Monday, May 15, 2017

DEAR PENN STATE: PLEASE GET A CLUE


One thing I've learned over the years is the smartest people in the room often make the
dumbest mistakes. Whether it's because their massive egos have blurred reality or made them
tone deaf, I've often discovered many of these Ivy League and fabulously educated leaders
and administrators just don't have a clue. I'm sure you've had a moment sitting in a conference
room listening to those running the company and said to yourself, "How the hell did this guy
get to be CEO?"

I've been there, too.

And I'm really starting to wonder how any of the leaders and administrators at Penn State
got to be in the positions they are in. They are beyond ignorant and have absolutely no sense of reality, not to mention compassion.

In February, one of their students, Tim Piazza, died during an initiation (hazing) ritual at a
slightly off-campus fraternity house. During an interview in the aftermath of 18 students being charged in connection with the death of Piazza, the vice-president of student affairs offered up
this nugget: the school wasn't culpable for the event because it took place off school property.
OK, great, thanks for throwing that out there.

However, when the parents of Piazza appeared on the "Today" show to talk about how
their son was treated like "roadkill" by his frat brothers and how the university seemed
to ignore their loss, my disrespect for Penn State and their  phony brand, went to an entirely
different level.

Piazza's father revealed that no representative from Penn State bothered to show up at the
wake or the funeral for his son. He went on to say that nobody from the fraternity where his
son died, managed to take a few hours of their day to pay their final respects to a 'brother.'

Yeah, that's what you call a great fraternity and brotherhood.

Penn State responded with a carefully worded press release:

The University administrator assigned responsibility for representing the school at student
funeral services was unable to attend the service for Tim due to a personal emergency.

Let me interject right there.

Assigned responsibility for representing the school at student funeral services?

Did I really read that right? Assigned responsibility for representing the school at funeral
services? Penn State, you make it sound like the school you run is more like Romper Room
than an institution of higher-learning. A person has to be assigned responsibility to attend
a funeral? Good, grief, whoever wrote this press release needed to be fired yesterday.

And the representative from Penn State couldn't attend the funeral of one of its own due to a
personal emergency?!!!!  You can't be serious!!

Um, Tim Piazza had a personal emergency within a Christian Hackenberg throw from your
posh offices on campus and nobody helped him out. In fact, the boys in the frat house threw
water on his face, slapped him, kicked him, and when he was close to death, one of them decided
to Snapchat because he felt 100 likes were far more important than getting his 'brother' medical
help.

But somebody else had a personal emergency, which was probably not a life or death one like
Piazza had, and couldn't go?! You couldn't send anyone else to go to the funeral? That man was
your only option?

I continue with Penn State, with their own words:

We contacted the Piazza family in advance of the service to let them know about his conflict.

Are you for real, Penn State?! Conflict? You characterize it as a conflict? Your professors teach
students to have back-up plans in case of conflicts. They advise them how to prepare for, avoid
and deal with conflict. That's elementary, dear administrator.

How do you characterize the death of a kid who had a blood-alcohol level of .40?

Was Jay Paterno not available? He somehow just got voted to the school's board of directors.
Make Paterno earn his big salary for doing nothing by sending him to the funeral.You could've
sent the team mascot for Tim's sake. It's a helluva lot better than not sending anybody at all.

Oh, I realize the funeral was a three-and-a-half hour drive from campus, but come on, you set
your football coach up to fly all over the country to talk to 17-year-old kids and their parents
about the great benefits of  going to Penn State.  Surely, you could've fueled up the private jet
to make the quick trip to New Jersey to pay your final respects to a kid who loved and supported
your school.

I'm quite sure if Piazza had been on the football team, an entourage of Penn State officials
would've been front and center at the funeral with the hope of being shown on ESPN.

Please, continue Penn State:

The University did participate in a vigil held with the Piazza family on campus. Even so, we

deeply regret that no one was asked to attend Tim’s funeral in his place.

The university did not participate. Hundreds of kids showed up to pray for Tim after his brutal
and avoidable death on your campus, nobody from the administration did. If you're going to say Piazza's death happened off-campus, then please don't try and use the students who were on-campus
at the vigil to say the university did participate because you did not.

Regret? You're getting good at that, aren't you? I recall your regret upon learning that more
than 30 kids had their lives ruined by Jerry Sandusky, a predator who was allowed to roam
around campus freely.

Joe Paterno, the legend who helped built Penn State's image of doing things "the right way,"
said he "wished he could've done more" to stop it. He took that regret to his grave. Those
words should've permanently etched into the craniums of every administrator at Penn State, yet
when they had a chance to do the right thing this time around and attend either the wake or
funeral of Piazza, they ended up admitting exactly what Paterno did.

