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Penn State wins Jimmy Carter Crisis Management Award

The Jimmy Carter School of Crisis Management (JCSoCM) announced today the presentation of their Crisis Management Award to the Pennsylvania State University. The JCSoCM Crisis Management Award was first issued 10 years after the Iran Hostage Crisis to recognize notable achievement in well-meaning yet ineffectual crisis management. The award is issued annually to an individual or organization that most reflects Mr. Carter’s crisis management style; past winners include Neville Chamberlain (posthumously awarded) and more recently the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

The award committee issued a statement saying "We rarely see an organization so quickly achieve the level of ineffectual leadership demonstrated at Penn State. We are thrilled to give this award to the University’s Board of Trustees and Administration (PSU BoT&A)."

Although most recent JCSoCM winners declined to acknowledge their nomination, or in some cases actively disputed the merits of their selection, the Penn State BoT&A issued a carefully reviewed and approved statement through the Alumni Newswire saying "We are fully cooperating with all investigations and would like to thank the media, both local and national for helping Penn State achieve this great honor. We are committed to internalizing shame for Mr. Sandusky's alleged actions and extending this crisis for as long as it takes. Penn State is a great university and proud to accept the Jimmy Carter Crisis Management award."

Penn State's out-of-the-box approach of first issuing strong support for AD Tim Curley and VP Gary Schultz followed quickly by a dramatic and prolonged retreat sparked early speculation that JCSoCM would nominate Penn State for this award. Rumored flights between University Park and Albany, GA added to the anticipation.

Jordan Hamilton, speaking for the Trustees said their innovative approach to crisis management was not to simply ignore criticism against the university, however unsubstantiated, but rather embrace and repackage criticism as their solution to the crisis, turning external criticism into internal policy. "Our job is so much easier when everyone speaks with one voice. The highest goal of university is to create a truly compliant citizenry, and this crisis allowed us to lead by example."

The JCSoCM spokesman said the committee was particularly impressed that the University didn’t simply nudge state’s witness Mr. Paterno into retirement but instead fired him, stoking suspicions of Athletic Department complicity and undermining trust in the University. (Insiders say Mr. Paterno's departure cleared the way for Penn State to compete for the JCSoCM honor since his continued presence was at odds with core beliefs at JCSoCM.) Said the spokesman: "When we saw the University was willing to throw Mr. Paterno to the curb like a used cigarette butt, we knew they were our winners! Not only are we presenting this award to Penn State, we are adding the Operation Eagle Claw citation for their handling of this particular aspect of the crisis." The mostly symboloic OEC citation hasn't been issued in recent memory.

Insiders at JCSoCM say Penn State bolstered its cause by promising to rename the Pattee-Paterno Library. Penn State denied the rumor but released a statement: "Construction work on the facade of the library is regularly scheduled maintenance and unrelated to the recent scandal or the Jimmy Carter Crisis Management award."

In keeping with the BoT&A's efforts to eliminate remnants of pride in the school, Penn State promised to direct $1.5M from this year’s bowl game to a hat buy-back program. BoT&A sources reassured the public that state police officials would oversee the operation at the university's physical plant and certify all hats rendered inoperable. It is unclear if the buy-back program will extend to other items sporting the Penn State logo in keeping with BoT&A's goals.

When told about the University’s selection for the Jimmy Carter Crisis Management award, Brill Henderson, junior history student at the University Park campus asked "Does this mean we get new leaders after 444 days?"

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