An Open Letter to The Penn State Administration

Today Penn State sent out an e-mail from the administration to their alumni and donors asking for civility and respect as it relates to some of the issues that they feel have divided the Penn State community.

To the PSU President and administration asking for civility....I will be civil in my response as I have remained over and over again facing national and international media responding to countless false narratives against this University, our football program & many good people --false narratives paid for & advanced with University funds through the Freeh Report & Consent Decreee.

You ask for civility you ask us to feel sorry for "the donor of time and treasure who no longer feels welcome" --I do feel sorry for someone like that---I know someone like that.

You ask us for respect. You say "we are likely to never have the full story"--I will say this as civilly as I can--that's a cop out. I point to something written by Thomas Jefferson in a letter to British Historian William Roscoe describing the goal of Jefferson's newly founded University of Virginia.

"For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it."

You are right in this--we do not have the full story yet. Squelching dissent by labeling those we disagree with as being disrespectful or not being civil is an easy way to try and vilify those with opinions unlike our own. Luckily we have reason to combat the errors of the past. You can be a leader in that regard.

Going back to Jefferson's University; you may recall that The University of Virginia's governing Board of Visitors tried to force out the University's President in a coup--but that ultimately the voices of the alumni, students and faculty were heard, respected and the President was re-instated.

But remember this--Respect is earned and is a two-way street.

In your YouTube video you seem to wonder where this incivility comes from. Here is your answer; It is the way that frustrated people express themselves when they feel disenfranchised, or that people in power ignore what they have to say. It is the frustration adults feel when they get lectured to by people who are detached from all that has happened. The actions of the University Administration have created people who legitimately feel frustrated and disenfranchised.

I appreciate the idea behind the e-mail, but unfortunately the people advising you have only added fuel to the fire.

Stating the truth is not incivility and is not disrespectful. I am reminded of something a good man and a great football coach used to remind his team. It came from a sign he'd seen behind a high school coach's desk in New Jersey and is based in scripture:

"I hope I won't lose your friendship because I tell you the truth"

Most importantly for Penn State, the university that we love---The truth is out there, it is real, it is tangible and it will free all of us. Allow it to arrive no matter how much it may hurt egos, how messy it may seem or who may object. That should be the very goal of any University and certainly should be the goal of a World-Class University like Penn State.

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