Right decision, wrong response

Are we just sending too many people to college these days? Are there any remaining standards as to whom we allow inside the arches of higher education?

We ask because what passes for thinking on campus today is just befuddling.

After learning legendary football coach Joe Paterno had been sacked by the Penn State board of trustees Wednesday night, students not only rallied in his defense but some rioted on his behalf as well.

First off, turning over vans does nothing but dishonor their hero.

Second, the whole thing was an irrational – that is to say, brainless – reaction. Did these kids think the trustees enjoyed firing their 46-year institution of a coach? It was a difficult, courageous and necessary thing they did. Further, college is supposed to be about reading and thinking – have these kids not read the grand jury report detailing the multiple rapes of little boys that allegedly went on in the Penn State showers – and how the university’s administration, beginning with Paterno, did next to nothing about it after being informed? They even let the alleged rapist, former defensive coach Jerry Sandusky, keep an office on campus, as long as he took his personal business elsewhere.

On that darkened campus Wednesday night, did they give one thought to what they were throwing their support behind?

What Sandusky is accused of – with multiple young victims over many years – is one of the most (quoting from the thesaurus) debased, degenerate, depraved, despicable, dirty, disgraceful, disgusting, evil, filthy, foul, horrid crimes one can think of. And Paterno and Co. thought they could dispatch it with a few calls (none of which were to the police)? Outrage upon outrage.

We understand the exuberance of youth; we weren’t born old. But the minority of Penn State students who lashed out at their university for finally, belatedly, mercifully doing the right thing for the first time in this sordid affair have revealed themselves to be zombies for whom
the college experience may be a dubious indulgence.

It would have been the height of unseemliness, to say the least, to allow Paterno to be fêted at Saturday’s game, with the ghosts of unspeakable horrors wafting through the stadium. Or to have let him imperiously define the terms of his own exit at season’s end.

We hope the students’ instructors are helping them think all this through today. Otherwise, they ought to get their tuition money back.

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