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Deliberating Crisis on Campus

At Penn State’s Center for Democratic Deliberation, we believe that the best responses to the University’s state of affairs are both deliberative and rhetorical: arrived at only after careful reflection on the strengths and weaknesses of many possible alternatives; fueled by discussion with those from a variety of perspectives on the complex and multi-faceted issues the University faces; and composed with a purposeful intention to persuade some designated audience(s).

To aid instructors and students in generating productive dialogue regarding the sex abuse scandal at Penn State, the Freeh Report, and other related issues, the CDD has created several helpful resources:

Deliberation in the Midst of Crisis

This set of resources emphasizes a thematic approach to talking about the University’s culture and identity, the real and symbolic actions of leaders and stakeholders, and methods by which to assess and analyze the perspective and reputability of the mass of information and misinformation that circulated in the media after the sex abuse scandal at Penn State first broke.

Page 268: After the Freeh Report

This document offers resources for talking about the set of controversies that emerged after the July 12, 2012 press conference held by FBI Director Louis Freeh, summarizing the conclusions reached by a nine-month analysis of “[t]he alleged failure of Pennsylvania State University personnel to respond to, and report to the appropriate authorities, the sexual abuse of children by former football coach Gerald A. Sandusky" (Freeh Report, 8).  Completed at the behest of the University Board of Trustees, the 267-page Freeh Report provoked a variety of responses and controversies which tended to land on certain identifiable touchstones (artifacts, customs, narrative accounts, and documents)—e.g., Freeh Report, the Paterno statue, the NCAA sanctions, “The Penn State Way,” the “We Are…” chant, Joe Posnanski’s biography Paterno. These touchstones can and should be profitably analyzed both as artifacts and as ideas.  The CDD created Page 268: After the Freeh Report according to these emergent touchstones, providing a series of texts and discussion questions to help guide classroom deliberation.

CDD Blog

The CDD Blog is a space where Penn State faculty and students deliberate about Penn State culture and identity, and the many issues that emerged from the sex abuse scandal and the Freeh Report. The CDD invites you to browse through its blog, and to contribute to the deliberative conversation.