Around the same time period as the University’s initial cover-up of Sandusky’s alleged transgressions, Black Penn State students were receiving very aggressive and very sincere hate mail. Eventually the hate mail became death threats, culminating in the discovery of a Black man’s dead body near campus.
Students feared for their lives on a daily basis; even at graduation. And the University did nothing.
“Ultimately, a black man’s dead body was found by police near Penn State as one of the death threats said it would. And some black students had to attend their graduation the following May with bulletproof vests on in fear of their life.
But few know about the death threats because Penn State and Joe Paterno were not willing to allow bad publicity to ruin the university’s image, say some of the black students at the center of the tragic events.”
Some of the students even met with Joe Paterno regarding specific threats against African American players on his football team. Paterno’s response was not only chilling, but should put to rest any doubts regarding Paterno’s willingness to”turn a blind eye” and be complicit in a cover-up.
“Assata Richards, who was a leader of the Village student movement to increase diversity initiatives at Penn State, was at the 2001 meeting with Wolf and Paterno and today still remembers the cold response he gave them about the death threats.
‘We asked him to talk to the players because we were concerned about their safety,’ says Richards, ‘and he said in that meeting that he would never do anything to put the university in a bad light. So we said, ‘Then you are choosing the university over students lives.”
Wolf was chilled by Paterno’s response also. She says Paterno told them, ‘I’m only a football coach.’
Says Wolf, ‘To me that said that even if he had specific knowledge of football players’ or students’ lives in danger that he wouldn’t allow that to risk Penn State’s image being tainted and that is something that has stuck in my mind for the last ten years.'”
What do you think of Penn State’s culture of cover-ups?
Does this behavior extend to Universities across the country?
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