Friday, July 13, 2012

The Penn State Lesson

or, What Most People Won't Learn From the Penn State Affair...
The factual conclusions of the investigation of Pennsylvania State University’s cover-up of serial sex crimes by one of its former football coaches are searing enough: the university’s leaders did nothing for nearly a decade and a half — from the late-1990s until just recently — while a predator trawled for children in their midst, using the school’s football program as a lure. Worse than that ... the school’s leaders worked diligently to conceal significant facts about the case from the authorities, the board of trustees, the university community and the broader public.

But the exhaustive investigation by Louis J. Freeh, a former federal judge and F.B.I. director, goes much further. It shows how slavish devotion to some institutional imperative can trump everything, including the law, basic human decency and the bedrock obligation we all have to protect defenseless children from harm. At Penn State, the imperative was protecting a storied football program and its legendary coach. In another huge institution betraying children under its protection, the Roman Catholic Church, it was the sanctity of the priesthood....
The quote above is from a New York Times story.

Here's the question: If university officials are willing to cover up and even facilitate the serial sexual predation of children, how likely is it that they give an iota of thought to the vivisection occurring on their campus? I'll wager that the answer is obvious.

Why would presumably otherwise decent people cover up years of sexual predation on children? The answer ought to jump out and bite you. The reason is money. Money. That's it. Money... the undeniable corrupter of everything good.

If senior and other staff at Penn State were willing to protect a serial child sex preditor for so long, how likely is it that university ACUC members, university senior staff, and everyone else involved are willing to cover up the hideous cruelty occurring in university labs? I'll wager that it is certain. 100% likely.

What this ought to suggest to most informed observers is that no one associated with the massive inflow of tax dollars flowing into the nation's universities can be trusted. No one. The amount of money is simply overwhelming. Completely overwhelming.

I think a very few people might be able to stand up to such a compelling enticement and do the right thing, but not very many. And people who consistently acquiesce to, sanction, and defend clearly worthless "science" and thereby condone matter-of-fact cruelty, aren't part of that very tiny group of stiff-spined people.

UW-Madison recently hyped the fact that it broke the $1 billion level in research funding. Penn State's football program brought in less that 7% of that amount.

If a university president and a university culture are willing to shelter child sexual predators for such a relatively small amount, how likely is it that they would defend a program bringing in so much more?

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