|16th President of Pennsylvania State University|
|Term||September 1, 1995 – November 9, 2011|
July 18, 1948 |
Cape Town, Union of South Africa
|Alma mater||Northwestern University|
Graham Basil Spanier (born July 18, 1948) was the president of Pennsylvania State University from September 1, 1995 to November 9, 2011, who was removed from his post following criticism of his handling of the Penn State sex abuse scandal. During his tenure the Penn State campus expanded considerably, with the creation of the Schreyer Honors College, the College of Information Sciences and Technology, the Penn State World Campus, and the merger with the Dickinson School of Law. Spanier is currently a tenured faculty member at Penn State, but has been placed on leave with pay following his indictment in November 2012 on charges of perjury, conspiracy, and obstruction of justice in the sex abuse case.
Before his association with Penn State, he also served as: chancellor of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Oregon State University, and vice provost for undergraduate studies at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
Early life and education
Spanier was born in South Africa and grew up near Chicago, in the suburb of Highland Park, where he graduated from high school. He then earned a Ph.D. in sociology from Northwestern University, where he was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow.
Spanier contributed to the publication of ten books and over 100 scholarly journal articles while a researcher. As a family sociologist, demographer, and marriage and family therapist, he was the founding editor of the Journal of Family Issues. Spanier was also an author of a study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior concerning the practice of mate swapping, or "swinging".
Spanier earned an annual salary of $545,016 while President of Penn State. His compensation was ranked third among his peers at surveyed public universities nationwide, and was the fifth-highest university pay in America, a total annual package in excess of $800,000.
"Spanier spent five years trying to block the release ... by The Patriot-News of Harrisburg [of] the salaries of Penn State’s highest-paid officials, including [Joe] Paterno, from the state retirement system. ... The university lost before the pension board, the Commonwealth Court and, in 2007, the State Supreme Court."
He served on national boards like the Board of Directors of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, he was deputy chair of the Worldwide Universities Network, served on the Board of Directors and a founding member of the University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development, and chair of the Kellogg Commission on the Future of State and Land-Grant Universities. Spanier also chaired the National Security Higher Education Advisory Board.
Child sex abuse scandal and resignation
Spanier was criticized in 2011 for his initial reaction to a sex abuse case involving former Penn State football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. Sandusky was charged on November 5, 2011 with 40 counts related to alleged sexual abuse of minors. Penn State athletic director Timothy Curley and university Senior Vice President Gary Schultz were also indicted for perjuring themselves and not reporting a 2001 incident in which a then graduate assistant and later assistant coach named Mike McQueary said he witnessed Sandusky abusing a child on Penn State property.
Spanier issued a statement the day the charges came to light in which he said Curley and Schultz had his "complete confidence", and they "operate at the highest levels of honesty." After this, he largely dropped from public view. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Board of Trustees ordered him to keep silent. He did, however, cancel head football coach Joe Paterno's weekly press conference due to legal concerns. Paterno was a key witness in the grand jury probe.
A group of Penn State students created the Facebook page "Fire Graham Spanier" in order to call on Penn State's Board of Trustees to fire Spanier. An online petition at change.org called for Spanier's ouster. It garnered over 1,700 signatures in four days.
The Penn State Board of Trustees announced on the night of November 9, 2011 that Spanier had resigned and head football coach Joe Paterno had been fired—in both cases, effective immediately. Several Penn State sources told StateCollege.com and The Patriot-News of Harrisburg that Spanier and Board of Trustees vice chairman John Surma mutually agreed that the best way forward for all involved would be for Spanier to resign "voluntarily and with grace." However, the decision was not entirely voluntary; earlier that day The Express-Times of Easton reported the Board of Trustees had given Spanier an ultimatum—resign before that night's meeting or be fired. A member of the board later told The Morning Call of Allentown that the board was very angry about his statement of unconditional support for Curley and Schultz. Although he is no longer president, Spanier is still a tenured professor at Penn State. Provost Rodney Erickson was named his successor.
The Board of Trustees issued a statement on March 12, 2012 saying Spanier had lost its support by making unauthorized statements to the press and not telling it all that he knew about the 2001 incident.
A Phoenix private investigator named Paul McLaughlin came forward in the wake of the Sandusky revelations. He charged in the early 2000s Spanier and others at Penn State rebuffed his efforts to report his own sexual abuse. McLaughlin charged he was sexually abused as an 11-year-old in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He named, among others, PSU education professor John T. Neisworth.
McLaughlin secretly taped a telephone conversation with Neisworth which contains a purported confession. He said Spanier responded "Don't bother" when McLaughlin offered to send him the tape. McLaughlin states his conversation with Spanier occurred in March, 2002 days before the alleged Sandusky rape. "Neisworth retired in 2002, though he continued teaching a distance-education course for a few more years," was reported in the New York Times.
Although McLaughlin identified him as a PSU administrator he contacted, dean of college education David Monk said he had "no personal contacts from Mr. McLaughlin at any point". He said had not been offered the tape. He acknowledged contact from a McLaughlin family member. He went on to say, “I did take the charges seriously and immediately determined that Mr. Neisworth’s Penn State duties did not involve direct contact with children.”
McLaughlin says one university official sent back a copy of the recording unopened. He also said Spanier told him, "whatever I wanted to get from the school, I wasn't going to get it". The Times article states a report from a PSU official there is no record of calls to Spanier.
McLaughlin states John Neisworth paid him a "six-figure" settlement after a lawsuit. Criminal charges were brought against three men including Neisworth all of whom denied the charges. All three men McLaughlin charged, including Neisworth, were acquitted at trial.
