January 31, 2012Letter to the Editor Published
Daily Local News
On Saturday night I heard on the radio that Joe Paterno was in intensive care and I was very upset and more so Sunday morning when I learned of his death. He was someone I looked up to and I have found it impossible to forgive the members of the board of trustees who treated him so unjustly. And I am outraged at the media who did so much to tarnish a good man's reputation. Joe Paterno was a better person than I could ever hope to be and better than those who sought to make sensational headlines. I spent most of Sunday crying and writing letters to each individual (I think there are 30 of them) on the Board. Now I am writing to the newspapers.
Why am I so outraged? Because of my background, I see the actions against Joe Paterno as unjustified. I come from a background in Human Resources. Prior to retiring, I was a Senior Vice President of Human Resources and held the highest certification in HR-- Senior Professional in Human Resources. I have a Ph.D. in Organizational Development and have worked in a variety of industries including banking, retail, finance, telecommunications, and non-profits, and, in addition, I was a Human Resources Consultant for an east coast consulting firm. I am a qualified, human resources professional who wrote policies and procedures and created and delivered training programs for managers on how to handle difficult human relations issues.
I wrote these policies and procedures with the input of our employment lawyers and with an understanding of corporate responsibility, human responsibility, and employment law. The policies and training, regardless of the industry and company, specified that when a manager was faced with a difficult human relations issue, they were to GET HELP. That meant going to their immediate manager and consulting with the experts who were usually Human Resources or Security or Legal Counsel. In training, the reporting managers were told that for particularly difficult situations, they were to hand the investigation over to upper management and Human Resources or other experts who would handle it. They were told that since it cannot be known initially what the truth is in a situation, investigation would be conducted in a professional and timely manner by the experts. The manager who reported the situation would be asked to maintain confidentiality about the situation.
What did Joe Paterno do? He did what managers are trained to do and what policies and procedures dictate they do. That is exactly what Paterno did--got help from his manager and security and was told they would handle the situation. Paterno handed the investigation off to the experts in accordance with policies and procedures for properly dealing with people issues both large and small. That is exactly what I, as a Human Resources professional, would have insisted upon.
I would not terminate someone for acting in accordance with our training and what our policies and procedures laid out as the proper conduct for handling situations. For Paterno to have received a PHONE CALL terminating his employment is unconscionable. That is also something I would not do. Over the years I have developed little respect for the media as I often think they are only out for headlines. They crucified Paterno. Often, the headlines and articles were more about Paterno, rather than Sandusky. Some even referred to it as the Paterno scandal, not the Sandusky scandal. These negative articles proliferated even though the grand jury found no wrong doing by Paterno. The members of the Board of Trustees were spineless in succumbing to the frenzy. They looked for a scapegoat to make themselves look righteous. One member of the board of Trustees, the Chairman no less, had been the Athletic Director and the head of Security at Penn State during the previous allegations against Sandusky. Isn't that ironic.
The way the Media and the Board of Directors handled Joe Paterno related to the Sandusky scandal, to me, was appalling.
Peggy L. Bauer Glaser, Ph.D.
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