Penn State's board of trustees and the university's new president have vowed to seek the truth behind a child sex abuse scandal that has vexed students and alumni and has threatened its reputation.

President Rodney Erickson says the trustees' decisive action to fire former President Graham Spanier and famed football coach Joe Paterno sets a course for the university's future.

The meeting was the board's first public gathering since the allegations against a former defensive coordinator broke in a grand jury report released a week ago. It has gripped one of the nation's largest universities and touched off a violent student demonstration.

Besides Paterno's and Spanier's firings, an assistant coach who told his bosses in 2002 that he witnessed a child being raped was placed on administrative leave Friday.

Penn State students held a vigil yesterday to show support for the victims of the sex abuse scandal that has gripped the campus this week.

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