I’ve been hard on Penn State coach Joe Paterno, and his assistant Mike McQueary, for not calling the cops or pushing harder against Jerry Sandusky when McQueary allegedly saw Sandusky sodomizing a child in the Penn State locker room. It is inconceivable to me that both men were truly satisfied that they had done the extent of their duties by simply passing the allegation up the line of authority, and forgetting about it. Here’s an interesting comment from a reader about that:
Rod, You need to know the culture of college campuses regarding these kinds of issues. As an administrator (a department chair) I have taken the “sexual harassment” online course that we all have to take (indeed, as a faculty member I had to do it again!). The correct answer to every scenario is the same: do nothing and report it to the appropriate administrator. “If true,” Paterno did exactly what university policies all over the nation ask us to do: nothing. The institutions have bureaucratized how they deal with these kinds of accusations. For fear of lawsuit, this whole area, that of sexual harassment/abuse, has been turned over to bureaucratic professionals housed in the legal and human resources wings of our universities. One can guess that Paterno told the appropriate division of his institution and was then told by university legal counsel to keep his mouth shut.
I do not wish to give Paterno (or anyone else) a pass. I will withhold judgment until I know more. But if we wish to be indignant, let’s spare some of that indignation for a system that doesn’t allow people to do the right thing for fear of violating bureaucratic policy and courting lawsuits. What someone needed to do was beat Jerry Sandusky senseless and throw him to the cops. But that would get you a wrong answer on the online Sexual Harassment Policy test.