From a human concern perspective, and first and foremost, our staff supports any and all efforts that reach out to and fully address the needs of the victims in the recent news story concerning the Penn State University child sexual molestations case. Our staff is also in full agreement with a statement in a recent article written by Joe Flach, “….it is especially disturbing to realize that so many of the victims could have been spared this status had the individuals who became aware of these crimes come forward with what they saw and/or were made aware of…”
This posting also certainly does not wish to simply relay the details of this story — however — if any of our readers wish to know more of the facts, click here, to read about the Grand Jury Report concerning the charges made.
So why has our staff chosen to address this news story, and, is there any relevance or are there any lessons to be learned from this developing negative and tragic event? Well, to begin with, and from a disaster recovery story perspective, there exists at least some legitimate Crisis Management and Crisis Response issues that warrant further discussion. It is also important to realize that lessons have to be learned from this tragic event to avoid it from ever happening again in the future.
Given the fact that this story is an ongoing one and could well continue to uncover and deliver more shocking developments, our decision to post a response to this story is also driven from observations that the immediate responses by the University President, Graham Spanier and Head Football Coach, Joe Paterno, although full of nice legal posturing, fell far short of being sympathetic or empathetic to the victims – 12 year old and younger boys – and too strongly focused on posturing to solely help protect the possible culpability of the University and University officials.
While crisis management and crisis response training and planning remain important elements in any effective business continuity/disaster recovery plan used to respond to this kind of a situation, it is even more important to never lose focus of the fact that the Board of Trustees of any educational organization has one and only one main function…and that is to show that nothing (not even football) is more important than having parents trust that Board of Trustees to do the job of educating their children.
The following articles are offered as input to thoughts from others trying to define the healing and learning process in the next steps required to address this tragic event:
“Penn State: A University in Crisis” by Joe Flach
“Crisis Management Experts Take Penn State’s Actions to Task” by Marlen Garcia, USA Today
“Crisis Management Lessons from the Penn State Press Conference” by Shari Schmidt, Technorati
“Penn State Finally Gets It Right: Crisis Communications” by Brad Phillips
“Penn State’s Crisis and Cultures of Denial” by Mary Beth West, APR
“Armies of Lawyers Gird for e-Discovery Battles in Penn State-Sanduskey Cases” by Seth Row and ACEDS Staff
Please share your comments and opinions along with any other relevant articles on this ongoing and developing news story with our readership.