Hearts Are Breaking

November 10, 2011 at 9:46 am 14 comments

I’m afraid I don’t have any eloquent words to describe the mood this morning here at Penn State, and among Penn Staters around the country. The feeling is one of overwhelming sorrow.

In the space of five days, we have:

—learned of unspeakable, almost unimaginable acts allegedly perpetrated on vulnerable young boys;

—seen a longtime vice president and a longtime athletic director also charged in the case;

—watched as a swarm of news media converged on campus and made this one of the top stories nationwide;

—felt the pain of watching our alma mater cast in such a harsh, ugly spotlight;

—saw a legendary, iconic football coach—arguably the most famous college football coach in America—announce his retirement after 61 (61!) years at Penn State;

—saw the resignation of the University president (also one of the most prominent in American higher education), as well as the immediate dismissal of that football coach; and

—watched in dismay as students took to the streets of State College to vent their emotions, showing the news media, and people everywhere, yet another ugly face to this tragedy.

What happens next, I don’t think anyone knows just yet. I guess today we’ll start the process of trying to figure that out.

In the meantime, you can read the short news release from the Trustees here, President Spanier’s reaction here, and Coach Paterno’s statement here.

Tina Hay, editor

Entry filed under: Penn State in the News.

Spanier, Paterno Are Both Out Trying to Find Teaching Moments

14 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Anonymous  |  November 10, 2011 at 10:56 am

    I heard the news that JoePa was fired last night and I just cried. To quote a student interviewed on the news, “they’re going after the wrong guy.”

  • 2. Anonymous  |  November 10, 2011 at 11:12 am

    If my 10 year old son were raped on a cold locker room floor, I would want anyone who knew about it and essentially did nothing to be fired. At least!

  • 3. Trish Hummer  |  November 10, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    Thanks for trying to explain the unexplainable. It is a terribly sad day but we still have much good work to do.

  • 4. richard  |  November 10, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    sad, sad day for all of us Penn Staters

  • 5. just another penn stater  |  November 10, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    Thank you, Tina, for your summary. Yes, we are unhappy here in the valley and so sad. We appreciate your blogs and updates as the world we knew came crashing down.

    But I am also proud of our University and the Board of Trustees….their quick action means that we now we can focus on what our university is really about–the academic side.

    I am still in shock that protecting the football program was more important than protecting children.

  • 6. Dave Black  |  November 10, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    It is unfortunate that the career of a highly respected man who has achieved such greatness will always have the end of his career annotated this way. People make mistakes and must deal with the consequences. We all wish better things for the victims in this situation. Joe, I met you a few times while I was at PSU and you were always gracious with your time and comments. I wish you well in your retirement.

    I am glad that the Board of Trustees acted in a way that embodies the values of Penn State. They have shown that no one is able to escape the consequences of their actions (or inactions). I grieve for my Penn State family yet can hold my head high knowing that in spite of the mistakes of some people, the values of our institution are strong.

    WE ARE…

  • 7. Terri in Jax  |  November 10, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    Yes, “just another” and Dave, they did the right thing…. If your idea of doing the right thing is making a scapegoat out of the “face of Penn State” just so the BOT doesn’t have to feel so much media heat and can escape their discomfort by holding up the dead bodies as evidence that they “did something about it.” From what I understand, what McCreary told Joe all those years ago was NOTHING like what came out of the Grand Jury report, and yet the man who did the right thing and took his second-hand knowledge to his boss is fired while Curley – the ONE PSU employee indicted by the Grand Jury – is, I believe, still employed. (?)

    At the end of the day, though, we will all be forced to admit that nothing will make the horror and tragedy of this go away, and it has forever brought shame to dear old State…

  • 8. Janet Guilfoyle  |  November 10, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    My partner is a graduate of Penn State… an all American Field Hockey player with such fond memories of her time at Penn State… she is despondent, in disbelief, and feeling betrayed. I have cried for her and her teammates… I can only equate this to my time growing up in the Catholic Church and feeling the same things and having to accept that the power of an insular world does not allow challenge…in fact the whole goal is to squash anyone that challenges! Money is at the root of all of this, and for anyone to say otherwise is delusional!
    I believe this is going to get far worse than better and pray for the healing of an institution that has always ben admired…I challenge those alumni, like my partner, to stand in unison to say, “THIS IS NOT US AT PENN STATE, WE ARE DIFFERENT FROM WHAT IS BEING DEPICTED!”. Create a whole mourning and rebuilding movement… because you truly are mourning!
    In terms of JoPa… I am not passing judgement.. but if he is found to be culpable, I pray for his soul and all of his gains are for nothing… another big pill to swallow for PSU Grads.

