Former Penn State President Jailed – OpEd

Former Penn State president Graham Spanier got off easy—two months in jail followed by several months of house arrest. It is indisputable that he did nothing to stop the predatory behavior of child molester Jerry Sandusky. But as I learned long ago, Spanier is not a man who gets upset about patently offensive behavior.

In 1997, I contacted him about a female student who created a huge bloody vagina with real human hair, constructed in the shape of a grotto, with a statue of the Mother of Jesus placed inside it. Her “artwork” was placed on the grounds of the campus. I asked for disciplinary action, and Spanier got back to me saying that steps had been taken “to educate and sensitize” the offending student. I brought this issue to national attention on CNN’s “Crossfire.”

Spanier obviously didn’t take my complaint seriously. Within a few months, the same student struck again. Her new “artwork” consisted of a five-by-five matrix of panties with a cross stitched to the crotch. It was defended by the Director of Visual Arts and left on display at the campus art gallery.

Spanier’s judgment, and his tolerance for intolerance, has finally caught up with him. Had he acted like a man, much damage on his campus could have been avoided.


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William Donohue

William Donohue

William Donohue is the current president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights in the United States, and has held that position since 1993.

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