Michael Bérubé held an endowed chair in literature at Penn State, one that was funded by and named for the Paterno family and which Professor Bérubé recently resigned. He leads into his essay in the Chronicle of Higher Education with the following:
I don’t need to explain why I resigned the Paterno Family Professorship in Literature at Pennsylvania State University, do I? I mean, really. It was the Paterno Family Professorship in Literature. That’s all you need to know.
Except that’s not all you need to know. And much of what you think you know is wrong.
“The Sandusky scandal is a criminal matter. It is not an opportunity for those of you who hate college football to opine about the evils of college football.” —Prof. Michael Bérubé
Read it. I guarantee you that it will get your blood pumping like an oil rig. You won’t regret it.
I won’t write a bunch of my drivel here, for Bérubé needs no help from me. Read it!
I can promise you that he hits on just about everything you would hope that he hits on, including that vindictive witch, Vicky Triponey:
And I have watched in amazement as Vicky Triponey, a former vice president for student affairs who became infamous in some circles at Penn State for eliminating the right of students to have a say in what groups are recognized on campus, remade herself as “the Woman Who Stood Up to Paterno” (to cite a CNN.com headline from July 2012). If you never heard of Triponey until she began to take her sweet revenge on Paterno, you don’t know how surreal it is for many of us to see the woman who tried to cut funds from the student radio station—for its criticisms of the university administration, some students charged—being touted as the brave whistle-blower who lost her job for crossing the football coach.
Ya gotta love it!
Thanks to reader zbeard for pointing us toward Bérubé’s article.
great find. link forthcoming.
also, why is he stepping down? he points to multitudes of gray areas in the freeh report, joe’s impact on academia, ncaa’s hypocrisy, etc.
but he doesn’t stay in fight. he laments the removal of paterno around campus, and yet he steps down.
I noticed that too. He makes a lot of good points about IT but he never answered the question he posed.
My conclusion was that he resigned because he didn’t want to spend his valuable time justifying the Paterno name on his chair. Or, in other words, he was either too lazy or too busy to stand up for what he believes.
Thanks, because I too couldn’t understand why he was stepping down. For a professor of literature, I hope he’s not planning on writing a murder mystery-we would never find out the motive for the crime. But overall he’s like most Liberal Arts professors I’ve had-floating around dreamily at about 25,000 ft with no clear reason as to why.
Rather than grovel through the >400 comments. I’ve appended the reply from ‘22036873’ who appears to be Prof. Bérubé.
To the people who think I took the easy way out, and should have remained as the Paterno professor: I hear you. I thought for a long time about that. And the more hostile responses here remind me that there is simply no way I could have written this essay if I retained that title. I would be dismissed out of hand as either (a) cravenly self-serving or (b) a toady and an apologist. (Indeed, I see I am getting some of that anyway! Just imagine if I hadn’t resigned the chair.) And I can assure you that writing and calling Sue Paterno was not easy. Really, the easy way out would have been to leave Penn State altogether without commenting at all on the Freeh Report or the NCAA sanctions.
And to those of you who still think the coverup had to do with protecting the football program, two things. One, there is no evidence to support that in the Freeh Report. It is simply your hypothesis. And it seems to make sense, of course … until you stop and realize that if everyone had seen to it that charges were brought against Sandusky in 2001, it would have been a terrible scandal and people would have been shocked and horrified … but no real harm would have come to the football program. No one would be calling for sanctions or the “death penalty” on the basis of the fact that a former defensive coordinator turned out to be a pedophile, just as no one calls for the Boy Scouts organization to be dismantled. Perhaps Curley and Schultz secretly thought otherwise, and were foolishly trying to protect a program that needed no protection on this score. But until and unless they explain their motives (all we have now are some emails about how it would be more “humane” to talk to Sandusky himself, and report the incident to the Second Mile), you’re just guessing as to what those motives were.
The Nittany Turkey says
Groveling is always bad form, so I’m glad you didn’t engage in it.
We can sit on our collective asses and speculate about why the man did what he did, ascribing any number of motives to it, but the “walk a mile in my shoes” thing prevails in my thinking. None of us can possibly know the pressures of the situation Bérubé was in and, indeed is in. He’ll be questioned about it for the rest of his life, both externally and through self-reflection. He didn’t just walk in one day and say, “Fuck it! I can’t take the heat anymore. I quit!”
I think #222036873’s response above clarifies that. He would have been damned to hold the chair and damned to relinquish it. Give the guy credit for handling an extremely difficult decision with ultimately devastating personal consequences.
Here I am, supporting a “dangerous” liberal prof. Who knew?
i never said he took the easy way out.
my point was that he took a way out.
i understand that it’s easy for me to sharpshoot the guy, but he hasn’t provided me with a convincing argument. all he said was “it would have been tough for me to stay”
remind me to never share a foxhole with him.
The Nittany Turkey says
I think you took my response to rd personally, Drozz, but it was just intended to be me blowing off to whoever would listen. Sorry if I led you to think otherwise.
I’m so misunderstood. Like when I wrote something in defense of one aspect of McQueary’s behavior, I was excoriated here for being a child molester. Or like on Facebook, when I defended George Zimmerman’s Constitutional right to due process, I was labeled a racist. It’s such a binary society we live in that there can be no debate, as there are no shades of gray.
The above is a gratuitous rant, not directed at anyone in particular, especially my regular readers who are great debaters. I need some more coffee.
Today’s fight slogan: “6-4 or Fight!”
no offense taken.
coffee is on the way.