Did you know Spotlight PA is a nonprofit? Learn more about our nonpartisan journalism »
Skip to main content
Main content

Top PSU lawyer to temporarily lead ethics office

The set up raises potential conflict of interest concerns.

October 16, 2023
Spotlight PA provides alerts of its latest investigative and public-service reporting about Penn State University. You can send us a tip here.

If you were forwarded this alert, you can subscribe here.
Georgianna Sutherland / For Spotlight PA

Penn State’s recent appointment of a new general counsel gives the same person temporary oversight of the university’s legal division and its ethics and compliance office, a setup that may create a potential conflict of interest.

Tabitha Oman, the university’s chief ethics officer since March 2022, started as vice president and general counsel on Aug. 21. In its news release announcing the decision, Penn State said Oman would continue leading the university’s ethics office until a replacement is hired.

There are differing opinions within the compliance industry on whether having the legal and compliance roles overlap creates problems, Spotlight PA’s Wyatt Massey reports. While some argue the structure saves money and improves communication, others say the two positions can have competing interests — one protecting the organization by limiting liability, and the other taking action on potential problems, which could involve notifying outside groups.

Defending its decision, the university noted that Oman will not permanently hold dual roles. In an email to Spotlight PA, a university spokesperson wrote: “This is a temporary measure and we ask that you not draw conclusions or speculate when this arrangement covers a temporary time period.”

We want to continue this reporting but we need your support. Make a gift to Spotlight PA right now and help us keep powerful institutions like Penn State honest and transparent to the people they serve and affect.
Spotlight PA is an independent, nonpartisan & nonprofit newsroom producing investigative and public-service journalism that holds the powerful to account and drives positive change in Pennsylvania.

Copyright © Spotlight PA, All rights reserved.

Spotlight PA
PO Box 11728
Harrisburg, PA 17108-1728


This email was sent to: <<Email Address>>

You're receiving this email because you subscribed to alerts about Spotlight PA's Penn State coverage.

Receiving too many emails from Spotlight PA?

To change your newsletter subscriptions and frequency, you can update your preferences.

To stop receiving fundraising messages, you can update your preferences and select "Opt out of Fundraising."

To stop receiving ALL EMAILS from Spotlight PA, including all of our investigations and newsletters, you can completely unsubscribe here.