  • 9. Penn State '79  |  November 11, 2011 at 12:30 am

    The Board of Trustees has heaped disgrace on top of dishonesty and depravation by failing to provide Coach Paterno with the dignity he deserves after 61 years of unfailing service. Their decision was based on half truths and assumptions fueled by the Pennsylvania Police Commissioner’s hypocritical criticism of the coach. Paterno did what he was required to do and reported the incident to his superiors; they failed him by refusing to make the mandatory report to law enforcement, but before we pass moral judgment, as the Police Commissioner suggested, and which became the unspecified reason to disgrace the university once again, by Coach Paterno’s discharge, perhaps the Commissioner can explain why there has been no criticism of the State College Police, and local District Attorney who failed to take action when the first report of Sandusky’s depravity was made in 1998. The sad truth is that reports to law enforcement are as often ignored, bumbled, or mishandled as not. The fault for Sandusky’s continued abuse of children after 1998, let alone 2002, does not lie with Coach Paterno, nor even the disregard for the law shown by Curry and Schultz, but, rather, with the prosecutor and local law enforcement who failed to take action at the outset. To believe that the victims since 2002 would have been spared had Joe Paterno called 911 is unfounded speculation; the more likely truth is that had he followed up his report to Curry with contact directly to law enforcement he would have been considered as having an agenda and accused of trying to influence the investigation. The clear language of the child abuse statute discourages more than one report from the institution; had Curry, Schultz and Spanier done their job, as Coach Paterno had every reason to believe they did, he had no reason to unnecessarily make the second call. In hind sight he wishes he had, and so do I, but the fact that he failed once to go beyond the reasonable human expectations of ordinary people, and make a mission of following up on his report of the deviancy of a man he coached, and worked with for thirty years, is understandable. That the Board of Trustees has scapegoated him for allowing Spanier to develop a culture which allowed, or encouraged, institutional cover-up, is a further disgrace of Penn State. Rather than Coach Paterno’s discharge, the Board should have itself resigned for failing to audit and recognize what is now obviously a lack of moral compass by the top levels of the institution. I for one have renewed my alumni membership (which lapsed due to oversight) in large part so I can vote against these trustees and express my displeasure with their hasty, insensitive, and transparent attempt to dissipate their own blame. Shame on them.

  • […] players had planned to meet at midfield for a pregame prayer. Not surprising, not at all, given the trauma of the week, which I know I don’t have to recount […]

  • 11. Philip E Corrado Ph.D  |  November 13, 2011 at 2:37 am

    I am a PSU alum and have very fond memories of my time @ State College. I am a clinical psychologist living in California and for the last 12 yearsI have worked with sex offenders at the California Dept of Corrections. Whenever allegations of child sexual abuse are made public, the media is able to take our normal feelings of revulsion and create massive hysteria. Fueled by the media , the public is whipped into an irrational frenzy. We are subjected to an endless parade of self -righteous commentators and armchair heroes passing judgement,looking for scapegoats, and acting like they have never made a mistake in their life. As for the board of trustees, they are not only cowards; they are intellectually dishonest. They fired Joe Paterno without knowing all of the facts and allowed the irrational ferver generated by the media to drive their decision. It was as if Joe Paterno, who gave 61 years of his life to the university was being lynched by a mob of self-righteous zealots. Itoo, renewed my membership in the alumni association because I too want to vote against Serma and the other nitwits on the Board of Trustees. They should be swept into the garbage can of history where they belong.
    Additionally, what did Joe Paterno really do wrong? He immediately reported the matter to his superiors and trusted they would do the right thing. If Coach Paterno made a mistake, if was a mistake of the mind, not of the heart. He did not deserve to be treated as he was. What about the State College police who investigated Sandusky in 1998 and dropped the ball? I would also like to point out that Joe Paterno is a football coach and not an expert on sexual offenders. He probably had no idea of the compulsions that drive a pedophile to commit the acts he does. I am sure that when the hysteria dissipates and rationality returns we will see what an injustice was done to Joe Paterno.
    Philip Corrado , PhD ’77

  • 12. Anonymous  |  November 13, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    awesome article by dr corrado . why dont we get together and reinstate joe!

  • […] a search committee has been formed as a first step in naming a replacement for Joe Paterno, who was fired Nov. 9 during the most dizzying and distressing week in the University’s […]

  • […] 6. “Hearts Are Breaking” […]

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