Heck, you even gave Sandusky the keys to the facilities long after he "left" the program. You
heard the stories about Sandusky for many years. yet, you gave him carte blanche in a place where he allegedly raped young children, their lives ruined forever.

Yep, I'm sure you hold a great deal of regret for trying to cover-up the entire scandal, as well. You
were more interested in protecting your paychecks, jobs, and the image of Joe Paterno and the university than you were in protecting innocent kids. 

Then what happened?

All the sordid details came out and rolled through Happy Valley like a tsunami, destroying nearly everything great you built, including that wonderful statue of Paterno.

According to College Magazine, Penn State has the most powerful alumni base in the country,
ahead of Harvard, Yale, and other super colleges and universities. You mean to tell me you
couldn't call someone in New Jersey to represent the great Penn State University at Piazza's
funeral? That is the least you could've done.

In your massive stable full of administrators, educators, coaches, and alumni, you couldn't get
a single person to represent the school at a funeral that never should've taken place? How sad.
How weak. How incredibly Penn State.

You paid out $93 million to the 36 victims who were sexually abused by Sandusky, I'm sure
you  could've scraped together the money needed to get someone to show up for Piazza's funeral
or wake. Next time, you need money to do the right thing, call me. I'll give you everything I
have to help you out.











12 comments:

  1. 1. This article is fake news
    2. Learn how to write in proper english

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Opinion pieces aren't fake news. Way to go try to use Ad Hominem ("Learn how to write in proper english") to avoid the point.

      Delete
    2. Opinion pieces aren't fake news. Way to go try to use Ad Hominem ("Learn how to write in proper english") to avoid the point.

      Delete
  2. Hilarious! Said the woman who doesn't capitalize the "E" in English.

    ReplyDelete
  3. To lay guilt on the Athletic department is a cheap and easy gimmick to grab readers. It's a cliche. It is trite.

    Yes, Penn State is known as a Big 10 football school, but it is also an Engineering and Communications school among many other focuses of higher education, all of which benefit from the draw of football enthusiasm.

    Football can be an opportunity for a student who otherwise may not have been financially able to afford the education.

    Fraternities and Sororities ought to be the focus of this tragedy. Clubs where money can buy entitlements is sad and unfortunately in which our country neck deep.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shirley you can't be series A.Greg, I'm disappointed with the administration at Penn State. Turned their head with Sandusky/Paterno hoping it'd go away and then not to show up for a kid's funeral is disgusting. If it was a starter on the football team, 50 people from Penn State administration just to show everybody in the country via ESPN how compassionate they are. Not one person from PSU was there. Biggest alumni base in country, huge contingent in NJ. Inexcusable

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  4. Kudos to you for being fluent enough in the English language to capitalize the "S" in Shirley.

    I should have known better than comment on a blog post titled dear-penn-state-i-hate-you.html. Your cartoon mind is not sophisticated enough see beyond the cheap plastic toy buried in a box of sugar saturated cereal void of nutrition.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh, I'm fluent enough, thank you. And my cartoon mind is more than capable enough to produce good content. I guess that $93 million that Penn State was to buy all those kids Sandusky ruined a lifetime supply of Coco-Puffs.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Am I the only one to post who agrees with you? I cried driving when I listened to the Today show interview on Monday. I wondered how do ordinary young men regardless of a fraternity become perpetrators and collaborators? I won't even give these men credit as bystanders. That's an insult to the family who lost their son. Which one of these three is Penn State administration? This students' money was good enough to take for tuition and frst dues and room/board but he wasn't worth assigning more than one person to attend the funeral. As a parent of one college fraternity boy at a big ten school and mother of a daughter about to start at a small private college this not only scares the shit out of me but saddens me because everyone has become desensitized to senseless loss of life. Shame on Penn State and the fraternity. My heart breaks for the family.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Momma. I have plenty of clear and rational thinking people agreeing with me on my opinion. There is no way to defend the action of the frat house or the administrators who didn't show up for the wake or funeral. That's what our society has become. Lack of respect, compassion, and civility

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    2. I am sickened at what happened in that frat house at Penn state. I think elitist fraternities should be outlawed on all campuses. But colleges such as PS promote this attitude within it's brotherhood "we are penn state!"society. These kids are made to think they are better than everyone else. There were no innocent bystanders here! Anyone with even the remotest amount of integrity would have stood up and said "STOP!THIS is WRONG!!" BUT NO ONE DID! Heartless and Cruel!! We teach our children that bullying is wrong and yet send them off to college to haze a "brother" Unfortunately, Penn state is all about the accolades and the money that rolls in from their alumni benefactors. These are sad times indeed

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  7. Paul your column is spot on.

    ReplyDelete