90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Friday, November 30, 2012

Penn State Ethics Class Takes On Sandusky Scandal

The statue of former Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno is now in storage, but some students in a new ethics class at the university say it should be melted down and made into a memorial for victims. (AP/Gene J. Puskar)

The statue of former Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno is now in storage, but some students in a new ethics class at the university say it should be melted down and made into a memorial for victims. (AP/Gene J. Puskar)

Penn State is offering a class that gives students the chance to examine the ethical issues surrounding the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

In October, Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant football coach, was sentenced to 60 years in prison for sexual abuse of young boys over 15 years.

Professor Jonathan Marks, director of the Bioethics Program, teaches the freshman level class. Using short stories and movies, Marks engages the students in a discussion about the ethical issues in the case using a variety of formal ethical theories.

“I was strongly encouraged by the Dean to make the Sandusky crisis the focus of this course and it was an invitation I willingly embraced because I think it’s my responsibility to do this,” Marks told Here and Now’s Robin Young.

Marks said the students had to struggle with how to deal with issues close to home, including how they felt about the late head coach, Joe Paterno, who was critized for failing to stop Sandusky’s abuse.

Some students felt that the university’s statue of Paterno (which no longer stands on the university grounds) should be melted down and made into a memorial for Sandusky’s victims. Others are conflicted. One student said if it weren’t for Joe Paterno, he would never have attended Penn State, because he received a Paterno scholarship.

Marks said the class forced students to think beyond the individuals in this case.

“What we need to do is not just think about individuals,” Marks said. “But how we can structure our institutions and society at large to promote the kind of ethical behavior we want to see in ourselves and in others.”

Guest:

  • Jonathan Marks, director of Bioethics Program at Penn State University

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

October 30 2 Comments

How Athletes Are Getting ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger’

Mark McClusky says for elite athletes today, pushing boundaries and breaking records is all about "the aggregation of marginal gains."

October 30 11 Comments

A Computer Model Forecasts Ebola’s Future Path

With the virus in Africa, the U.S. and Europe, experts have created a computer model to predict where it could go next.

October 29 Comment

Reporter Crosses Into Syria To Tell Stories Of Fighters

Holly Williams of CBS discusses some of the people she's interviewed, including women soldiers on the frontlines.

October 29 9 Comments

How Far Have We Come Since The Financial Crisis?

Or are we already going backwards? We ask Michael Lewis, author of books including "Flash Boys" and "Liar's Poker."