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Tag: Pennsylvania

Ethics Roundup, 11-14-2011

Ethics Roundup for 11/14/2011.

1. Ethics Bob has a post called – Are the media out to wreck Herman Cain’s candidacy? No, he’s doing it to himself, quite effectively

Here’s a paragraph from the essay:

Ethics Bob

Cain has only himself to blame for the vultures circling overhead. His story has changed—materially—every day, and more than once most days. First he denied ever being accused of sexual harassment. Then he acknowledged that there had been a complaint but he turned it over to the association that he headed and he didn’t think anything had come of it. Then he said there had been no settlement paid to his accuser(s). Then he said, wait a minute I thought there had been an agreement, not a settlement.


2. Gail O’Brien writing in The Week in Ethics has an interesting article –

How PSU’s President and Coach Paterno Lost the Game.

Here’s a selection from the article:

Spanier called the allegations about Sandusky “troubling. He said, “It is appropriate that they be investigated thoroughly. Protecting children requires the utmost vigilance.”

Protecting children does require utmost vigilance; a vigilance neither his actions or those of his team appear to have demonstrated to PSU’s stakeholders.

3. The Ethics Sage has another article on the Penn State Scandal –

Paterno and Penn State: A Matter of Integrity

This is good, very good –

As for the Paterno matter, the decision of the Penn State Board of Trustees to fire legendary and much loved iconic football coach Joe Paterno was painful for some to accept. After all, Paterno had just announced his retirement at the end of the year, after his 46th season as head coach. He had just become the winningest coach in college football history – 409 victories. He is loved by all at Penn State – by the university community, and throughout the state of Pennsylvania. But, is that a good reason not to fire a coach who was told of the sexual abuse of a 10-year old boy in 2002 and did not take any action that might have prevented such a tragedy in the future? Paterno knew nothing was being done by University higher-ups and didn’t take any action other than to make the initial report. This is not how a person of integrity should act.


Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Joe Patern...

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Penn State Students Riot on Behalf of Morally Disgraced Coach

A number of students at Penn State have rioted over the firing of legendary football coach, Joe Paterno. I am very disappointed in their behavior. From the grand jury report alone without any other media report, it is obvious that Paterno breached his moral duty by not reporting a cruel act of pedophilia and allowing the culprit to go free and possibly continue his criminal career for nine more years. Apparently some are arguing that since Paterno told his superiors, he had fulfilled his duty!

There was never any doubt in my mind that he and the college president had to be removed. The issues here are not grey, they are not indistinct; we are looking at a clear issue of right and wrong. These rioting Penn State students are making a statement here, that they do not understand the basic responsibilities of a citizen in our society.

From the New York Times

After top Penn State officials announced that they had fired Joe Paterno on Wednesday night, thousands of students stormed the downtown area to display their anger and frustration, chanting the former coach’s name, tearing down light poles and overturning a television news van parked along College Avenue.

Now, let’s hear at least one person’s argument on behalf of the fired coach –

Again, from the New York Times story

“I think the point people are trying to make is the media is responsible for JoePa going down,” said a freshman, Mike Clark, 18, adding that he believed that Mr. Paterno had met his legal and moral responsibilities by telling university authorities about an accusation that Mr. Sandusky assaulted a boy in a university shower in 2002.

Run this phrase from the paragraph above across your mind – “met his legal and moral responsibilities” Say it out loud and see if there is any way you can mean it.

There are those who believe when they have met the very least of their legal responsibilities, their moral duties are also fulfilled. I do not hold to that. My perception is that our moral responsibilities only begin there at the moral minimum of obedience to the law. We have duties to our fellow citizens and our nation. You could add duties to religion and civilization with no argument on my part.

I teach law enforcement courses. One of the principles of American law enforcement is public support. With the public’s active participation, law enforcement is not possible. The police do not cover enough ground that they can know about any worthwhile percentage of crime. So, the bedrock of American law enforcement is the willingness of citizens to provide information and sometime testify in criminal matters. Without that cooperation, we descend into chaos.

