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Dispatches from Dr. Joel Dvoskin: November 2011

Open letter to Professor Michael Berube

by Joel A. Dvoskin, Ph.D., ABPP (Forensic)
University of Arizona College of Medicine
Past President, American Psychology-Law Society (APA Division 41)
Past President, Psychologists in Public Service (APA Division 18)

Dear Professor Berube:

Words cannot express the profound disappointment I felt when reading your OP-ED piece in the 11/17/2011 Times. Because of a series of tragic criminal and immoral behaviors by an unknown number of your colleagues, you were afforded the opportunity to speak to more people on a Sunday morning than have read everything you have ever written, combined. And how did you decide to use this (literally) once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? You decided that it was a great time to to make a power grab on behalf of the faculty at Penn State.

Allowed to say great things to literally millions of people, you decided to waste it on a petty, self-referential, and opportunistic effort to win a little more political power for yourself and your faculty colleagues. You ceded the moral high ground for the insincere applause of your faculty colleagues. You conveniently forgot the complicity of the faculty that allowed football to be more important than ethics or morality at Penn State. You could have cried real tears for a university that traded its soul for a bigger library. You could have used the opportunity to announce that you were never going to attend another Penn State football game. So many things you could have done, and instead you decided to make a petty grab for power.

You could have expressed moral outrage. You could have convincingly demonstrated that Penn State is not defined by a handful of drunken students. You could have called for the abolition of football at Penn State, and argued that power and money are a poor substitute for the moral soul of a university. You could have looked at your own role, and perhaps wondered if the extra pay that you receive as a named professor is really worth it. But you did none of those things. Instead, you did what everyone else at Penn State has done; you blamed someone else.

You could have done what no one has done so far; that is, you could have looked in the mirror and wondered aloud if some of this is your fault, because you chose to take the money and look the other way while football stole the soul of a campus.

Instead of opportunistically grabbing for power, you could have been the first person at Penn State to do the right thing, and be ashamed of yourself.

© Copyright 2011 Joel A. Dvoskin

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