The responses to our Public Insight Network query on the Penn State child sex-abuse scandal are starting to roll in.
John Sievert of Lakeland writes that the case:
“… says that the money has become too important – a case of the tail wagging the dog. Joe Paterno is a decent and honorable man and even he was corrupted by the need to keep the reputation intact rather than protecting the child. The man made a gross mistake, but the quality of the man is that he is accepting responsibility. “
James McKenzie, a retired University of North Dakota English professor and department chairman in St. Paul, also uses the “tail wagging the dog” analogy, and adds:
That Penn State would act this way on so serious a matter … over a long period of time and using even university facilities by a retired coach speaks volumes. That so deep a coverup/failure would occur two decades into quite similar church scandals testifies to the profound distortion of athletics in academe.
… That students would riot over this shows even wider failures to understand what higher education is all about, the nature of leadership, and the profound problem around sexual abuse of minors.
… (During my time at UND) I dealt with a variety of issues involving athletic influence in academic matters from minor things: eg. coaches interfering in Composition classes, to major ones, including a variety of disciplinary and other delicate matters, though never, personally, anything involving the abuse of minors.