The main deception is this entire fiasco is the fact that Sandusky was displaying numerous instances of damning misconduct yet no one, not the victims and not even the University staff who were aware of it, did anything to report or prevent the actions from escalating. If we are to believe that Curley, Schultz, and Paterno reported the incidents in the manner that was described why then was there an insufficient degree of investigation?
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Upon further reading of the provided articles, it can even be seen that over the past two decades within Penn. State there have been numerous instances (based on the account of Triponey) where insufficient means of punishment were enacted on football players who were guilty of severe misconduct. Thus the deceptions, in this case, involve not only what can be considered a cover-up by University staff but one that was seemingly instituted for the sake of the University’s football program.
What must be taken into consideration is that before the start of the 2009 investigation there were dozens of incidents that had occurred that shouldn’t have even happened in the first place. If proper procedures were indeed followed in this particular case why didn’t Graham Spencer, the president of Penn? State at the time, report it to the police as per his obligation as the steward of the institution that he was in charge of? Not only that, if Curley, Schultz, and Paterno did indeed report the incident yet saw that nothing was truly being done by their superiors they had the ethical responsibility of doing something about it yet did nothing.
Thus it becomes apparent that the reason why the deception was allowed to continue as it did was due to the ethical negligence of not only the university president but also that of Curley, Schultz, and Paterno who knew what was happening yet did nothing to prevent it.
One question that few people seem to ask is: why didn’t the victims say anything at all immediately in the aftermath of their encounter with Sandusky? While there was one victim that did come forward in 1998 with allegations regarding inappropriate physical conduct between him and Sandusky the case was never truly brought into the spotlight nor was it thoroughly investigated. It was only in 2009 that a mother of a 12-year-old boy who suspected Sandusky had performed various acts of sexual deviance on her child that the current investigation was even launched.
Thus, one of the self-deceptions was that the victims themselves had the ethical responsibility to report Sandusky but chose to delude themselves into believing everything would be alright. Not only that, Curley, Schultz, and Paterno are also to blame since they deluded themselves into believing that the “system” would take care of everything.
On an individual level, it can be seen that all the participants involved were highly educated and well respected in their fields. Despite this, they allowed what can be considered the equivalent of a sexual predator to go unobstructed. Yet based on the articles they say that they did what was “right” in terms of reporting it. From a certain perspective, it can be seen that they deluded themselves into believing that just because they reported it within their “system” means that their responsibilities ended there. No, if they truly wished to do the right thing they should have reported it to the police when insufficient action was taken which makes them partially responsible for the acts continuing unabated.
From an organizational perspective, it can be seen that there is a certain degree of psychological pressure to uphold the “sanctity” of an unblemished football team. Thus, a certain organizational culture developed around this wherein any actions that would interfere with the team would be swept “under the rug” so to speak. This I believe is one of the main problems with the organizational culture at Penn. State and thus lead to a problem involving Sandusky escalating the way it did.
It is based on the various pieces of information presented that it can be seen that the problem, in this case, is more of a cultural deception rather than that of distinct individual cases of ethical negligence since all the participants involved seemingly perpetuated it for the sake of ensuring that the university’s football program would continue unabated. It was one where through sheer loyalty to the program the officials involved allowed a man guilty of sexual misconduct to do what he did to not “rock the boat” and let the fame of Penn. State’s football program go untarnished.
What Questions Would You Ask Penn State Officials?
Was preserving the reputation of the football team worth the harm done to victims?
If you could start all over would you do what you did or would you do more?