Did Joe Paterno violate the law? Here is the relevant portion of Pennsylvania statute in question –

§ 42.42. Suspected child abuse—mandated reporting requirements.

 (a)  General rule. Under 23 Pa.C.S. §  6311 (relating to persons required to report suspected child abuse), licensees who, in the course of the employment, occupation or practice of their profession, come into contact with children shall report or cause a report to be made to the Department of Public Welfare when they have reasonable cause to suspect on the basis of their professional or other training or experience, that a child coming before them in their professional or official capacity is a victim of child abuse.

 (b)  Staff members of public or private agencies, institutions and facilities. Licensees who are staff members of a medical or other public or private institution, school, facility or agency, and who, in the course of their employment, occupation or practice of their profession, come into contact with children shall immediately notify the person in charge of the institution, school facility or agency or the designated agent of the person in charge when they have reasonable cause to suspect on the basis of their professional or other training or experience, that a child coming before them in their professional or official capacity is a victim of child abuse. Upon notification by the licensee, the person in charge or the designated agent shall assume the responsibility and have the legal obligation to report or cause a report to be made …

Now I am definitely no expert in Pennsylvania law and there can be other statutes that may apply that I am unaware of. But based on what I have here I think it is pretty clear that under this disclosure law, Paterno fulfilled the state required minimum by reporting the incident to his superiors. Now be aware, the question as to whether or not a college football coach comes into contact with children so regularly that he has a reporting responsibility is a separate issue.

So he fulfilled his legal requirement based on a very simple layman’s interpretation of the law of the State of Pennsylvania. But did he fulfill his moral responsibility?

Let’s just make that second question as simple as possible? –

Do you call the police when you have discovered someone was anally assaulting a small boy in the locker room of your team?

If you can truthfully answer that with a “no,” I guess you have reason to riot.

James Pilant

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Manufacturing Enemies

“Pleas hellp,” Tudor Ureche, a college student who was participating in the U.S. government’s J-1 visa program, wrote in the email. He added that he was suffering from severe back pain from the work, and that his bosses said his temporary visa would be revoked if he complained.

Ureche never received a response. But two months later, at least 200 foreign exchange students walked out of the Pennsylvania factory in protest, saying they spent thousands of dollars to pay for their cultural exchange visa only to end up in grueling factory jobs. (The factory packed Hershey’s candy, but was operated by a subcontractor.)

You can find all this here from today’s Yahoo News.

The J-1 visa program was designed to give students from overseas a taste of the American way of life during the Cold War. Presumably, our honored guests would go home with a new appreciation of the wonders of manufacturing in this great nation. Well, times have changed. Now, we give students a taste of our current corporate decision making process. Our new welcome for these foreign students is a semi-minimum wage job from which room and board are deducted so they have even less money than when they came!

Don’t believe me? Here’s a quote from Yahoo News

The J-1 visa program brings foreign students to the country to work for two months and learn English, and was designed in part to fill seasonal tourism jobs at resorts and seaside towns. The 400 students employed at a Pennsylvania factory that packages Hershey’s candies told The New York Times that even though they make $8.35 an hour, their rent and program fees are deducted from their paychecks, leaving them with less money than they spent to get the visas and travel to the country in the first place.

So, our brilliant, innovative and thoroughly patriotic corporate leaders using subcontractors take idealistic, impressionable youth from foreign cultures, uses them for cheap labor, bullying and abusing them in the process, and then sends them home. Wow, so it seems we Americans don’t have enough enemies in the world, we have to manufacture more of them?

Let’s be blunt. If bringing foreign youth here at their own expense and using them for semi-slave labor isn’t illegal, it should be. If this is in anyway, some weird throwback program to the Cold War, it needs to end now.

We Americans have a responsibility to treat our guests with a modicum of respect. Letting corporations, in particular, Hersheys’ sub-contractors do these things is wrong. It’s vile.

It’s bad enough that Americans have to deal with soulless corporate minions on a regular basis. Subjecting would be friends to these people is more than cruel, it is counterproductive.

James Pilant

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