Penn State

Stacy Parks Miller talks to reporters at the end of the first day of the preliminary hearing in the trial of fraternity members in the hazing-related death of Timothy Piazza. The detective on the case, David Scicchitano from the State College police depar
Emily Reddy / WPSU

A judge, lawyers and the fraternity members facing charges surrounding the death of Penn State sophomore Timothy Piazza watched hours of video footage in a preliminary hearing Monday. The judge ordered a continuance as the trial was nearing its eleventh hour.

Sixteen fraternity brothers and their lawyers overflowed into the gallery of the courtroom.

Penn State president Eric Barron
Ralph Wilson / AP Photo

Penn State president Eric Barron says the university will become a national leader in reforming the college fraternity and sorority system. That’s after the hazing-related death of Penn State sophomore Timothy Piazza at the Beta Theta Pi fraternity.

Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller at podium next to a photo of Timothy Piazza and with his parents in person
Emily Reddy / WPSU

Penn State’s Beta Theta Pi and 18 members of the fraternity are being charged in the February death of a fellow fraternity member. The Centre County District Attorney announced the charges and held the first of the arraignments Friday after a months-long Grand Jury investigation.

Centre County DA Stacy Parks Miller described the night fraternity pledge Timothy Piazza fell down a flight of stairs as a gauntlet of drinking events.

Min Xian / WPSU

Asghar Gholizadeh is an Iranian scholar at Penn State. He came to the U.S. in 2013 to pursue a PhD in civil and environmental engineering on a full ride scholarship. Gholizadeh said coming to the United States was not easy.

“When you migrate from your country, you sell everything you have. You break all of your connections over time," Gholizadeh said. "When you come here, you build a new life. You want to get something out of it.” 

Graham Spanier photo on left. Jerry Sandusky photo on right.
Gene J. Puskar / AP Photo

Lawyers for former Penn State President Graham Spanier have rested without calling any witnesses.

He's facing charges for failing to a report a 2001 incident involving the sexual abuse of a child.

Closing arguments focused on what Spanier knew about Jerry Sandusky. Spanier's lawyers say he was told Mike McQueary saw Jerry Sandusky in a university shower on a Friday night with a boy, and described it as horseplay.

They point out no witness testified that Spanier was told sexual contact occurred between Sandusky and the child.

Former Penn State president Graham Spanier surrounded by reporters
Matt Rourke / AP Photo

(Harrisburg) -- In the Dauphin County Courthouse, the child endangerment case against former Penn State President Graham Spanier is entering its second phase. The prosecution has rested, and now it’s the defense’s turn.

The case will resume Thursday, although it’s unclear who Spanier’s lawyers plan to call and whether the defendant himself will speak. 

The information presented over the last two days has spanned nearly two decades, beginning with Penn State’s first child abuse investigation of Sandusky in 1998.

Tim Curley
Matt Rourke / AP Photo

(Harrisburg) – The primary witnesses for the prosecution are testifying Wednesday in the child endangerment trial of former Penn State President Graham Spanier.

Spanier’s charged with failing to act aggressively enough to prevent football coach Jerry Sandusky from serially abusing young boys.

One of those witnesses—former Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley—handled the case alongside Spanier, and has already said he wishes he did more.

Former Penn State president Graham Spanier surrounded by reporters
Matt Rourke / AP Photo

(Harrisburg) -- There’s just one criminal trial left in court related to the child sex abuse case that has surrounded former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky since 2011.

It's the trial of former Penn State President Graham Spanier, who is charged with handling the abuse improperly. 

When allegations that Sandusky was abusing young boys surfaced in 2001, Spanier and others didn't report it to authorities, opting instead to handle it as an internal matter.

Tim Curley and Gary Schultz
Brad Bower, left; Matt Rourke, right / AP Photo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Two former Penn State University administrators have pleaded guilty in the Jerry Sandusky child molestation case, more than five years after the scandal broke.

Ex-Athletic Director Tim Curley and former university Vice President Gary Schultz each pleaded guilty Monday in Harrisburg to a misdemeanor child endangerment charge.

Penn State ex-President Graham Spanier is also charged in the case, but he's not in court.

Fraternity Charter Revoked Following Student Death

Feb 17, 2017
Old Main building at Penn State
WPSU

Penn State has revoked the charter of fraternity Beta Theta Pi effective immediately. The ban will last at least five years and may become permanent based on the results of a criminal investigation into the February 3rd death of student Timothy Piazza.

Piazza fell down a flight of stairs at the chapter house, and was not taken to the hospital until 12 hours later. His death is the focus of a criminal investigation by the State College Police Department and an internal investigation by the Office of Student Conduct.

