Penn State University President Rodney Erickson was grilled Wednesday by alumni unhappy about how the school handled a child sex abuse scandal, the firing of longtime football coach Joe Paterno and a lack of transparency in the case.
Erickson is attempting to repair the school's image with alumni, faculty, staff and students more than two months after former football assistant coach Jerry Sandusky's arrest brought controversy, criticism and contemplation to the school.
Some alumni have criticized the university's failure to conduct a complete investigation before firing Paterno and ousting Erickson's predecessor, Graham Spanier, while decrying the leadership as secretive and slow to act.
Erickson, who was greeted by polite applause, told the crowd at the start of Wednesday night's 1½-hour meeting in Pittsburgh that openness and communication are his guiding principles. He said critics have accused the school of having problems in those areas recently and the school "will do better in the future."Doing better in the future, in part, is going to require the university (and in fairness to Penn State, to the entire college football community) about what a football program means on a college campus.