA
      • almost 3 years ago

      Sexual violence ruins lives, and evidence of sexual violence against both women and men on campus is considerable. To investigate only incidents against male students would be to indicate that only violence against males counts enough to warrant an investigation. This would be a horrific message to send throughout the university and the nation.

    • Martin Kearney CAMP HILL, PA
      • almost 3 years ago

      All children, students, and anyone have a right to be safe and respected, to be free of violence and assault. An independent, transparent review will help to make this happen.

    • Barbara Hafer INDIANA, PA
      • almost 3 years ago

      The need for an independent investigation for fairness and transparency and to restore the reputation of a great university is very important to this Penn State parent and taxpayer and former state wide elected official

    • Kim Hileman CAMP HILL, PA
      • almost 3 years ago

      I am a PSU grad and I want to make sure the truth comes out. We must show the public we can rise from this and work to restore the trust people have in Penn State!


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