Penn St. Memos Show Funding Fears, Secrecy Effort

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Penn State's board of trustees and president focused on repairing the school's tarnished image and braced for financial backlash in the immediate aftermath of the child sex-abuse scandal that erupted two months ago, going so far as to recommend reminding any outraged donors that they wouldn't get their money back, according to internal memos obtained by The Associated Press.

Four memos sent Nov. 14-18 and released to the AP this week describe the school's scrambling response less than two weeks after former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was arrested on child molestation charges. Two Penn State administrators also were charged with lying to a grand jury and failing to properly report suspected child abuse.

In the first memo, issued nine days after the charges were filed, new school President Rodney Erickson told the 47-member Board of Trustees that the public-relations teams of the university and the athletic department had met to "align our messages" and that he had received positive feedback after two network television interviews.

"This is another indication that we are taking control of the narrative of our story," Erickson wrote.

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