Monday, February 9, 2015

Penn State: The Disgust Never Ends





By Professor Doom

     The massive corruption of higher education isn’t restricted to college sportsball, but, thanks to the spirit of competition, what goes on there is more publicized. It’s no grand conspiracy that sports scandals get more press, just how things work. Cheating teams make the news because the losing side complains immediately after the loss. On the other hand, even if every student in the school is cheating or if the whole school is operating fraudulently, it barely registers a blip in the media: there are no immediate losers. When the graduates go into the real world, it takes years to find out their illicitly acquired degrees are worthless…and by that time, it’s far too late to complain.

     Even in college sportsball, however, when the bad guys are caught, there’s only the illusion that justice is served. The Penn State sex scandal involved at least 15 years of young (not college age) boys being “molested” (a very kind word for it, to judge by eyewitness testimony) in the Penn State showers, before something was finally done about it.

      As I’ve discussed before, the reasons nothing was done are pretty simple; between the kangaroo campus court system, and administration’s fixation on growth and retention over anything resembling integrity, there was no way for a fix to come from the inside…justice must come from outside the system.

     Even when justice is served, it seems to be more of a show. Penn State’s President Spanier, who presided over the years of cover-up, was forced to step down from ruling over Penn State. Hey, that looks good, right?

     It’s a show. Spanier gets a golden parachute package of around $3,000,000, on his way out. If he manages to avoid jail, he’ll also get to keep a tenured, $600,000 a year “professor” position…seriously, nobody thinks this is odd? Einstein never raked in this kind of loot! Spanier is on paid leave (i.e., gets paid $600,000 a year for free—more in a month that most Americans get in a year) while the criminal charges are being decided. So, the front page news says he’s fired from the institution, and on page 18 you can find out the institution is handing him millions of dollars and a cushy job. That’s not exactly justice.


--seriously, when you hear about “tenured professors” making insane amounts of money in lifelong jobs, please realize that much, if not all, of it is just administrators further plundering education for their own profits. Legitimate faculty are being impoverished by an exploitative system of adjunct-hood.

     Penn State’s sportsball program also got some punishment: 112 wins were “wiped out,”  the coach’s record (at least in sportsball) negated, and Penn State also got a $60 million dollar fine (chump change compared to what they pay admin, but I digress).

      Hey, that sounds pretty serious. It’s stunning that the NCAA, an organization noted for its stellar lack of integrity, still has no trouble at all giving lessons to higher education administration on how decent people behave.

     Not so fast. All those punishments?


      The linked article says that, hey, NCAA was a little rash, and has reconsidered its “punishments”.

     Now, I guess it’s strange to cancel those wins, but seriously, that was a symbolic gesture. The players involved honestly don’t care (all their stats are preserved, after all, and, they’re just games, not even “professional”). Even a symbolic gesture is too much for the NCAA.

      The coach gets his titles back despite his extraordinarily foul and disturbingly regular extracurricular activities. I have a problem with this: the coach clearly used his position and “success” as a means for those activities, and so that success absolutely has a taint to it that should be negated (unlike the wins themselves, which was a product of an entire team’s efforts).

      What about the $60 million? Well, it will be spent “within the state” on something or other…hopefully some actual reporter will follow that money, because it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that it just goes to more golden parachutes.

     It’s funny to read the article and see how the chamber-of-horrors type acts in the showers are now being candy-coated. The most profane deception in the article must be this:

  

     NO

     Everyone did not miss it.

     Eyewitness testimony was submitted, repeatedly, to the administration regarding what was going on in the showers at Penn State.

In 2002, the then-graduate assistant told Paterno that he had witnessed Sandusky abusing a boy in a Penn State locker room shower. Paterno informed Curley, who later met with McQueary and Schultz. McQueary, who became an assistant coach at Penn State, reiterated his statement to the grand jury. He has reportedly said that he went to the police; the authorities dispute that claim. The school put him on administrative leave….
--what, being put on leave for daring to ask for an iota of integrity? Honest, Penn State isn’t the only place like this…


      It is insulting to the victims to speak so bold a lie as “everyone missed it.” These acts were reported, explicitly, as much as I’m sure it disgusted the witnesses to explicitly describe what they saw, and Penn State administration did NOTHING, beyond fire up the kangaroo court system and dismiss the claims.

      “Nothing” seems to be approximately the level of penalties Penn State will face based on their willingness to support such activities. How can anyone not be disgusted by this? I can’t emphasize strongly enough how useless the campus court system is.


Admin: The appeal was made by faculty, questioning the prior decision that continuing education coursework at an accredited state institution should not be classified as career development coursework at an accredited institution. The faculty asserts that accredited coursework at a state institution should count as accredited coursework. A committee was formed to make a decision on this matter.
The ruling of the committee is as follows: “Some feel that there is agreement. Some feel that there is disagreement. Some have no opinion on the matter.”
The committee’s ruling is final, and there is to be no further discussion on the matter.”

--in all my personal experience with the kangaroo campus court system, it’s tough for me to say which display of incompetence was the most ostentatious. I defy any normal human being to determine if the appellant won or lost the decision. It’d be nice to know, for any other faculty seeking to satisfy continuing education requirements (having read the policy with my own eyes, I assert any non-moron could determine clearly that accredited coursework counts as accredited career development). I remind the reader: the same system is used for quibbles over policy as for allegations of brutal sodomy.

How is it a wonder that grotesque violations which admin didn’t want to know about remained unknown? Can you tell if I’m talking about Penn State, or UNC?


      I maintain the administration of Penn State is not particularly special, and is fairly representative of the rulers of many of our institutions of higher education. Given the demonstration that these guys literally won’t make a tiny bit of effort to stop the degradation of children, if doing so might cut into growth and retention, why would anyone suspect they would do anything to stop the degradation of higher education?

      I won’t go so far as to suggest administration in higher education is promoting the degradation of children (although Spanier’s $600,000 a year job-for-life does have me scratching my head…), but I’ve shown many times administration has no issues with the degradation of higher education, at least if it will promote growth and retention.

      And not even symbolic gestures will be made to slow them down.