Tag Archives: joe paterno scandal

Penn State: Those Who Do Not Learn From Their Mistakes

For a school that once had a pretty great reputation, Penn State University is reeling these days.  It’s been in the news lately because during a fraternity hazing, during that yaba-daba-doo-time for everyone but the hazees, a frat member wannabe semi-voluntarily drank an ungodly amount of alcohol (later tests would put his blood alcohol content somewhere between 0.28 and 0.36 percent), fell down a flight of stairs, was carried back up those stairs, had water poured over his head several times in an attempt to revive him, had his face slapped by someone attempting to revive him, was punched in the stomach by someone attempting to revive him, tried to stand but fell face first onto a wooden floor, got up and fell down three more steps, was fallen on and struck several times, bled a lot, and eventually died.  Until the very end, when his “brothers” finally called for help, there was just one – only one – fraternity brother who wanted to call for help but he was thrown against a wall by one of his “brothers” and told to leave because he was a spoilsport and a nancy boy and apparently didn’t know how to party with the big boys.  The courts are sorting this out now:  eight of the revelers are on trial for manslaughter and ten others face charges.

It’s not pretty.

Penn State, of course, is where, just a few years ago, university officials permitted one of their football coaches, and after his coaching career ended just a guy who had free run of the campus, to molest young boys whenever he wished.  University officials knew about it, the university’s president knew about, and the university’s legendary football coach, Joe Paterno, knew about it.  Did any of them do anything about it?  No, they chose to look the other way because acting on what they knew might’ve jeopardized the success of the school’s extremely lucrative football program and at Penn State, apparently nothing is more important than the lucrative football program.  To date, Penn State has spent more than $200 million on fines and financial settlements with those whose trust it abused during this nightmare.

Among the university’s biggest defenders during this crisis, and certainly coach Paterno’s biggest defender, has been his son, Jay Paterno.  He has been outspoken in his father’s defense, as any good son might be, outspoken in the university’s defense, outspoken in his defense of the indefensible.

Penn State has this interesting practice of permitting its alumni to elect some members of the school’s board of trustees.  Recently, those alumni did something of epic stupidity:  they elected Jay Paterno to their alma mater’s board of trustees, to serve on the same body that fired his father.  The same body he has been railing against ever since it did that, as if his father’s legacy was more important than the at least ten boys his father’s assistant coach molested over the years.

Jay Paterno, it’s only fair to note, is far from alone in believing that his father, and the university, were innocent bystanders in this mess as a member of their community in good standing had his way with defenseless little boys.  Significant numbers of Penn State alumni vociferously insist that the university is as innocent a victim as the little boys and unfairly maligned.  One trustee, as The Curmudgeon wrote a little while back, told a newspaper he was tired of hearing about those victims.  (Note:  he’s now a former trustee.)

Is inviting this fox into the hen house stupidity on a grand scale or what?