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Some perspective from an "Outsider"

BSD readers- First let me express my sadness about all that is going on at your institution. I can't imagine what it is like. I'm a Michigan grad, but born and raised in PA and have always rooted for PSU whenever possible.

I had a really nice exchange the other day on one of the BSD comment threads, and wanted to add a couple of thoughts I had as I have not seen them mentioned on other threads/articles I've been reading on BSD off and on since November.

The biggest thing I would note is how this whole process has been a "death" in a real sense. As part of my psychiatric training, we were taught to process change much like any death, because a lot of the aspects of life changes (graduation, etc) are in a real sense a death: you can never go home again, etc. This is very hard for people to deal with even in the most benign circumstances, much less something that shakes the very core of a group of people's personal ethos and self, like in this case. While Kubler-Ross is a bit overrated imo, the general idea of progressing through denial, anger, etc. usually takes place in some overlapping fashion.

What makes it more difficult for you all are a couple of things. First, it's unclear what is "dead". Putting on my economist geek-hat for a sec, this is an equation with a huge error term. More generally, we know something got effed up, but there are unknowns out there that will never be fully resolved. In those situations we project onto the uncertainty, with the most (only?) important question being whether JoePa's failing was more of an error of omission or commission. I think the movie Insomnia does a good job of exploring this. When things aren't totally clear (and they almost never are in these things), it makes it harder to decide about whether JoePa's legacy merely took a hit or has been completely reversed in our own minds, which makes it really hard to determine what "kind of death" can be mourned as a group.

It is also really hard to mourn when you have a bunch of outsiders not letting this process occur in peace. The whole "if that we me in MM spot I'll tell you what I would have done" is total BS projection on the part of others. Also the idea that there should be group responsibility for this is pretty ridiculous as well. What is unfortunate is that no one has really acknowledged your (ie the PSU family's) loss, which is profound and should not simply be discounted because of the more serious losses suffered by the victims.

Therefore, while I do think there need to be some sanctions levied by the NCAA (for optics as much as anything, which I honestly think would be good for PSU in the long run regardless of whether its "fair") and there may be some DOE penalties as well, I also hope that yoru community will be allowed to reconcile this whole situation, and mourn your loss in peace.

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