STATE COLLEGE - Former Penn State student disciplinarian Vicky Triponey tells The Wall Street Journal that football players were treated "more favorably than other students accused of violating the community standards as defined by the student code of conduct."
Triponey, who resigned her post as the university's standards and conduct officer in 2007, spoke to the newspaper after it obtained a 2005 email from her to then-president Graham Spanier and others in which Triponey expressed her concerns about the disciplinary process as it pertained to football players.
Triponey's comments come as Penn State is reeling in the aftermath of criminal charges filed this month against Jerry Sandusky, the former defensive coordinator accused of molesting eight boys over a 15-year period.
A preliminary hearing for Sandusky has been postponed until 8:30 a.m. Dec. 13 at the Centre County Courthouse. The date was changed "to accommodate the logistical needs involved in the hearing," according to a special Centre County website on the Sandusky case.
An out-of-county judge would hear the case in Centre County Court, depending on the outcome of the preliminary hearing. All Centre County Common Pleas Court judges recused themselves Tuesday from hearing the case.
Coach Joe Paterno "is insistent he knows best how to discipline his players ... and their status as a student when they commit violations of our standards should NOT be our concern ... and I think he was saying we should treat football players different from other students in this regard," Triponey wrote in a Aug. 12, 2005, email obtained by the newspaper. (on.wsj.com/tORKJ2)
"Coach Paterno would rather we NOT inform the public when a football player is found responsible for committing a serious violation of the law and/or our student code," she wrote in the email, "despite any moral or legal obligation to do so."
Triponey's email was written the day after a meeting in which Paterno criticized Triponey for "meddling," the Journal reported citing two anonymous sources.
In a response to her note, Curley wrote Paterno felt "it should be his call if someone should practice and play in athletics."
In a statement Monday to the Journal, Triponey said: "There were numerous meetings and discussions about specific and pending student discipline cases that involved football players," which included "demands" to adjust the process for players resulting in them being treated "more favorably than other students accused of violating the community standards as defined by the student code of conduct."
Paterno and Spanier were ousted from their jobs in the wake of the scandal. Curley was indicted for perjury in the case and has been placed on administrative leave. He has denied any wrongdoing.
Paterno's lawyer, Wick Sollers, told the Journal through a spokesman that "the allegations that have been described are out of context, misleading and filled with inaccuracies. ... Penn State's record of producing successful student athletes under coach Paterno's guidance is unquestioned."
Spanier didn't respond to the Journal's requests for comment, and a Penn State spokesman also declined to comment to the newspaper.
A representative for Curley told the newspaper that "he tried to make sure all student athletes were treated equally with regard to the code of conduct."