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J.L. Wall

J.L. Wall is a native Kentuckian in self-imposed exile to the Midwest, where he teaches writing to college students and over-analyzes Leonard Cohen lyrics.

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17 Responses

  1. Avatar Will Truman says:

    As I said on Twitter, something that should have only made the administration look bad has, by virtue of the behavior of everyone surrounding the institution, made the entire institution look bad.

    Penn State is pretty much doing everything it can at the moment to be as unsympathetic as possible. However unsympathetic, though, I do hope they get a fair hearing and don’t get punishment heaped on them for the appearance of doing something (which is arguably what happened with the NCAA).Report

  2. Avatar Stillwater says:

    an inquiry into whether the university is meeting the standards for accreditation could play a useful role in Penn State’s reconstitution of itself in the wake of this terrible blot on the school’s collective character and history.

    This seems confused. The school’s collective character isn’t at issue here. I handful of people’s character, as well as some institutional arrangements that obtained in the past, is very much at issue. Institutional arrangements that obtain at every other university program, I might add.

    I think this whole “punishment mania” thing has gone off the rails.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Stillwater says:

      On the initial cover-up, I agree. Very few actors. However, since then, the school’s collective character has been brought into question. I don’t precisely see how it’s something you can punish a school, for. But they deservedly look pretty bad right now.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Will Truman says:

        What have they done that looks so bad?

        What have they done recently that actually is bad?Report

        • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Stillwater says:

          Thank you Still! I have been wondering what to write about next. Now I know!Report

        • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Stillwater says:

          The riots following JoPa’s dismissal, for one thing. The rioting stopped, but the attitude that lead to it still hasn’t gone away (or doesn’t seem to have). From the PSU community, I am seeing more anger directed outward than much directed inward (except at Erickson, for selling them out).Report

          • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Will Truman says:

            The Penn State board needs to be dismissed.Report

          • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Will Truman says:

            Agreed that the PSU community has acquitted itself with the moral rectitude of a pack of alley cats in directing anger outward rather than regrets and self-examination inward. But what does that have to do with whether the administration and the executive direction are so corrupted and tainted by this scandal that an otherwise respectable academic institution deserves to lose accreditation? Particular individuals need to be disciplined (I’ll stop short of saying “fired” because the particulars of individual cases should be considered) for not reporting what they knew to the relevant authorities, but that’s been a given for some time.

            The primary concern raised by Ms. Rosenberg is the value of the claims against the institution by Sandusky’s victims. Here, the example of the various suits against Roman Catholic disoceses are informative indeed. Such a claim typically verdicts or settles out between one and two million dollars per victim. As Ms. Rosenberg points out, Penn State has a $1.8 billion endowment and annual revenues of $4.6 billion. Even if there is no insurance available upon which at least a claim could be made (a notion that would absolutely boggle my mind, although a coverage dispute between PSU and the insurers would be practically inevitable) that seems like an adequate nut with which to meet even hundreds of claims and still remain viable as an institution.Report

            • Avatar Trumwill Mobile in reply to Burt Likko says:

              Burt, I agree that formal punishment of acredidation is problematic here. Arguably the Brittany Benefield fiasco at UAB represented more of a problem in this regard and they didn’t lose accredation.Report

  3. Avatar BlaiseP says:

    Removing Penn State’s accreditation is overkill. That said, I’d ask everyone who worked in the Nittany Lions football chain of command to write a letter of resignation.

    That football program is like the old joke about Bill Gates going to the doctor with a frog on his head. “What’s going on here?” the doctor asks. “Well, it started out as a wart on my ass” the frog replies.

    Any school could find itself in this sort of cleft stick. The problem is how the football program came to so completely dominate Penn State. Other schools are in the same predicament, wrapped around their football program. LSU ruled Honey Badger Mathieu permanently ineligible. Someone’s in charge at LSU.

    Nobody was in charge at Penn State. When the school sent a contingent around to JoePa to gently ask him to retire, he ran them out. Penn State’s accreditation isn’t the problem, it’s the school leadership. They probably all need to go. Get some local native tribe to come in there to burn purifying smoke and cleanse that place after they leave, it’s blighted. Turn the page.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to BlaiseP says:

      “The problem is how the football program came to so completely dominate Penn State. ”

      Money. Paterno wasn’t part of the football program; he was part of PSU’s marketing department.Report

      • Avatar J.L. Wall in reply to DensityDuck says:

        That’s also the best analysis I’ve seen for why Billy Gillesipe didn’t work out at UK — he thought he was hired to be the basketball coach; it turned out he was hired to run marketing.Report

  4. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    My son has a buddy who’s starting at University of Pennsylvania this fall. His parents report that everyone there says the full ten syllables rather than risking ambiguity with “Penn”.Report

  5. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    bubububububu child molesterrrrrrrrs

    It’s the only real taboo we have left, so we gotta be extra-special angry about it to show that we’re not just a bunch of amoral assholes!Report

    • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to DensityDuck says:

      Exactly. The NCAA has (Sgt. Schultz voice) No-THING to do with establishing and maintaining the rules governing what for all purposes is a gulag of gladiatorial farms.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to DensityDuck says:

      I quibble: “Taboo” implies that the activity is objectively harmless but culturally forbidden. I’m not sure that child molestation would meet that definition. We also still have pretty strong taboos against cannibalism, incest (even between consenting adults), and the eating of certain kinds of meat (harvested from animals deemed cute like dogs and cats). I wouldn’t pick up the sword and object to the idea that these other taboos are not quite as intense as they used to be.

      But your larger point is exactly right — the presence of child molestation anywhere in the picture seems to justify a hysterical, Body-Snatcher-Pointing-And-Howling sort of reaction.Report

  6. Avatar MikeSchilling says:

    This makes about as much sense as condemning all of the campus buildings, because how can you trust people like that to have enough fire exits?Report