Penn State

Tree outside Old Main
Emily Reddy / WPSU

Penn State announced Thursday that the university will offer eligible staff four weeks of paid parental leave starting in July.

The university announced the new benefit policy Thursday and said it will apply to staff members who have worked 12 consecutive months prior to July 1 this year. 

The four week period has to start within 90 days following a birth or an adoption that takes place after July 1. 

University Health Services on the Penn State University Park campus provides mental health care for the student population.
Kaitlyn Aguiles / WPSU

The annual mental health report released by the Center for Collegiate Mental Health at Penn State found depression and anxiety beginning to decrease while trauma increased among the concerns of college students. The center’s Executive Director Ben Locke said that’s because more attention is being paid to traumas like sexual assault. 

“As a country, we are becoming more aware of being trauma informed," Locke said, "understanding that when people experience trauma it is life impacting.”

Old Main
WPSU

Penn State has suspended a fraternity after a report of sexual assault that allegedly occurred there on Jan. 15. 

The university said in a statement Wednesday that the Office of Student Conduct has placed the Phi Sigma Delta Sigma chapter of Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity on "interim suspension" while the Office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response and State College Police investigate.

Penn State faculty member Peter Forster teaches security and risk analysis and international relations.
Min Xian / WPSU

Recent tensions between the U.S. and Iran have the cybersecurity community concerned about a potential cyber response from the Iranian government.

Penn State faculty member Peter Forster talked with WPSU about those concerns. Forster teaches security and risk analysis and international relations.

TRANSCRIPT: 

Min Xian: Dr. Forster, thanks for joining us.

Peter Forster: Thank you. It's a pleasure to be here again and speaking with you.

Ex-player Sues Penn State Over Football Hazing Allegations

Jan 14, 2020
Penn State head coach James Franklin celebrates with his team as Penn State plays Memphis in the first half of the NCAA Cotton Bowl college football game, Saturday, Dec. 28, 2019, in Arlington, Texas.
Ron Jenkins / AP Photo

A former Penn State football player claims in a new federal lawsuit that other Nittany Lions players hazed him and other younger teammates.

The allegations in the lawsuit filed Monday include claims that some players imitated sexual acts in the shower. The claims also include threats of older players saying, “I am going to Sandusky you," to younger players. Jerry Sandusky was the team's retired longtime defensive coordinator when he was convicted in 2012 of sexual abuse of 10 boys, including physical attacks on university property.

Jessie Sage, left, and James Tison talk about the stigma their communities face.
WPSU

Jessie Sage is a sex worker who writes and speaks publicly on issues related to sex work, feminism, and social justice. James Tison is a stand-up comedian in New York who uses humor to fight stigma against his LGBTQ identity and life with HIV.

Sage and Tison recently spoke at an event at Penn State called “Facts not Fear: A Night to Fight Stigma,” and talked with WPSU about fighting the sigma their communities face. 

This Take Note interview talks about sex work and might not be suitable for children to hear. 

Peter Forster talks with WPSU about why cybersecurity shouldn't be an afterthought in today's world.
Min Xian / WPSU

Peter Forster is an associate professor who teaches security and risk analysis at Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology. His research focuses on cybersecurity, counter-terrorism and social networks. Forster has worked on improving law enforcement’s situational awareness of issues such as drug and human trafficking. He also oversees a research project on better understanding of how extremist organizations recruit Americans in cyberspace.

Tree outside Old Main
Emily Reddy / WPSU

Under a new Penn State policy, undergraduates who get a D or an F in a class, will be able to ask retake the class and, if they do better, have their higher grade count toward their GPA.

The university says the change — “grade forgiveness" — is part of a broader effort to help more students succeed.

David Smith, head of the Division of Undergraduate Studies at Penn State, said the university has been developing a systematic way of working with students struggling academically.

State College police truck
Anne Danahy / WPSU

There will be no charges filed related in the case of the 17-year-old from Erie, who died in State College in October, Centre County District Attorney Bernie Cantorna said in a statement Thursday.

John “Jack” Schoenig died on October 19 in a West College Avenue apartment in State College after inhaling a dose of nitrous oxide from a whip-it dispenser, the statement said. State College Police and the county’s Coroner’s Office determined his death was accidental due to chemical asphyxiation. 

State College police truck
Anne Danahy / WPSU

The office of the Coroner of Centre County said the death of a 17-year-old who died at an off-campus house in State College last month was accidental. 

Deputy Coroner Debra Smeal reported on November 22 that an autopsy found that John “Jack” Schoenig died from chemical asphyxia due to nitrous oxide. The report also said a toxicology report did not detect any alcohol in the teen’s system.

