Posts tagged ‘Penn State’

April 26, 2013

And Now for Something Completely Different

This blog post is a departure from my normal articles. It’s not about nonprofit management. It’s not about fundraising.

Despite the departure from my normally chosen subjects and my homage to Monty Python in the headline, this post is still about something quite serious that should concern you.

Weeping Angel by Photochiel via FlickrWith this piece, I’m continuing a tradition here at Michael Rosen Says… April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month in the US.

Every April, I devote one posting to how we all can and must act to prevent child sex abuse. Whether or not you have children, there are things you can and should do.

Did you know that one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused by the time they are 18 years old, according to the Centers for Disease Control?

Did you know that the vast majority of these child victims will be sexually abused by someone they know?

If you have children, here are three things you can do to help keep them safe:

1. Don’t rely on “stranger-danger.” Teaching children to avoid strangers or never to talk to a stranger will do little to keep them safe from sexual predators. Child sex abuse is a crime of opportunity. That’s why the vast majority of child sex abuse cases involve someone the child knows (i.e.: a priest, coach, teacher, babysitter, mom’s boyfriend, etc.).

While it is important to teach your children to be cautious with strangers, you should also closely monitor with whom your child has alone-time. You should minimize the number of times your child is alone with only one adult present. I recognize this will be difficult. For example, if you hire a babysitter, that person will have hours alone with your child. But, you can still protect your child by doing a thorough background check and by installing nanny cams in your home.

2. Respect your child’s personal space. Very often, a mom or dad will say something like this to their child: “Go give grandma a hug and kiss.” If the child refuses, the parent or the intended kiss recipient will become increasingly pleading and/or demanding. While perfectly innocent and seemingly harmless, this teaches children a dangerous lesson: Their body is not theirs to control.

Instead, respect your child’s personal boundaries. Let them know it’s okay for them to pick and choose with whom they will have physical contact. Don’t inadvertently send them the message that adults have power over them when it comes to contact. Make sure they understand they can say no to adults.

3. Read these prior posts. I’ve written two other posts about the prevention of child sex abuse: “10 Essential Tips to Protect Children from Real Monsters” and “National Child Abuse Prevention Month: What are You Doing to Help?

When you read my prior posts, you’ll find more powerful tips as well as the names of organizations you can contact for more information or assistance.

If you do not have children, or even if you do, here are some additional things you can do:

November 5, 2012

Special Report: Former Penn State President Charged in Child Sex Abuse Scandal

The former President of Pennsylvania State University has now been charged in relation to the child sex abuse scandal that has rocked the university.

Graham Spanier faces “eight charges: perjury, two of endangering the welfare of children, obstruction of justice, failure to report suspected child abuse to authorities and conspiracy charges of perjury, obstruction of justice and endangering the welfare of children. Three of the charges Spanier faces are felonies,” according to a Washington Post report.

June 25, 2012

Special Report Update: Former Penn State University Coach Convicted of Sex Abuse

[Publisher's Note: “Special Reports” are posted from time-to-time as a benefit for subscribers and frequent visitors to this blog. “Special Reports” are not widely promoted. To be notified of all new posts, including "Special Reports," please take a moment to subscribe in the right-hand column.]

 

Jerry Sandusky, former Penn State University football defensive coordinator, has been convicted of sexually abusing 10 boys over a 15 year period.  A jury found Sandusky guilty on 45 of 48 accounts. Following the verdict, Sandusky was ordered to jail where he will await sentencing, likely within 90 days. He faces the possibility of life in prison.

Even with the jury’s verdict, the story is not over. Former Penn State officials Tim Curley and Gary Schultz still face perjury charges related to an alleged cover-up of one of Sandusky’s abuse victims. At least one news report asserts that Penn State is encouraging Sandusky’s victims to come forward and settle any potential lawsuits privately. And, an artist has replaced an image of Sandusky on a State College, PA mural with the image of poet who speaks out against sexual abuse.

January 27, 2012

Can a Nonprofit Return a Donor’s Gift?

Two relatively recent news events have raised the issue of nonprofit organizations returning gifts to donors:

 

  • The mainstream media wanted to know if Penn State University should return donations to donors who ask for a refund or should Penn State stick to its longstanding policy of not returning gifts. Following the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal, the University affirmed its no-refund policy in its official talking points.

 

  • The mainstream media also took notice of a lawsuit filed by country music star Garth Brooks against INTEGRIS Canadian Valley Regional Hospital. Brooks sought the return of a $500,000 contribution. The media wondered if the Hospital should have returned the donation before things ended up in court.

 

Since much has already been said about whether gifts should be returned upon a request by a donor, I want to focus on whether a nonprofit organization can legally return a donation.

I’m not a lawyer. So, I decided to contact one. I spoke with a high-ranking state official who specializes in the regulation of nonprofit organizations. The official requested anonymity since we were discussing hypothetical situations.

Under certain circumstances, nonprofit organizations can refund a donor’s contribution. However, under other circumstances, returning a donor’s gift could result in a review by state authorities. Whether or not a situation results in state review will depend on a given state’s regulations, the impact returning the gift would have on the nonprofit, and the size of the gift in question,.

