The so-called leaders of Penn State’s board of trustees — Ira Lubert, Mark Dambly and their associates — are pushing for changes in the board’s Expectations of Membership to prohibit or at least discourage trustees from publicly criticizing any decision of the board.
They and their predecessors have consistently demonstrated a far lower standard of behavior than what the U.S. Military Academy requires from first-year cadets.
The Simon Center for the Professional Military Ethic makes it emphatically clear that there are circumstances under which a cadet not only need not, but absolutely must not, support a group’s decision (as described above) or even a superior officer’s order. A cadet must disobey his platoon leader’s directive to wear insignia to which he is not entitled (a form of lying) to help the leader pick up women (misuse of the West Point uniform). The cadet must similarly refuse a directive to sign for a meal he has not eaten.
Scapegoating a subordinate, as the board did to Joe Paterno in 2011, also is an expellable offense under the USMA’s Honor Code. The board then issued the false statement that it fired Paterno for “failure of leadership,” another expellable Honor Code violation. Every trustee who failed to contradict this statement, and that included all of them except one honorable exception, violated the “tolerate those who do” provision that also would have gotten them washed out of the USMA for character defects that render them unfit for leadership positions in any capacity whatsoever.
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William A. Levinson, Wilkes Barre