The judge ruled the tape McLaughlin made was not admissible as evidence. McLaughlin said the charges were not sustained due to admissibility and statutes of limitations issues. He states the abuse took place in more than one state, but Maryland was the only one that allowed charges going back as far as his allegations.
On May 25, 2012, the Centre Daily Times reported that Spanier is suing the university to turn over some emails related to the Sandusky scandal. The report states his attorneys say he needs these e-mails to refresh his memory. It did not make reference to either the grand jury investigation or the internal investigation initiated by Penn State. The report in the Centre Daily Times also contained a statement prosecutors updated the date McQueary reportedly witnessed Sandusky sexually abusing a ten year old boy from February 2001 to March 2002.
Spanier was listed as one of four officials at the center of the school's failure to respond to Sandusky's predatory behavior. According to a school investigation by Louis Freeh, Spanier, Schultz, Curley and Paterno "failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade." The report concluded that the four "concealed Sandusky's activities from the Board of Trustees, the University community and authorities." In addition, the report said that the four men "exhibited a striking lack of empathy for Sandusky's victims by failing to inquire as to their safety and well-being" and that they "empowered Sandusky to attract potential victims to the campus and football events by allowing him to have continued, unrestricted and unsupervised access to the University's facilities and affiliation with the University's prominent football program."
Spanier and his attorneys have since disputed accuracy of the Freeh Report's findings.
On November 1, 2012; the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and NBC News, citing sources close to the investigation, reported that Spanier would be formally charged for his alleged role in covering up Sandusky's crimes. Later that day, Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly announced that Spanier had been indicted for grand jury perjury, obstruction of justice, child endangerment, failure to report child abuse and conspiracy in connection with the scandal. Curley and Schultz were also indicted for these charges in a superseding indictment.
On November 7, 2012, Spanier was arraigned and released on bail on charges he lied about and concealed child sex abuse allegations involving Jerry Sandusky.
It was reported on December 4, 2012, that Spanier was seeking lighter bail restrictions that would allow him to travel outside of Pennsylvania. In addition he wanted his passport back for the duration of several foreign travel trips that he desires to take in Europe while on bail. As of February 2013, Spanier had been granted permission to travel outside of Pennsylvania, but not to foreign countries.
On July 30, 2013, Judge William Wenner found sufficient probable cause to hold Spanier on the felony obstruction, conspiracy, and child endangerment charges.
Internet and copyright issues
Graham Spanier has an interest in internet technology and he was a founding member of the Internet2 board. He was recognized by Al Gore in 1997 for his work on the University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development (UCAID). More recently Spanier became an outspoken critic of unmonitored online file sharing, and testified before Congress in 2002 about the issue.
He was the first University president to collaborate with music companies in an effort to halt illegal file sharing among students when Penn State signed a contract with Napster that provided all students access to Napster's music catalog. He signed a contract with Ruckus Network in 2007 which provides ad-supported access to millions of songs and videos to Penn State students. He served as co-chair of the Committee on Higher Education and the Entertainment Industry.
Colleges and universities are collaborative communities. In that spirit, many different segments of academia have contributed their views and perspectives on how higher education should address the issues posed by illegal file-sharing. And we have some level of responsibility for the well being of millions of young men and women who, while in the transition from adolescence to adulthood, are massive consumers of entertainment products at the same time they are developing personal value systems.
— Graham Spanier, "Peer to Peer Piracy on University Campuses: An Update"
Spanier and his wife Sandra have two children, Brian and Hadley. Both their children have attended Penn State University. His wife Sandra is a professor of English at Penn State.
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- Spanier, Graham (1975). "Mate Swapping: Perceptions, Value Orientations, and Participation in a Midwestern Community". Archives of Sexual Behavior 4. Retrieved October 15, 2010.
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- Jerry Sandusky, a Penn State University football legend and founder of The Second Mile, faces charges of sex crimes
- Penn State Grand Jury Presentment
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- Danahy, Anne (May 25, 2012). "Former Penn State president Graham Spanier suing university Read more here: http://www.centredaily.com/2012/05/25/3208339/former-penn-state-president-graham.html#storylink=cpy". Centre Daily Times. Retrieved May 25, 2012.
- Report of the Special Investigative Counsel Regarding the Pennsylvania State University Related to the Child Sexual Abuse Committed by Gerald A. Sandusky. Jul 2012. p. 14-15.
- Ganim, Sarah (July 12, 2012). "Joe Paterno, others covered up Jerry Sandusky abuse of children, PSU-Freeh report says". The Patriot-News. Retrieved July 12, 2012.
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- Ganim, Sarah (November 1, 2012). The Patriot-News (PennLive) http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2012/11/spanier_charged_with_obstructi.html
|url=missing title (help). Retrieved November 1, 2012.
- "Graham Spanier seeks bail change". Retrieved 14 January 2013.
- http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2013/02/04/bail-conditions-modified-for-ex-penn-state-president/. Missing or empty
- "Judge orders 3 former Penn State officials to stand trial in Sandusky scandal". FOX News. July 31, 2013. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
- Wood, Greg (1997-10-01). "New national networking organization established by 112 U.S. research universities". Internet2. Retrieved January 23, 2007.
- Spanier, Graham (2004-10-05). "Peer to Peer Piracy on University Campuses: An Update". Testimony before the House Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property By the Joint Committee of the Higher Education and Entertainment Communities. Office of the President. Penn State University. Retrieved January 20, 2007.
- Sandra Spanier, Professor of English and General Editor, Hemingway Letters Project, psu.com bio.