Tag Archives: penn state 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?

If You Have Nothing Nice to Say…

By now most of us are familiar with the scandal at Penn State University in which a football coach, both as an employee of the university and then after he left his position, had free run of the campus and used that freedom to unleash his inner pedophile and molest young boys with whom he crossed paths. As he did, the university’s leaders, including its president and famous football coach, looked the other way even though they were aware of the unspeakable acts taking place before their very eyes.

The university has suffered horribly for this:  a good school consisting mostly of good people with good intentions shamed before a nation, the horrible skeleton in its closet casting aspersions on all, both good and bad.  The university has paid in money, has paid in reputation, and has paid in shame and a loss of self-respect.

Recently the president of the university at the time of this indifference to the suffering of innocent children was convicted of one measly count of child endangerment, a punishment in no way commensurate with his crime but the best our system of justice could apparently muster.  When that was announced and yet another end was declared to the circumstances that shamed the university, Penn State University trustee Al Lord told a publication that he was “running out of sympathy” for…

…the university officials whose actions led to the school’s shame?

No.

The repeated denials by the pedophile that he had committed any crimes?

Nope.

The alumni who wanted to pretend that nothing had happened and that the university officials they respected and the legendary football coach they revered had done no wrong?

Not at all.

No, this trustee was “running out of sympathy” for the victims of the crimes:  those who had been molested.

Out of sympathy for little boys and teenagers who had grown into unhappy, scarred young men because of the actions of the pedophile and the complicity of those who knew what was happening to them but chose to look the other way rather than intercede on the children’s behalf.

The trustee is running out of sympathy for the victims of these horrible crimes.

For the victims.

What a horrible person he must be.