Penn State moves to block two information requests

Published February 17, 2014

State College, Pa. – Penn State university filed papers in two appeals last week to prevent the state Department of Education from releasing university records.

In one case, the university wants to conceal about 700 pages of correspondence between the Secretary of Education, trustee Ken Frazier, investigators for Louis J. Freeh and other PSU attorneys. In the other, it wants the Office of Open Records to rule against a request for documents that the Department of Education turned over to Freeh.

President Rodney Erickson made the decision to intervene in the appeals.

This isn’t the first time Erickson’s administration has fought the release of public records. In November, it joined a case involving more than 300 pages of records that was sent back to the OOR for further consideration. And in December, it lost an effort to prevent the the governor’s office from releasing 100 pages of records.

The cases were filed by Ryan Bagwell, a Penn State alumnus and founder of the Penn State Sunshine Fund. He’s been seeking the records since 2012. Last year, he successfully asked the Commonwealth Court to restore the public’s right to obtain records of some university trustees. The Penn State community has contributed more than $15,000 to the Sunshine Fund to support his efforts.

Penn State’s move came as its Board of Trustees prepared to reveal its top pick for the president’s office. A public board meeting to discuss the presidential pick is scheduled for 12 p.m. eastern today.

It’s unclear whether the new president will continue Erickson’s attempts to halt the release of the records.

For more information, contact:

Ryan Bagwell
Penn State Sunshine Fund