Accreditation probe a mistake

Accreditation probe a mistake

The latest official inquiry at Penn State University looks like piling on.

Bad news from the Jerry Sandusky child-molestation scandal just keeps falling on increasingly unhappy Happy Valley, Pa., but the latest turn of events doesn't make much sense.

Penn State University has been informed by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education that its accreditation is in jeopardy and that it must demonstrate that it's ship-shape in a variety of fields (governance, finances and integrity) if it is to avoid further sanctions.

Some may think that whatever bad happens at Penn State is poetic justice, given how badly a handful of school officials handled their response to reports of sexual misconduct by the school's former defensive coordinator.

There is no question that Penn State, as an institution, was derelict. But there also is no dispute that the handful of individuals responsible for the dereliction of duty have paid a huge price. They have been or will be prosecuted, fired and/or disgraced. As for the institution, the NCAA's penalties will horribly damage, perhaps even destroy, the school's football program.

Considered in that light, putting the school's accreditation in jeopardy is over the top.

Penn State is responding in a cooperative manner, and there can be no real doubt that its accreditation will be retained. It is, after all, an outstanding institution, with 99.99 percent of students, faculty and staff members having nothing whatsoever to do with the Sandusky scandal. The decision by the accreditation agency to drag them into the Sandusky mess is simply wrong.

Sections (2):Editorials, Opinion
Categories (2):Editorials, Opinions

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Sid Saltfork wrote on August 16, 2012 at 1:08 pm

It's about unethical behavior in university administration.  The threat of losing accreditation forces the university to clean up it's act.   What about White, Herman, Hogan, Troyer, and all ot the assorted others?

cruieo wrote on August 16, 2012 at 7:08 pm

Good point Sid.  It is not just about administration as I am sure you are aware.  At UofI and in particular UIUC, unethical behavior is part of the culture.  From the faculty senate to the board it is not only practiced but encouraged.  Having an ethics office at UofI is a misnomer.  It is unfortunate that the "assorted others" you refer to have turned this campus into a joke to the outside world.  

Manny L wrote on August 18, 2012 at 9:08 am

Earlier I suggested that Sid or anyone else (me included) could file a complaint with the inspector general ourselves if we thought there was ethical corruption at the university.  The last time I suggested it Sid discouraged it.  It's behind us he said.  I could lose my job if I did that he said.  What I'm having trouble understanding is why you keep bring up this past and not doing anything about it Sid?  The ethics officer is the one who investigated all these cases you mention. Is that where you think the corruption is (assorted others)?  Why not have that office audited (outside of course)?  Or is it the board of trustes that is covering things up by sending administrators away with large settlements in exchange for silence?  Is that the body that needs a good outside audit or investigation?

cruieo wrote on August 18, 2012 at 9:08 am

Sid refused to respond to my questions with respect to his reasoning for discouraging you to file a complaint.  His reasons were  highly questionable given the fact he was calling for an outside investigating the entire time.  Almost seems like he has an alternative motive.  In any case, I see no reason to not file if you strongly believe it  should be done and who knows, maybe somebody has already done it.  The issue is not behind us.  The issue is in front of us.  As long as this campus continues to be run by rogue faculty and mismanaged by a weak board and board leadership it will continue to slide in national and international rankings and prestige. 

Sid Saltfork wrote on August 18, 2012 at 10:08 am

cruieo;  I did not realize that you were asking questions.  I read them as statements.  I have no "alternative motive".  Based on my years of experience; an individual acting alone has little chance of changing an inept, and perhaps corrupt, institution.  A group, or a mass outrage regarding the institution's actions does have a greater impact on changing it.  Manny; if you want to go to an outside source, go right ahead.  I gave you my opinion of what would happen.  If you choose to disregard it, that is your decision.  I have "called for an outside investigating the entire time".  There was not one done.  See where it ended.  Nothing has changed.  Nothing will change until either the public, the faculty, or both have enough outrage to force an outside investigation on the next scandal.  Both of you are not understanding how things work.  The governor appoints some of the Board.  The Chairman of the Board reports to the governor.  The president of the university reports to the Chairman.  From the president, it goes down the line of administrators.  If something needs to be fixed, or a problem needs to go away; verbal instructions are given to the Fixer.  If the Fixer messes up, and the problem goes public.  Someone has to take the fall.  Sometimes, it is the Fixer; but sometimes, it is someone in the chain between the Fixer and the Chairman.  I worked as a Fixer sometimes before I retired.  It did not involve corruption; but it did involve making embarrassing problems go away.  cruieo, and Manny; you both are engaging in conspiracy theory without doing anything about the problem itself.  Want to be martyrs?  Go right ahead, and contact the State Attorney General's Office if you have creditable information.  

nick wrote on August 16, 2012 at 8:08 pm

The News-Gazette editorial board is completely wrong on this issue.Penn State has shown a deep corruption surrounding the football activities.Football runs that institution.It has been out of control for years.Check the arrest record of Penn State football players during the last 15 years.Football players break laws and commit crimes at most universities.Penn State stands out because of the dismissal and reassignment of several university administrators who made the egregious mistake of confronting Paterno.Paterno threw the university president out of his house when it was suggested that he retire.That demonstrates the true order of authority at that university.Why would accreditation not be challenged at a school that protected criminals and liars? Football is placed above academics and community safety at PSU. Does that not show a dishonorable attitude toward the mission of a real university? Penn State has abandoned ethics and replaced it with an entertainment franchise.Those making huge salaries and benefits from taxpayers decided that protecting that entertainment enterprise was more important than the lives of children and the families of those children.They should lose their accreditation until they can demonstrate a serious commitment to addressing the culture and values of their institution.To suggest that they have paid a huge price is foolish.Their Saturday parties will go on.Massive amounts of money will continue to be dumped into their semi-professional football business and in a few years they will be praised for the miracle comeback by sportswriters who sell the myth and defend the lies. And so far...not one PennState faculty member has shown the courage to speak against the environment that created the mess and allowed this terrible situation to grow for 15 years. They are all terrified of offending King Football. All we hear are supporters crying that dear old PSU has paid a ''huge price''.The News -Gazette really missed on this editorial.