Schoenig was a high school senior at Cathedral Prep School in Erie.

Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, center, arrives at the Centre County Courthouse to be resentenced Friday, Nov. 22, 2019, in Bellefonte, Pa.
AP Photo / Gene J. Puskar

BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) — Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was resentenced Friday to 30 to 60 years in prison, the same penalty as before, for sexually abusing children.

Sandusky, 75, was sentenced by Judge Maureen Skerda at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte. He wore a yellow jumpsuit and entered court with his hands cuffed in front of him.

Sandusky again asserted his innocence, choked up twice in brief remarks to the judge and told his supporters he loves them.

An overview of plans for Penn State's west campus at University Park. The plan includes a proposed parking deck, along with buildings for the College of Engineering.
Penn State

Penn State’s plan for a new parking deck will be on the university board of trustees’ agenda this week.

The nearly $61 million dollar project is the first phase in plans for the west campus at University Park. Penn State says the new parking deck will consolidate parking and support new buildings.

The parking deck will go on an existing lot. It’s slated to have 1,653 parking spaces on six levels. Traffic will exit the parking deck onto White Course Drive and then Atherton Street. 

Lisa Marie Mazzucco / courtesy of Mr. Perlman

World famous violinist, Itzhak Perlman will pay a visit to Penn State, University Park on Thursday evening, November 14. He'll talk about his life, share some photos and video, and play music with pianist Rohan da Silva in a progarm called "An Evening with Itzhak Perlman." WPSU’s Kristine Allen spoke with him by phone about his career and his upcoming performance.

You'll find more information on Perlman's performance here.

Penn State student and veteran Kyle Larson standing
Anne Danahy / WPSU

Monday was Veterans Day. And on Wednesday, the Penn State Veterans Organization will host a student panel discussion, "Stupid Things Good People Say." WPSU’s Anne Danahy spoke with the organization’s president, Kyle Larson, a Penn State student who served in the Marines. The event is co-sponsored by Student Disability Resources and is part of Penn State's Military Appreciation Week. It's open to the public and will take place 5:15-8:30 p.m. in Foster Auditorium, Paterno Library, on the University Park campus. A social hour will follow the panel discussion. 

Liz Linder / courtesy of The Silkroad Ensemble

The Silkroad Ensemble, a diverse group of musicians from around the world, will give a concert Tuesday night on Penn State’s University Park campus. The group was founded by cellist Yo-Yo Ma in 1999.

“There were 60 musicians,” says Silkroad’s co-artistic director, Nicholas Cord.  “We premiered 15 new pieces. A beautiful cacophony is the best way I could describe it.“

“Silkroad was Yo-Yo’s brainchild in a lot of ways. And I think Yo-Yo had always had an idea in his life to do something of this magnitude.”
 

Old Main
WPSU

Penn State is investigating a new allegation of sexual abuse by Jerry Sandusky.

The alleged sexual assault took place in the Lasch Football Building on the University Park campus between June 1, 2000, and September 30, 2010.

According to a Tuesday police report, the alleged victim was a visitor who knew the person they say sexually assaulted them.

The offenses are listed as rape or attempted rape and sex offenses 36B. That’s non-forcible statutory rape.

Jane Guerino, a survivor of sex trafficking, is with her service dog, Bailey. She says the public needs to recognize that human trafficking is happening across the state and beyond.
Min Xian / WPSU

In 2018, 127 cases of human trafficking were reported in Pennsylvania, according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. At the 2019 Rural Human Trafficking Summit hosted by the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health at Penn State Tuesday, advocates said that to target and stop trafficking, the public needs to first recognize the situation. 

Cathy Wanner head shot
Penn State

Catherine Wanner is a professor of history, anthropology and religious studies at Penn State. She is currently in Ukraine as a Fulbright Scholar, completing a book on the politics of religion in Russia and Ukraine. The book, "From Smoke Comes Fire:  Religion, Faith and Belonging in Ukraine," will come out next year. Wanner spoke with WPSU’s Anne Danahy about President Trump’s phone call with the new president of Ukraine and Ukraine's ongoing conflict with Russia.

State College police truck
Anne Danahy / WPSU

A Penn State fraternity has been put on “interim suspension,” after a 17-year-old died Saturday night at an off-campus house in State College. The university said Tuesday the West College Avenue house is allegedly occupied by Chi Phi members, although it is not the fraternity’s official house.

Erie News Now reported that high school Senior John “Jack” Schoenig was a student at Cathedral Prep School in Erie. Schoenig and friends were visiting State College. Erie News Now reported Schoenig is listed as a senior and forward on the Cathedral Prep hockey team. 

Shoba Wadhia
Penn State Law

Enforcing immigration law requires a complicated mix of government agencies whose direction can change from administration to administration.

