I am…Penn State

And I am sad. I have always been proud of my alma mater. What happened? Who knew what and when did they know it? This is a story that will take some time to unravel. We grads are devastated-devastated for the boys harmed and for their families. Scandals happened at other schools. It never crossed my mind that such things–or worse could happen at PSU. Penn State was a university of high integrity and high standards. We were Penn State.

As I understand it (today-Nov. 9, 2011), Joe Paterno was told by a grad student that he witnessed the abuse of a minor by a former assistant football coach. JoePa reported this information to his boss–the university athletic director and reported the incident to the man who was the head of campus security. Apparently, life went on in the Happy Valley.

I have many questions. Did the grad student report this incident to anyone other than Joe? The grad student was the eye-witness. Once again, who knew what when? (As a teacher, I’m concerned about this situation as it relates to my own professional responsibility. If I’m told by someone that one of my students has been hurt (in any way) and I report this to my administrator and that administrator does nothing where does my responsibility begin or end?)

I have an opinion. Joe Paterno should not coach the Penn State football team for the remainder of this season out of respect for the children abused and the university. His presence in Beaver Stadium will be a distraction for the team and their fans. His presence in Beaver Stadium will trivialize the significance of the charges. He has done so much for the university. This act of humility is necessary to begin moving forward.

There are so many questions. This is a story that will take some time to unravel.

The Nittany Lion in happier days.


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