Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Penn State Mess

Lots of expressions of shock, disappointment and dismay about the way Penn State has handled the child molesting of its former defensive coach.  As a former resident of eastern Pennsylvania, I have lots of friends who went to Penn State and/or still live in PA, so my facebook feed is full of surprise.

What is surprising?  What part?  That a guy gets close to youth to exploit them?  That an institution tends to do the minimum?  That individuals act cowardly?  Appalling yes, surprising no.  I have found in my journeys that the exploiters and the evil-doers tend not to get punished, that the really nice people do not stand up and confront the bad guys, and that administrators tend to look the other way. 

The one guy I knew who fought for what was right (trying to fire someone who was literally absent without leave [and that was just the fire-able offensive--he had done far worse]) was resisted by university administrators (and abetted by some supposedly reputable and upstanding people in the department) all along the way. 

Of course, why should we expect universities (already corrupted by big money sports programs) to do any better than the Boy Scouts or the Catholic Church? 

1 comment:

Brandon Valeriano said...

I think you get to the point towards the end. To me, this is really about internal accountability in admin units at the University. All too often money making organizations think they are above the law and faculty. The Housing group I am working with now works their students to the point where they are failing classes and quitting clubs because they are literally making too many door decorations. They didn't even turn over a major drug dealer because they don't want to give up autonomy to even the local police.