Our guest this week, Penn State’s Shoba Wadhia, is an expert on immigration law and author of the new book “Banned: Immigration Enforcement in the Time of Trump.” She directs the Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic and has represented refugees and asylum seekers.

In Performance at Penn State is a monthly hour-long program that showcases performances from Penn State's School of Music. This month, hear the Penn State Philharmonic playing two Slavonic Dances by Antonin Dvorak; musicians from the Penn’s Woods Music Festival playing some of the Eight Pieces for English Horn, Clarinet & Piano by Max Bruch; and the Piano Concerto No. 2 in F by Dmitri Shostakovich with pianist Philip Edward Fisher, conductor Gerardo Edelstein and the Penn’s Woods Music Festival Orchestra.

Penn State no longer recycles plastic bags, stretchy plastic film or miscellaneous plastics beginning the fall semester of 2019.
Min Xian / WPSU

Beginning this fall, Penn State no longer takes plastic bags, stretchy plastic film or miscellaneous plastics throughout the 15,500 recycling stations on University Park campus. 

It’s part of a plan recommended by the university’s Waste Stream Task Force to improve the overall quality of what they send to the Centre County Recycling and Refuse Authority.

Penn State professors Esther Obonyo and Erica Smithwick will be speakers at the Project Drawdown conference Sept. 16-18.
Emily Reddy / WPSU

Penn State will host the Project Drawdown conference Sept. 16-18. It’s based on a book that outlines the 100 top actions to reverse climate change.

We talked with two conference presenters about “Drawdown” and the research they’re doing into fighting global warming.

In this file photo, Penn State head coach James Franklin responds to a question during the Big Ten Conference NCAA college football media days Friday, July 19, 2019, in Chicago.
Charles Rex Arbogast / AP Photo

A former Penn State team doctor is suing the school, football coach James Franklin and athletic director Sandy Barbour, claiming he was ousted after complaining to school officials about being pressured to clear players to return from injuries.

Karen Muir, front, and Braxton Becker walked out of the Centre County Courthouse Annex in Bellefonte after the sentencing on Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019.
Min Xian / WPSU

The former house manager of Penn State’s now-banned Beta Theta Pi fraternity was sentenced to two years of probation on Wednesday for a misdemeanor charge. A Centre County jury found Braxton Becker guilty of “hindering apprehension” in May. 

Becker was found guilty of intentionally concealing evidence from a police investigation into the death of Penn State student Tim Piazza from alcohol hazing while pledging the fraternity. 

A new bill allows Pennsylvania youth in the foster care system to attend any college or university in the state tuition free.
Steph Krane / WPSU

Starting with the fall 2020 semester, Pennsylvania youth who have been in foster care will be able to attend any college or university in Pennsylvania tuition free thanks to a waiver program signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf this June.

Director of the Child Maltreatment Solutions Network at Penn State Jennie Noll says the waivers will benefit a population that often has bad outcomes.

Goldie Blumenstyk is a senior writer and editor at the Chronicle of Higher Education. She talks to WPSU about how colleges can better serve the growing number of adult learners.
Min Xian / WPSU

Goldie Blumenstyk is a reporter and editor at The Chronicle of Higher Education. She covers a wide range of topics and is known for her expertise on for-profit higher education, college finances and more. Her book, "American Higher Education in Crisis? What Everyone Needs to Know," talks about changing demographics in colleges and the rising cost of higher education.

On Friday, Oct. 19, 2018 in Harrisburg, Pa., Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf shakes hands with Jim Piazza after signing anti-hazing legislation inspired by the death of Piazza's son, Penn State student Tim Piazza.
AP Photo/Marc Levy

Pennsylvania higher education institutions published their second biannual hazing reports on August 1. These reports are mandated under the state’s Timothy J. Piazza Anti-Hazing Law, which took effect in 2018. 

 

Penn State published its biannual hazing report, detailing five hazing incidents that took place in the spring and summer semesters this year. Four of the incidents happened in Greek organizations and one in the Student Athletic Trainers’ Club. 

 

Jason Wright headshot
Jody Barshinger

Jason Wright is an associate professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State. Wright is also a champion of the search for extraterrestrial life. WPSU's Anne Danahy spoke with him about whether he thinks there is other life in the universe, how we might go about finding it and why it matters.

Nancy VanLandingham

Saturday, July 20th is the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 moon landing, when astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the lunar surface.

Nancy VanLandingham of Warrior’s Mark was 14 years old in 1969.

“To me, it felt like it was pretty much the most important thing that had happened in my lifetime,” VanLandingham said.

As she remembers it, everyone back then was focused on space travel.

Pages