Monday, July 23, 2012

Libertarians Say The Innocent At Penn State Should Not Be Punished

Dr. Tom Stevens, Chair of the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania, issued the following statement today on behalf of the party after its Board of Directors voted to take this stand at a meeting held on Saturday, July 21, 2012, in Millheim, Pennsylvania:

"Former Penn State Assistant Football Coach Jerry Sandusky has been convicted and awaits sentencing.  Others who engaged in criminal activity or legal negligence are being investigated and in time will be dealt with in accordance with the law once all the facts become known. However, it is grossly unjust to allow emotional outrage at the presumed actions or inactions of an isolated handful of individuals to result in the punishment of innocent Penn State students and the many businesses that thrive in and around State College due to the success and prestige of Penn State and its academic and athletic programs.

Today’s NCAA penalties against Penn State’s college football program end up creating more victims and punishing the wrong people. Not allowing Penn State to participate in Bowl Games for 4 years harms the careers of current and future players. Cutting back on scholarships Penn State can offer prevents the school from recruiting the best players in the years to come, which hurts the entire football program as well as the reputation of the school. Striking victories from the record books as if they never took place is downright Orwellian and again harms the wrong people.

Some argue that Penn State the institution should be punished for the actions of a few. But an institution cannot be punished; only individuals can be punished.  Any attempt to sanction an institution just punishes the individuals currently affiliated with it and that is unjust. Clearly, present and future Penn State students and, indeed, the Penn State community at large have zero complicity in the Sandusky Scandal. A ham-handed response is not called for. The NCAA actions against Penn State will have a huge negative impact on current and future students and will harm many businesses that support the local economy.

If additional individuals are found to have been guilty of criminal activity, they should be punished accordingly, but no penalty should be enforced that harms even one innocent person."

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