The Temple News does not stand with the Penn State students who support the actions of Joe Paterno.
As editorial and commentary pieces in newspapers around the world highlight the behavior of Penn State students and their ‘Kool-Aid’ culture in the wake of the Sandusky sexual abuse scandal, The Temple News would like to lend its thoughts and support to the alleged victims. But the reality is no amount of well-wishing, or fundraising for awareness, will negate the horrors of childhood sexual abuse—or the reality of an administrative culture that put the image of a football program before the well-being of innocent children.
The Temple community has stood with the Penn State community on many issues in the past. As members of the Pennsylvania Association of State-related Students, students, student governments and university officials from Temple joined Penn State and the other state-related universities in rallying for education in Harrisburg last spring. Former Penn State President Graham Spanier was instrumental in helping secure commonwealth appropriations for state-related schools across the state.
But right now, Penn State, The Temple News does not stand with you. While we cannot speak for the entire Temple community, The Temple News certainly supports the decision of Penn State’s Board of Trustees to fire Spanier as well as legendary coach Joe Paterno. The outpouring of support for “JoePa,” despite his actions, is an embarrassment to college students everywhere and especially to your university. But frankly, Penn State students, this isn’t about you.
There are 90,000 reported cases of childhood sexual abuse in the U.S. each year, according to the National Center for Victims of Crime. Many cases go unreported. According to the American Medical Association, one-fifth of victims of childhood sexual assault develop serious life-long psychological problems. Additionally, all children of abuse are more likely to become abusers themselves. Forty percent of sexual abusers were themselves sexually abused as children.
No amount of lifetimes of positive actions justify defending anyone who knows about such a heinous crime and goes to anyone other than the police. Paterno and the many other less high-profile people who knew about these crimes and failed to report them to the police do not deserve your sympathy, Penn State students, and not one of them, not even “JoePa” deserves a rally, protest or riot.
The Temple News acknowledges that this does not apply to every student at Penn State. As always, the people making the most noise will get the most attention. We are addressing specifically those students protesting the decision to fire Joe Paterno.