Different states have different laws and regulations governing nonprofit organizations. However, most, if not all, state rules are vague on the point of charities returning gifts. What states do recognize is that when a donor gives money to a nonprofit organization, that money is no longer the donor’s once accepted by the charity. Instead, the money is, in effect, owned by the public interest. Because nonprofit organizations exist to benefit the public interest, regulators will be concerned that gifts are used to further the public interest. Returning a donor’s gift could be contrary to the public interest. That’s the issue for regulators.

For example, a donor may want his $1 million gift returned. However, at the time of the request, the nonprofit may have already spent the money on construction of a new building. It may no longer be holding the donor’s money. And, it may not have sufficient cash on-hand to provide a refund. Or, providing a refund may substantially hurt the organization’s financial health. In such a situation, state regulators might find that returning the gift could be counter to the public interest and might move to block a refund.

January 22, 2012

Special Report: Former Penn State Coach Joe Paterno Dies

[Publisher's Note: “Special Reports” are posted from time-to-time as a benefit for subscribers and frequent visitors to this blog. “Special Reports” are not widely promoted. To be notified of all new posts, including "Special Reports," please take a moment to subscribe in the right-hand column.]

Happy Valley Pennsylvania, home of Penn State University, is not happy at all today. Former Football Coach and NCAA legend Joe Paterno, 85, died on Sunday, January 22, after a fight with lung cancer. 

JoePa will be remembered as the winningest college football coach ever with 409 wins, 136 losses, and 3 ties. Under his leadership the Nittany Lions won two national championships. He achieved this remarkable record while insisting upon good sportsmanship and a commitment to academics. It’s interesting to note that it is not the football stadium at Penn State that carries Paterno’s name, it is the library.

Paterno will also be remembered for his role in the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal. The Penn State Board of Trustees, and even Paterno himself, thought he could have done more. His actions or inaction in the case and his subsequent firing will always be part of his legacy.

The Paterno story is a complicated one. He was certainly not the perfect man of myth. But, there is no denying the enormous good he accomplished on and off the gridiron. 

For more about the passing of Paterno:

“Paterno Legacy Damaged by Scandal, but Not Erased”

“Amid Scandal, Revered PSU Coach Joe Paterno Dies”

“Fired Penn State Coach Joe Paterno Dead at 85″

For more about the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse case:

“Actions of One Alleged & One Admitted Child-Rapist Impact You”

“Tragic Lessons of the Penn State Fiasco”

That’s what Michael Rosen says… What do you say?

January 6, 2012

Actions of One Alleged & One Admitted Child-Rapist Impact You

An alleged child-rapist and an admitted child-rapist are in the news again. Both news stories involve large sums of money.

The first news item concerns former Penn State Football Defensive Coordinator Jerry Sandusky and the University’s year-end fundraising efforts. (You can read my first blog post about Sandusky and Penn State: “Tragic Lessons of the Penn State Fiasco.”) While I hope you never have to cope with such a heinous crisis in your professional life, you will, unfortunately, be likely to find yourself dealing with at least one major challenge during your career. The Penn State situation is instructive.

The second news item concerns famed movie director Roman Polanski and his recently released film Carnage. At the end of this post, I’ll very briefly discuss the idea of not enriching this admitted child rapist through the purchase of a movie ticket.

Jerry Sandusky (middle)

On November 5, 2011, in the midst of the prime year-end fundraising season, Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly and State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan announced the results of a grand jury investigation that led to Sandusky being charged with sexually abusing eight boys. Two Penn State officials were also charged with related crimes though neither was directly involved in the abuse. A total of four Penn State officials either resigned or were fired within days of the release of the grand jury report including living legend, Coach Joe Paterno.

Penn State has been working to deal with the various challenges resulting from the Sandusky mess. The development staff has had the monumental task of having to continue to raise money for Pennsylvania’s flagship public university.

An Associated Press report has revealed, “‘The overwhelming majority of [Penn State’s] leading donors have made public statements affirming their faith in the University and its future,’ according to the University’s talking points. The document named a couple who gave $88 million to launch an NCAA ice hockey program, and another who endowed the position of head football coach. Both the number of donors and number of gifts to Penn State increased in November, compared with the same month a year earlier. Total donations to Penn State were $3.1 million in November, compared to $1.1 million in November 2010, according to the University. Another positive sign for Penn State was [December’s] announcement of a $10 million gift from an anonymous donor to bridge engineering research projects with other fields of study.”

A year-end annual fund appeal provides some insight into how the development staff is handling the fundraising challenge. Garvin Maffett, EdD, Executive Consultant at INJOY and a Penn State alumnus, received an annual fund email appeal in December from the University. He posted the appeal on LinkedIn at the CFRE International Network Group. If you’re a CFRE and would like to see the reaction the posting received, go to LinkedIn and subscribe to the Group. The responses have been generally constructive and supportive.

