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Editorial: Morality should come before loyalty

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The recent scandal at Pennsylvania State University, involving their former football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky’s allegations of rape, sexual assault and molestation of eight children in the university’s locker rooms over a period of 15 years, has lessons that colleges and other organizations can use.

Nearly as bad as the crime itself was Penn State’s willingness to cover up the crime and keep the situation in their own house. This shows the absolute loyalty present in many institutions.  It seems that the goal is always to prevent the scandals from breaking out and protect their program at all costs.

Dusted under the rug and forgotten were the victims. Young and vulnerable “at risk” boys, between 10 and 13 years old, who were apart of the charity called The Second Mile, for which Sandusky was the lead fundraiser, according to the grand jury report.

Graduate assistant Mike McQueary, who later became an assistant coach, testified that he saw Sandusky having anal sex with a young boy in the locker room showers.

Had he called the police when the first incident occurred, many of the other victims could have been spared. It recently came out that he sent an email to friends, which was shared by the Associated Press, where he said that he did tell the police.  But campus police replied saying that he never did contact them.

Instead, he told head coach Joe Paterno, who then sent it up the chain of command to athletic director Tim Curley. All Curley did was take away Sandusky’s keys to the locker room and set a supposed ban from him bringing children onto campus.  But, Curley admitted in testimony that the ban was “unenforceable,” according to the report.

Speaking of blind loyalty to a program in the face of horrendous crimes, the Penn State fans who started a mini riot after it was announced that Paterno was fired also displayed the very same ignorance in the face of the facts. Their rioting was just another example of a bunch of drunk college kids looking for a reason to flip some cars. The crowd even had chants like “tits for JoePa,” said photo editor of Penn State’s Daily Collegian Chloe Elmer on her Twitter page.

Where was the riot of students outraged that their college would take something as serious as child molestation so lightly?

The allegations were bound to come out one way or another, so they should have at least taken the morally correct path that would have helped the victims. When Paterno cancelled his press conference to avoid questions about Sandusky, he highlighted the defensive nature their program had taken throughout the past decade-and-a-half, and set off this media mayhem.

In this society that is so protective over programs, organizations and brands, we need to take a stand and say “this is unacceptable.”

But most of all, when management does catch wind of what’s going on, there should be stronger laws that require more transparency.  In the end we all stick to the groups and organizations we belong in.

Loyal employees are the ones that make it to management levels in the first place.  But further transparency between institutions, corporations and the press would be a step in the right direction.

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Editorial: Morality should come before loyalty