Despite receiving $279 million from the state this year, Penn State is considered a “state-related” school — along with Lincoln, Pittsburgh and Temple — and thus is exempt from the open-records law that applies to Pennsylvania’s 14 public universities.
“They carved out a niche for themselves,” said Terry Mutchler, executive director of the state’s office of open records. “It’s befuddling to the citizens of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania about how they sit down and write a check for $279 million and [Penn State doesn’t] have accountability to taxpayers.”
Because of the exemption, data such as emails between Penn State administrators about Mr. Sandusky, telephone records, details of legal fees, contracts, minutes of meetings and more are shielded from public view.
Alaska and Delaware are the only other states to use similar exemptions.
Pennsylvania state legislators are rushing to remove the unusual loophole from the state’s open-records act. Penn State President Graham B. Spanier, who has since been fired, campaigned vigorously for the exemption.