Penn State dropped the ball

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How should have Penn State handled the Jerry Sandusky affair – an affair that is bringing down its administration and a great football coach?

In the 1990s as vice president for research at Georgia Health Sciences University, it was my responsibility to investigate any complaints of research ethics that occurred either by falsifying results or faculty behavior – including sexual advances – that could influence research programs. Every institution has problems along these lines. No institution is free of this.

Every university has codes of conduct for faculty, students and employees. Such codes not only define what misconduct is, but set out specific steps to protect an accuser and the accused from public view until an investigation’s results are final.

What happened at Penn State? Friendship, glory on the football field and lack of courage by administrators – including President Graham Spanier and head football coach Joe Paterno – to enforce the code of conduct led to human tragedy.

Once there was any suspicion of a sex act using children as reported by another, Penn State had no choice but to activate its code of conduct and, if this was a criminal act, notify the state police (since this is a state-supported school). They did neither – allowing more years to go by when a very graphic act on a boy by Sandusky was seen by a graduate assistant who reported this to his mentor, Paterno.

While Paterno seemed to have discharged his responsibility by reporting an incident to two administrators, neither of these made the report as a graphic act to the president. It was seen as “boys acting like boys.”

The correct thing was for the administrators to ask the assistant for a written statement about what he saw, and use that to conduct an investigation that would include confronting Sandusky. After such an interview, he should have been suspended and the police notified.

The decisions of the president of Penn State and the other administrators to cover up (for nine years) the Sandusky episode, rather than protect youngsters he “parented,” are unbelievable. If Sandusky is found guilty, the reputation of Penn State will be sadly diminished because of its administrators’ failings to follow the university’s own code of conduct.

One can only hope that irreparable damage to the young boys involved did not occur.

Lowell M. Greenbaum

Augusta

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faithson
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faithson 11/11/11 - 02:07 am
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Having been through the

Having been through the 'church scandal' myself, I can tell you from experience that some of my friends have experienced 'irreparable' damage at the hands of a demented adult just like Sandusky.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 11/11/11 - 02:27 am
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Thanks to the Army I attended

Thanks to the Army I attended Penn State and got a graduate degree from there. I've always been proud of the association and have volunteered to represent them in various venues. I'm also a big fan of their "throwback" football team and Coach Joe Pa. But let me tell you point blank, I'd lock up everyone who acquiesced in this horrific scandal. We need to clean house and bring the pride back to one of the best schools in the nation.

Jane18
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Jane18 11/11/11 - 07:19 am
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This is one time I must agree

This is one time I must agree with Mr. Greenbaum. My hope is that of his in the last sentence..................

Carleton Duvall
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Carleton Duvall 11/11/11 - 08:24 am
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Not that anyone gives a rip,

Not that anyone gives a rip, I was a VP also, of administration for a manufacturing firm. The Human Resources department reported to me and as a result I was involved in any serious matter. Sexual harassment was a common event. There were none as serious as the Penn State affair but we treated them as if it were. The liability created by these incidents was real and we dispatched them quickly. It made for a better work place.

seenitB4
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seenitB4 11/11/11 - 08:53 am
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How do you turn your head

How do you turn your head when it involves a small child?? Sick!

augusta citizen
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augusta citizen 11/11/11 - 09:36 am
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I never thought I would agree

I never thought I would agree with a Lowell Greenbaum letter, but this time I do.

americafirst
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americafirst 11/11/11 - 10:15 am
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Some people still just don't

Some people still just don't get it. This was not a "code of conduct" issue. It was not a case of sexual harrassment. It was RAPE and SEXUAL ASSAULT on little boys by a member of the faculty and everyone knew it. No one even called the police. This perv was caught 3 times in the shower with his victims. (read the grand jury report) and all that was ever done was first to tell him not to bring his victims in the locker room and them to not bring his victims on campus. All the while he kepthis office in the athletic bldg. and they all supported his foundation for kids which he used to recruit his victims, Even today Paterno is an honorary member of the board for the foundation. How that graduate assistant could witness the rape of a little boy and just walk away is absolutely mind boggling and he is still an assitant coach and hasn't been fired. They should all be investigated criminally and prosecuted ncluding JoePa.

americafirst
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americafirst 11/11/11 - 10:24 am
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One more point. Penn State

One more point. Penn State didn't "drop the ball." They actively covered up this perv's sexual assualts thereby enabling his perversions. All to preserve the image of Penn State and JoePa. Well, how do you like them now?

allhans
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allhans 11/11/11 - 11:23 am
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Paterno was close friends

Paterno was close friends with Sandusky even knowing the accusations made against him. That should give us pause to think.
The MSM thought making sexually suggestive remarks to women was bad, and then, lookee...!

How COULD people close their eyes to the horrendous acts by this man on these children.

augusta citizen
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augusta citizen 11/11/11 - 11:46 am
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americafirst, I guess I

americafirst, I guess I should restate my above comment. I agree that it is criminal, not a "code of conduct" issue. All involved should be punished in what ever method fits their "crime". It is appalling the way this was covered up, ignored, what have you. I was just in shock that this letter writer said anything that I could read all the way through.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 11/11/11 - 01:24 pm
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They are starting to be

They are starting to be called the Nittany Liars in various places. Can you imagine the tension at this game Saturday against Nebraska? 11:11

Willow Bailey
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Willow Bailey 11/13/11 - 10:41 am
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"How should have Penn State

"How should have Penn State handled the Jerry Sandusky affair – an affair that is bringing down its administration and a great football coach?"

Perhaps the intent of your letter is calling this heinous act of rape wrong, but still, your language is weak... you make it sound like a routine matter.

It was no affair and there is no one great in this story, except for God and the little boys who endured through their unspeakable physical pain and ongoing mental agony.

Dressing it up is insulting and shows no real compassion or understanding of the reality of this nightmare.

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