Penn State Scandal - Human Behavior

3508 words 15 pages
Case Study
“Penn State Scandal – From A Human Behavior Perspective”
Elisa-Ruth Nelson
Southern New Hampshire University

November 5, 2011, Pennsylvania grand jury indicted former Penn State assistant coach Gerald Sandusky, accusing him of sexually assaulting young boys. On June 22, 2012, Sandusky was found guilty of 45 of 48 child sex abuse charges. Nearly four months later, (October 9, 2012) Sandusky received a 30 – 60 year sentence. This scandal eventually forced further investigations into whether or not Penn State officials neglected to act when individuals reported Sandusky’s inappropriate behavior with young boys. It also tainted a highly revered university and led to the firing of its college coach along
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“I want to make sure everyone understands that the discipline of the players involved will be handled by me as soon as I am comfortable that I know all the facts,” said the April 7, 2007, e-mail, which was signed “Joe.”
There is no doubt that Paterno had a position of authority and power. Throughout the controversy and up until his death, Paterno proclaimed that he followed proper procedures and reported accusations about Sandusky to his superiors. Not sure that it will ever be concretely proven; nonetheless his actions and decisions demonstrated self-preservation, self-interest and protecting Penn State’s football program.
Impact of Culture
Freeh’s report not only exposed abuse of power, it also presented how top officials and Paterno fostered an obscured “closed culture” or “culture of reverence” that valued the athletic program over the welfare of children. Freeh’s report provided Penn State over 100 recommendations that addressed potential vulnerabilities, and some of them focused on the university’s culture – stressing values and ethics-based decision- making (O’Brian). “There is an over-emphasis on ‘The Penn State Way” as a decision-making approach said the report; it continued, “a resistance to seeking outside perspectives, and an excessive focus on athletics that can, if not recognized, negatively impact


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