Another rock turned over at Penn State, another nasty revelation

Update: Penn State Trustee quits over Sandusky scandal. Read more.

ESPN has uncovered a damning story that wasn’t covered in last week’s report by former FBI director Louis Freeh:

From Inside Higher Ed:

Pennsylvania State University trustees who tried in 2004 to strengthen the board’s oversight of President Graham Spanier and Coach Joe Paterno said the board’s failure to vote on proposed reforms may have helped keep Jerry Sandusky’s crimes under wraps, ESPN reported Wednesday. After reviewing the proposals, Spanier and the then-board chair, Cynthia Baldwin, declined to put them to a full vote, according to ESPN.

An independent report commissioned by Penn State and released last week indicated that Spanier kept the board in the dark regarding claims about Sandusky, the former assistant football coach who raped boys in football locker rooms, and faulted the trustees for not ensuring consistent reporting from Spanier and Paterno, the former head football coach. That report, written by the former FBI Director Louis Freeh, made no mention of the “good-governance proposal,” even though Freeh’s team interviewed trustees about it.

Long-time Penn State trustee Joel Myers told ESPN that if the board had adopted the proposal, “This [crisis] could have been avoided.” An unnamed trustee said the revelation could increase the board’s liability in impending negligence lawsuits filed by victims against Penn State, “possibly by millions.”

Read more.

Woman gets 20 years in prison for beating her son … for crying

This is awful. Once the brutality starts, it doesn’t stop. Parents who think there are no limits to how they can punish their children need to understand that the line between corporal punishment and criminal assault is being redrawn, and in some cases, erased.  (See previous post about an elected official in California who was arrested and resigned his job after being videotapled whipping his stepson with a belt.) 

From The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

A woman who admitted beating her 3-year-old son in a wooded area of Douglas County was sentenced Monday to 20 years in prison, Channel 2 Action News reported.

Prosecutors said Suzie Elie beat, kicked and used a tree limb to strike the boy last November for being disrespectful after waking up and crying.

The 24-year-old Elie pleaded with the court for leniency, saying she did not mean to hurt her child: “Please, your honor, don’t put me away for a long time because this was not my intentions. Please, I’m begging you!”

Assistant District Attorney Rachel Ackley asked for a lengthy prison sentence, saying, “A 3-year-old little boy woke up and he cried. And for that, he received one of the worst beatings I’ve ever seen. … He had lacerations from his head to his toes.”

Prosecutors said the child could have died had a passerby not intervened. The boy is now in foster care.

Read more.

If you want to destroy a child, whipping them for crying is an excellent way to do it. I touch on this issue in Chain Gang ElementaryThe speaker in this excerpt is Avon Little, a third-grade teacher at the fictional Malliford Elementary School:

“I had to answer questions from the police, but soon as I could, I rushed off to check on the boy, crazy with worry. I knocked on the door and D said, ‘Come in, it ain’t locked.’ I stepped inside. He was sittin’ in the dark pointin’ a gun at me. The second time that day I got to deal with that. I flew back against the door.”

She rubbed her wrist. “The assignments I brought him went flying, and I thought, Lord, please don’t let him shoot me over homework. I know it’s a lot but it’s for his own good. But that bullet wasn’t for me. I said, ‘Child, what brought you to this, waitin’ on someone to walk in the door so you can kill ’em?’ He shrugged and acted the way he does. Cold and half-dead inside, a child who’s spent his life bein’ whipped for cryin’. He said, ‘It don’t matter, him or me. It ain’t happenin’ again.’”

Students shouldering more of college costs

The burden of college costs is shifting from parents to students and that may mean some of your higher-priced spreads are being removed from consideration. There’s also a trend of avoiding dorm costs by staying at home.

I hope to write more on this later, but I wanted to get the report up.

From Inside Higher Ed:

Students are shoulder an increased share of their own college tuition payments (with their parents picking up less of the tab), and more families are considering price when deciding where to send their children to college, according to an annual study by the lender Sallie Mae to be released today. The study, “How America Pays for College,” found that the proportion of families that said they had stopped considering certain colleges had risen to 70 percent, up from 56 just three years ago. And the proportion of college expenses that students themselves paid for rose to 30 percent, the highest level in four years, with the proportion covered by parents’ out-of-pocket expenditures falling to 28 percent, down by 9 points from a high two years ago.

Read more.

Ragin’ Cajuns: Gay studies at Louisiana U. sparks backlash

The decision by the University of Louisiana-Lafayette to offer a gay studies minor in its Sociology department has sparked a political backlash across the state spearheaded by politicians and conservative family organizations.

From Inside Higher Ed:  

A new minor in a sociology department sounds like a pretty innocuous development. And the headline on a blog post last week from the president of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette was labeled simply “New Minor in Sociology.”

But the president, E. Joseph Savoie, was defending the new minor because it has come under attack by some social and political groups in the state, which question the minor because it is in LGBT (for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) studies. The minor is the first in the state, although some tracks in Tulane University’s major in gender and sexuality studies may offer more of an emphasis on LGBT studies. Tulane is a private institution, however, and less vulnerable to political scrutiny.

The Louisiana Family Forum, which calls itself the “voice for traditional families” in the state and has considerable political influence in parts of Louisiana, denounced the minor, and that in turn prompted a series of newspaper articles in the state (some of them featuring comments denouncing the university), and statements from some politicians.

“Formerly, aberrant behavior among individuals was regarded with shame. Today, UL Lafayette proudly offers ‘a degree in immorality.’ Louisiana Family Forum is disappointed in this misuse of public and student tuition funds. UL’s advocacy for alternative lifestyles will certainly be met with opposition from taxpayers, tuition underwriters and other key UL supporters,” says the forum’s statement.

The forum also is questioning the website for the new program, which is fairly minimal, with listings of courses one would need to take to qualify for the major. “The university’s web page for the new LGBT minor clearly omits facts and statistics which demonstrate the medical, physical, emotional and dangers of a lifestyle which is counter to Louisiana values.”

U.S. Rep. Jeff Landry, a Republican, sent a letter to Savoie saying that future graduates of the university may not be able to be proud of the institution because of the new minor, KLFY News reported. The letter said that the new minor “fails to provide an economic benefit to the participants or financial sense for the taxpayer.” (The minor is made of up currently offered courses taught by current faculty members, so university officials have said that it has no new expenses.)

Read more.

Review: Chain Gang Elementary “fueled by crazed parents”

The latest Critique of Pure Chain Gang, from Midwest Book Review:

One false move can lead to another. Chain Gang Elementary is a novel from Jonathan Grant, a PTA President and survivor of his own crazy elementary school, who provides his unique case of Malliford Elementary, which, driven by the quest for higher test scores, fights a redistricting kicking and screaming, fueled by crazed parents doing whatever they can to prove it was a bad idea, sabotaging their own school and children’s education in the process. A satire fueled by Grant’s own concerns with the modern educational system, Chain Gang Elementary is a fine choice for fiction collections that are looking for novels taking a statement on current social issues.

 See review.