Founded in 1974, the Women’s Center was established to:
Dismantle, from a feminist perspective, all forms of oppression, including but not limited to those based on ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Advocate for an equitable environment free from violence and harassment based on gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Create an anti-racist, non-sexist, queer-affirmative space where all people can feel valued and safe.
Facilitate and strengthen connections among people across lines of difference through programming and educational campaigns.
Integrate an appreciation of Women's Gender and Multicultural Studies across the disciplines.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thoughts on the Situation at Penn State

The internet is abuzz with activity surrounding the issues that have arisen at Penn State, namely the firing of university president Graham Spanier and decorated football coach Joe Paterno. The two men, along with other officials, were implicated in having knowledge of child sexual abuse perpetrated by a former football coordinator. As it seems, Paterno was given information that the perpetrator in question, Jerry Sandusky, was seen sexually assaulting a child at the school. Paterno took the information to his officials and apparently never pursued anything beyond that initial report. Last night, in response to the news of Paterno's firing, Penn State students began to gather in the streets, rioting and protesting the decision given Paterno's long tenure as a football coach.

In what world is a man's status as a sports coach more important than holding people accountable for the sexual abuse of children? His defenders claim he did his part by reporting what he knew to his supervisor, and his responsibility ends there. That is a load of garbage. When a person knows that children are being abused, they have an obligation to call the police to investigate the charges. The only previous response to the incident Paterno reported was that Sandusky was not allowed to bring kids to campus with him. How can a man continue to work with someone who has a documented history of abusing children? How could you look someone like that in the eye and not feel that you should do more to help the children that you KNOW are being abused? The students protesting Paterno's firing really shock me; how can someone think that football is more important than stopping sexual abuse? His past career as a coach, however illustrious it may be, is immaterial in this situation - the man knew abuse was going on and did not report it to the police. He was arguably one of if not the most powerful figures at Penn State, it would have been so easy for him to do more.

My heart goes out to those affected by the awful things that took place under the knowledge of those disgraced school officials; I hope people are able to get over their initial anger over the firing of a beloved coach to understand that it was the best thing to do (Even though it does nothing to remedy the abuses that occurred under his watch) and that there are much more important things in the world than football. For the future's sake, I really do hope people are able to do that.

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