Sunday, November 13, 2011
Think for a Change (19): The Other Ethical Problem with the Penn State Sex Abuse Scandal
In light of the Penn State scandal that has struck Happy Valley and gained news coverage across the nation, I think it is important to remember that there are multiple issues at stake. Not just Penn State's reputation; not the jobs of a few men; not simply that a number of young boys were abused and victimized. It is important to recognize that all of these elements were combined in such a way that led to moral failures on behalf of university administration and leaders who protected the image of an institutional at the expense of the interests of individual victims. The prevalence of sexual abuse must be addressed at large, but this reveals the dangers of sexual abuse when it is mixed with institutional power. Figuring out how to encourage a greater ability to locate moral accountability and cultivate moral sensibility, along with fostering the capacity to do right actions, should be a major task that is highlighted by this very sad and disturbing situation.