Update: The New Republic reports that Penn State is already prevaricating about Barron’s appointment.
Update: Link to the Florida State University response to the New York Times article discussed below. It’s the usual: denial, blame the victim, denial, spout policy, denial.
As that great New York Yankee coach Yogi Berra once said: “It’s like déjà vu all over again.” The New York Times today revealed that the football/rape culture at Florida State University is not all that different from the one Graham Spanier protected at Penn State University. But FSU did a better job of covering up because the corruption that prevented a young woman from bringing a rape charge against the FSU quarterback went from the top of the university down through the local police department.
The FSU victim was drugged, raped, blamed for the rape, and ignored when she went to the police because the alleged rapist was the FSU star quarterback. The police had solid evidence to ID the rapist within 24 hours of the crime with video tapes at the bar where the victim was abducted, from the cab three football players used to get her away from the bar for the rape, and from the video taken of the rape by one of the players on a cell phone. And when the police could no longer avoid making contact with the quarterback for questioning, they called him and asked when it would be convenient to talk. He told them he had to get to baseball practice, so the police said, okay, get back to us when you can. But the quarterback went right to a lawyer, of course, who stonewalled the police and would not allow him to talk.
The Tallahassee police, of course, told the victim’s attorney that the victim would be ruined if she persisted with the case and eventually blamed the victim’s lack of cooperation for the police never bringing charges against anyone. You can read all about it in the New York Times.
Nor was this an isolated case. Another young woman tried to get the interest of the Tallahassee police in a separate assault case, and failed. Her father, a Florida sheriff, filed a complaint with the Tallahassee police. When an FSU student approached a university VP about conducting a forum on campus to just talk about the rape culture and how to stop it, the VP patronized her by saying maybe they’d do something in January, meaning after the football bowl season and FSU had played for the championship with its star quarterback who had been rendered immune from prosecution by the university and the local police.
The FSU president leading the coverup, Eric Barron, was busy applying to leave FSU for the PSU job vacated by Graham Spanier, who was less successful than Barron in protecting people on his campus accused of rape. Which leads us to the conclusion that Barron was hired because the Penn State BOT felt confident Barron would help build a legal wall of protection for misbehaving football players and their coaches. He would give them the same immunity from prosecution he’d developed in Florida.
Besides, like Spanier before him, Barron has close ties to Penn State, and if Penn State wanted to prevent serious institutional reform, meaning an end to the football/rape culture, the BOT needed to be sure the new president had a vested interest in Penn State. Be sure he’s one of the good ole boys and girls. From 1986 until 2002, Barron worked as a Penn State prof and dean.
It is axiomatic that if real change in organizational culture is to occur, insiders are never selected as leaders. Erickson served as Spanier’s provost before becoming acting president. Barron was a Penn State prof just as Spanier had been. This is the definition of profound corruption.
The victim of the FSU quarterback rape dropped out of college, too traumatized to continue at FSU. The quarterback won the BCS championship game and the Heisman.
Barron starts his new job next month. Maybe.