Penn State officials made good on a promise last week when they released details of how much they have paid lawyers, consultants and PR firms in the aftermath of child sexual abuse allegations against its former assistant football coach, Jerry Sandusky.
Now they need to do more.
On Feb. 13, the university launched a new website intended to demonstrate an increased commitment to public disclosure. The site contains answers to questions about the scandal, updates from administrators, Penn State's budget and copies of contracts with President Rodney Erickson, $515,000 a year; football coach Bill O'Brien, $2.3 million; acting athletic director David Joyner, $33,000 per month; and David Gray, senior vice president for finance and business, $355,008 a year.
That's a far cry from Penn State's previous refusal to say how much it was paying legendary coach Joe Paterno or release other key information about campus operations, but it's still lacking. The school won't detail its settlement with the late Paterno, who was fired after Sandusky's arrest, or with its past president, who resigned in the midst of the controversy.
Even worse is Penn State's exemption from the state's open records law.
If the university is serious about its newfound support for being forthright, it doesn't have to wait for a change in law to change its behavior. And, just in case its flirtation with openness is fleeting, lawmakers in Harrisburg should waste no time in making sure that open records are a matter of law for Penn State.