Here is the Penn State appeal from Dec. 19 as posted by Maffett:

The recent allegations against former and current Penn State employees have shaken our community to its core. But the University’s central mission to educate the leaders of tomorrow is as important now as ever before. We are 96,000 students, 46,000 employees, and more than half a million alumni. We are a university committed to providing educational opportunities and improving the lives of our students and communities. We are Penn State.

The University, led by our newly appointed president, Rodney A. Erickson, is working to repair the trust of the Penn State community and the nation. We are pursuing an aggressive, independent investigation of the allegations and a reevaluation of the University’s protocols and procedures, and have promised to share the results with the public. In addition, the President will be appointing a University-wide ethics officer to ensure we continue to meet the moral standards our institution has long represented.

We recognize that this is also an opportunity to increase awareness at the societal level about the devastating impact of sexual abuse. At the heart of these accusations is the issue of child abuse, and, as members of a leading research institution, we believe we can do much to bring awareness and change. To begin these efforts, Penn State is establishing the Penn State Hershey Center for the Protection of Children. The center, which will be located at the Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital, will bring together clinicians, scientists, legal scholars, and educators to improve the detection, treatment, and prevention of child maltreatment. In addition, the University has partnered with the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR) and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, and has committed $1.5 million of our share of this year’s Big Ten bowl proceeds to help fund initiatives with these organizations.

We thank you for your loyalty and dedication to the University, and we ask you to continue to show your support for Penn State. As the University moves forward, we will also be relying upon the leadership of alumni like you, who represent all that’s best about Penn State in your own communities every day. There’s never been a more important time for Penn Staters to stand up for the values and the institution that we believe in. By remaining focused on the work of our students and faculty and the goals of For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students, we will make Penn State a better, prouder, and stronger university.

Choose to support Penn State; make your gift today.

Thank you!

Ann E. Lehman

Director, Penn State Annual Giving 

P.S. Follow this link to make a special gift of support to the Penn State Hershey Center for the Protection of Children.”

November 11, 2011

Tragic Lessons of the Penn State Fiasco

This is the most difficult blog post I’ve ever written.

The subject matter is truly horrific.

The story on which this post is based continues to change daily, literally. The story offers so much to comment on, that it’s difficult to know even what to focus on. Children have allegedly been sexually abused. Two nonprofit organizations will likely suffer. It’s a moral and public relations debacle that has led to rioting. It reveals grotesque failures of character. It is about a powerful institution that seems to have cared more about protecting itself than protecting children and, as a result, has eventually done itself great harm.

I’m writing about the child sex abuse scandal that has been exposed at Pennsylvania State University.

I’ve been following the story closely. I’m a Pennsylvanian and, therefore, I care about what happens at Penn State, our flagship public university. I’m also a member of the board of directors of the Philadelphia Children’s Alliance, an organization that brings justice and healing to the victims of child sexual abuse. Protecting the innocent and defenseless are core values of mine.

Former Penn State Coach Joe Paterno

I learned of the story the way most people did. On November 5, 2011, Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly and State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan announced the results of a grand jury investigation. Jerry Sandusky, former Penn State Football Defensive Coordinator, was charged with sexually abusing eight boys. Tim Curley, Penn State Director of Athletics, and Gary Schultz, Penn State Senior Vice President for Finance and Business, were charged with perjury and failing to report suspected child abuse. Four days later, the Penn State Board of Trustees fired Graham Spanier, President, and Joe Paterno, the legendary football head coach.

Mike McQueary was a graduate assistant in 2002 when he allegedly witnessed Sandusky sodomizing a 10 year old boy in the showers of a locker room on campus. While McQueary did not stop the alleged rape, while he did not call police, he did notify Paterno … the next day. McQueary is now the wide receivers coach at Penn State though his position may be under review.

Why didn’t McQueary rescue the child? Why didn’t McQueary call 9-1-1? Why did he wait until the following day to tell Paterno, his superior? Where was McQueary’s moral compass?

After receiving the news, why didn’t Paterno call 9-1-1? Instead, he reported the information to Curley, his supervisor. While Paterno may have fulfilled Pennsylvania’s legal requirements, what about his moral obligations? Even the coach himself admitted, “With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more.” Rich Hofman, of The Philadelphia Daily News, has asked what Paterno’s legacy will now be: “Is it: ‘He did the legal minimum.’ Or is it: ‘He told his supervisor.’”

Bill Phillips and the editors of Men’s Health wrote an interesting article that explores the psychological issues involved and what may have affected the behavior of McQueary and Paterno. However, I still have to say that I would have expected better, especially of Paterno.

In our country, one-in-four girls and one-in-six boys will be sexually abused before adulthood. We must act when we have suspicions. In Pennsylvania, it’s the law. It’s not up to us to investigate. But, it is up to us to give the professionals the chance to investigate. If you suspect child sex abuse and do little or nothing about it, you are part of the evil. We have a profound moral obligation to protect the innocent and defenseless in our society. Please do your part. You can learn more about what you can do at the National Children’s Advocacy Center website, at the National Children’s Alliance website, or by contacting your local child advocacy center.

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