 

Jerry Zolten
Photo courtesy of Jerry Zolten

Jerry Zolten, Associate Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences and American Studies at Penn State Altoona, will share his music and pop culture knowledge Saturday night on the nationally-syndicated  program "American Routes" from PRX!  You can hear the show Saturday night, February 11, from 8:00 to 10:00 on WPSU-FM.

Judge Sets March Trial For 3 Penn State Ex-Administrators

Feb 2, 2017
Gary Schultz, Graham Spanier and Tim Curley
AP Photos

Three former Penn State administrators are headed for trial next month on criminal charges related to how they handled the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal.

On Wednesday, Judge John Boccabella set jury selection for March 20 in the criminal trial of former university President Graham Spanier, former Vice President Gary Schultz and former athletic director Tim Curley.

They're charged with endangering the welfare of children.

Boccabella is throwing out a charge of failure to properly report suspected abuse, saying the statute of limitations has expired.

protest
Min Xian / WPSU

Members of the Penn State community gathered on Old Main lawn Tuesday to show opposition to president-elect Donald Trump. Many of the protestors said they were concerned by increasing divisiveness in the United States. 

A group of students started marching from the HUB Robeson Center on Penn State’s University Park campus on Tuesday. They circled around central campus for about ten minutes, holding signs and doing chants such as “Donald Trump, go away, racist, sexist, anti-gay” and “say it loud, say it clear, immigrants are welcome here.”

Old Main building at Penn State
WPSU

The U.S. Department of Education is hitting Penn State with a record $2.4 million fine for violating a law that requires colleges and universities to report campus crimes and warn people if their safety is threatened.

The fine announced Thursday was the result of a five-year federal investigation into how Penn State officials handled complaints about former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky before he was charged in 2011 with child molestation.

This week in a three-part series, WPSU is looking at reporting sexual assault in Centre County. Colleges across the country have built up a variety of resources for students. Today we take a look at how dealing with sexual assault has changed in recent years at Penn State.

Last fall, over three days, three different students told Penn State professor Charlotte Eubanks they’d been sexually assaulted.

The comparative literature professor says what one of them in particular told her has stuck with her like lead.

A video presentation launching the "All In at Penn State" program plays on the Old Main facade on Penn State's University Park campus on October 6, 2016.
Erin Cassidy Hendrick / WPSU

Penn State held the official kick-off event for its new diversity and inclusion initiative, “All In at Penn State,” in front of Old Main. The presentation included colorful video projections splashed across the building’s facade and even a special Snapchat filter for attendees.

The university hopes the event will spark a renewed focus on welcoming underrepresented groups and voices. Penn State president Eric Barron spoke about what the “All In” program means.

Jill Stein in front of a "Green Party" banner.
Emily Reddy / WPSU

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein visited Penn State Wednesday to ask for votes and volunteers.

She talked to an audience of about 200 about her support for environmental movements, Black Lives Matter and free public education. Stein rejected the idea that voting for a third party was throwing away a vote.

“I won’t sleep well if Donald Trump gets elected. And I won’t sleep well if Hillary Clinton gets elected,” Stein said. “But we live in a democracy. We have more than two deadly choices. We can stand up for the democracy that we need.”

Peter Buckland recounts his memories of the HUB Lawn Shooting for an oral history recording on September 16, 2016.
Erin Cassidy Hendrick / WPSU

September 17, 1996 is a painful date for many who were attending Penn State, including Peter Buckland. He said, “The community was , I would say, totally floored. I mean, I was.”

It was the day State College resident Jillian Robbins opened fire on the lawn of the HUB student union on the University Park campus, killing one student and wounding another.

In this Jan. 22, 2012 file photo, a woman pays her respects at a statue of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno outside Beaver Stadium on the Penn State University campus after learning of his death in State College, Pa. Paterno was 85.
Gene J. Puskar / AP

Since the Sandusky scandal, Penn State hasn’t publicly commemorated former head football coach, Joe Paterno. That will change this Saturday at the matchup against Temple - and it’s reignited a debate about how and if Paterno should be recognized.

“We thought it was too soon, it was insensitive and just not the right time.”

Lauren Davis is the opinions editor at the Penn State student newspaper, The Daily Collegian. She recently wrote an editorial arguing against the tribute.

In this photo combo, at left, in an Oct. 8, 2011 file photo, Penn State president Graham Spanier walks on the field before an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa. At right, former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky l
Gene J. Puskar / AP

Prosecutors say former Penn State administrators should still stand trial for their involvement in the Jerry Sandusky scandal. 

