WKU examines its policies in aftermath of Penn State


WKU policies regarding crimes on campus are getting a fresh examination.

Deborah Wilkins, chief of staff and general counsel, is planning a reassessment of how crimes are reported on campus. The goal is to make certain that WKU is up-todate and complies with national and state standards.

Wilkins said she was inspired to look into WKU’s policies after the Penn State football scandal, regarding head coach Joe Paterno and assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. That case resulted in a $60 million fine, a football bowl game ban, and football scholarship sanctions for the university.

“While I obviously don’t believe we’ll ever have the magnitude of a situation such as the one at Penn State, it’s always good to go back through and check policies you haven’t in a while,” Wilkins said. “This is so we make sure we have the policies in place that Penn State was lacking.”

Wilkins said she printed off an in-depth investigation of the case simply because “it was interesting.”

She was “encouraged by President (Gary) Ransdell to look at how the report’s findings could be applied to WKU.”

 Ransdell said he is confident in the university’s current policies, and supports Wilkins’ reexamination process.

“I think she’ll find we’re pretty good and compliant with federal and state requirements regarding criminal activity,” Ransdell said.

Wilkins’ primary focus is making sure university policies are compliant with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act.

According to the Clery Act, universities receiving federal financial aid must make campus crimes reports and statistics public.

While Wilkins said she’s confident the policies are compliant, she said she’s looking to update and further expand several policies.

“Our sexual harassment policies were originally drafted in 1998, so it’s time to look at it,” she said. “It’s served us well, but it’s time to look at it and see if we need to change things.”

Wilkins also plans on developing policies related to minors, specific to children on campus.

“To my knowledge, we don’t have anything specific to children on campus,” she said. “These are the things we need to look at, because that’s what happened with Sandusky. He was given permission to bring kids to the campus, and use their athletic facilities… Here we have children come not just for athletic events but for things like VAMPY (Verbally and Mathematically Precocious Youth) camp and things like that.”

The review is a necessary precaution, Ransdell said.

“I hope every university in America is doing the same thing,” Ransdell said.