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  • Writer's pictureL. Darryl Armstrong

Penn State continues to deal with “after-shocks” of Sandusky case

Nightmares are terrifying. Penn State’s initial bungling of the “simmering crisis” involving convicted felon Jerry Sandusky was only the beginning of this university’s nightmare; take this statement to the bank and draw interest: “These after-shocks have just begun.”

Last week in responding¸ their latest handling of the situation sets a better standard for their behavior. Crisis planning and management should always include on the front-end not just the legal considerations of how an organization will handle a situation; it also should include the ethical and moral considerations of all possible crises.

This is the statement released by the university. Let us hope and pray they mean what they say; only their future behaviors will demonstrate their commitment.

From the Penn State Board of Trustees:

The Penn State Board of Trustees takes “full responsibility” for not stopping Jerry Sandusky from sexually abusing children — saying it’s “deeply ashamed” about its failures … and indirectly implicates Joe Paterno.

Karen Peetz — the PSU board of trustees chair — just spoke at a news conference, claiming the panel “accepts full responsibility for the failures that occurred” in the sex abuse scandal.

The failures were exposed in a recent investigation — the results of which were released today, showing most senior leaders of PSU “failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade.”

Board trustee Kenneth Frazier said, “Our hearts remain heavy and deeply ashamed.”

He added, “We are accountable for what’s happened here … People who were in a position to protect children and to confront a predator … did not put the welfare of children first” — a thinly-veiled shot at Joe Paterno and other senior PSU officials.

The board members vowed never to let similar abuse happen ever again.

However, even this statement raises serious questions such as:

  1. Why does the board only “implicate” the former coach when the official report appears to clearly go further?

  2. Admitting “deeply ashamed” is a step in the right direction to admit their feelings yet the statement could be better by not just admitting shame it also should apologize profusely again and again.

  3. Is this the same “board” that was supposed to be “accountable” to begin with – should not all the Board trustees submit and the university accept resignations and start with a clean slate of trustees to demonstrate they are serious about future behavior?

When these questions are addressed and answered publicly the skeptics can be better satisfied and the university’s handling of this crisis improved.

The Penn State situation will continue to be addressed in this blog noting where they are handling situations better and how they can improve when their behavior is less than this consultant believes to be satisfactory.

To be continued …

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