Letter: Penn State — A failure in judgment

To The Editor:

One dishonorable individual performed (allegedly) despicable and horrific acts, for which he eventually (but not soon enough) will spend the rest of his days behind bars and ultimately have to answer to a higher authority.

Six presumably and otherwise honorable and moral men failed to perform honorably and morally at a brief instance in their lives when they had a chance to stop the horror. I don’t agree with the conspiracy theorists who keep talking about the massive and widespread “cover-up”. I do believe that these six men failed, when given their opportunity, to exercise proper judgment, and the entire Penn State family and the school’s reputation is suffering the consequences for this lack of action and judgment by the six.

Mike McQueary had a chance to stop a vulgar and inhuman act in progress; instead of intervening or calling police he phoned his father. Mike’s father had the opportunity to tell Mike to phone the police immediately or to do it himself; instead, he advised his son to talk to coach Joe Paterno. Paterno had the same opportunity to advise the younger McQueary to immediately phone police or do so himself; instead, he chose to call in the Athletic Director, Tim Curley, who ultimately called in the head of campus security, Gary Schultz. Curley and Schultz took a little longer but eventually failed to grasp the severity of the situation. Their flawed judgment led to an erroneous and weak conclusion which was passed up to the President of the University, Graham Spanier. Spanier, by all accounts one of the finest college executives in the nation and certainly an honorable man, failed to stop and ask the question, “Wait a minute; what’s actually going on here?” The rest is history.

Although not a Penn State alum, I am putting my 3rd son through the university, and I am “Penn State proud” just as they are. This has been a very disturbing week for anyone associated with Penn State. We all can only hope and pray that the victims and their families will find some solace as a result of this week’s events and revelations and be able to cope with the horror inflicted upon them; none of us can ever, ever, possibly understand or comprehend what they went through. The Penn State image has suffered immensely, but one individual should not be allowed to stain the school forever.

John Austin

East Marlborough

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