Over the past several months, we have watched with horror as the Sandusky scandal unfolded. We stand in solidarity with brave victims who came forward to bring Sandusky to justice, and emphatically and unequivocally condemn the actions of those officials who failed to protect them.
One of the few bright lights in this otherwise dark time has been the way that so many students and alumni, while struggling to come to terms with the magnitude of the scandal, have pointed to Penn State's academic programs as representing the true value of the university.
As faculty, students, alumni, staff, and friends of the academic programs at Penn State University, we heartily agree with this characterization. The value of a Penn State education cannot be measured by the success or failure of its sports programs. It is the product of a diverse and thriving community of dedicated teachers, scholars, students, and others, whose commitment to the project of learning is absolute and unwavering, even in the face of this most horrifying of scandals.
If Penn State is to survive and renew itself in the wake of these shocking events, it will happen, above all, in our classrooms, lecture halls, libraries, and laboratories, far from the scrutiny of the cameras, as it always has done.
In recent years, however, as state funding has been cut again and again, our academic programs have been asked to bear a significant part of the burden. Course offerings, faculty, and in some cases, whole programs have been weakened or eliminated.
We were concerned, therefore, when the NCAA president stated that the money for the fine could not come from other athletic programs or scholarships--a statement that seemed to leave the way open for cuts in other areas, including academics. This seems to be confirmed by the following line describing the penalty: "The proceeds of this fine may not be used to fund programs at the University. No current sponsored athletic team may be reduced or eliminated in order to fund this."
As concerned faculty, students, alumni, staff, and supporters of Penn State's academic programs, we believe that the burden of fines recently imposed by the NCAA should not be borne in any significant way by these programs, which did not contribute in any way to the current scandal.
We also believe that funding for the payment of these and other penalties should not be passed on to students, in the form orf tuition and/or fee increases, or to faculty and staff in the form of salary freezes or cuts in benefits.
If cuts need to be made, they should be directed first and foremost to the athletic and administrative areas where these shocking events transpired.