Based on documents made public Wednesday, the prosecution rejected arguments made by Graham Spanier, Gary Schultz and Tim Curley that the charges against them should be dismissed.

One of defense’s arguments was the statute of limitations in the case had expired. In their response, the prosecution said that by not reporting the suspected child abuse in 2001, the two-year timeframe never started.

3D printer
Min Xian / WPSU

Researchers at Penn State's Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences are taking 3D printing from a novelty to an orthopedic tool. The team is developing a method of 3D printing with cartilage cells to create implants for joints such as the knee and elbow.

On a visit to his lab, Associate Professor of engineering Ibrahim Ozbolat showed several of his lab's bioprinters to physicians from Penn State Hershey Medical Center.

Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, center, arrives at the Centre County Courthouse for an appeals hearing about whether he was improperly convicted four years ago, in Bellefonte, Pa. Friday, Aug. 12, 2016.
GENE J. PUSKAR / AP

Tuesday's hearing called witnesses from the prosecution of Sandusky’s case.  Much of the questioning focused on whether Sarah Ganim, the journalist who broke the story, got her information from an illegal grand jury leak.

Two of the prosecutors said Ganim’s source could have been a grand jury witness. They were legally able to talk about the case to anyone.

Here's Why Penn State's No Longer Recycling Styrofoam

Aug 18, 2016
person recycling styrofoam
Emily Reddy / WPSU

The nearly 5,000 recycling bins on Penn State’s University Park campus collect all kinds of materials: bottles, cans, paper, but no longer polystyrene, which is often referred to as Styrofoam. The school has recently decided not to recycle polystyrene for a slew of economic reasons, one being the fall of oil prices.

Lydia Vandenbergh is an associate director of employee engagement with the Sustainability Institute of Penn State. She says the decision to start recycling university dining containers and packaging around 2000 was appropriate then.

Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Katie McGinty addresses the crowd at Penn State's Ag Progress Days on August 17, 2016.
Erin Cassidy Hendrick / WPSU

McGinty spoke at the Penn State agriculture event about many of her campaign platforms – including the need to increase funding for public universities like Penn State.

She said, “Let’s get real – we were this close to getting a public college being public in name only.  Ten percent of the cost of college coming from public support? That’s a burden on families and students, we need to invest in public colleges and universities and I will fight for those dollars.”

Jerry Sandusky entering courthouse with paperwork
AP Photo / Gene J. Puskar

A grinning Jerry Sandusky, dressed in an orange jumpsuit, entered a Centre County courtroom Friday morning, waving to a small handful of supporters. The former Penn State assistant football coach is almost four years into a 30 to 60-year sentence for child sexual abuse, most of which has been spent in solitary confinement for his own protection.

The State College borough council at their meeting on May 2, 2016.
Erin Cassidy Hendrick / WPSU

At a State College borough council meeting in May, Mill Creek resident Christy Billett made an emotional appeal to the board, telling them how getting charged with marijuana possession derailed her life. 

Sandusky and Paterno
Paul Vathis / AP Photo

A man who claims Jerry Sandusky sexually abused him in 1976 says in newly unsealed court documents that he told Penn State football Coach Joe Paterno about the incident the very next day, and Paterno responded callously.

The man identified as John Doe 150 testified in October 2014 that about six other boys in a shower heard him yell that Sandusky had sexually penetrated him with a finger.

A judge unsealed extensive records Tuesday from Penn State's insurance litigation over coverage of Sandusky-related claims.

Susan Basso
Penn State

Around 4 million more Americans will soon be eligible for overtime pay. The Obama administration recently passed new federal regulations that double the minimum salary a worker must be paid to be “exempt” from overtime. WPSU’s Emily Reddy talked with Penn State’s head of Human Resources, Susan Basso, about how the university plans to handle the change. 

Student lights candles.
Becca DeGregorio / WPSU

After a widely attended vigil on Penn State University Park’s Old Main lawn Monday, a second candle-lit vigil was held Tuesday night at the Allen Street Gates in honor of the 49 victims killed in this weekend’s shooting in Orlando.

Lighting wicks along the sidewalk was Vladimir Londoño, a Penn State University student and member of the Centre County LGBTQA Support Network, the local non-profit that sponsored the event.

Misha Demchuk (right third), a senior at Penn State, leaned onto Aaron Kreider (right second) during the “Stand in Solidarity” vigil on Penn State’s University Park campus on June 13th, 2016.
Min Xian / WPSU

Over a hundred people gathered on Penn State University Park’s campus last night to memorialize the victims of the recent mass shooting. It was named “Stand in Solidarity With Orlando,” and it also served to show support for the LGBTQA community.

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