The Need For Safeguard Old State

Being the inaugural From the Outside column, some background information might be helpful. After tolerating the first few paragraphs of a mini-bio and an explanation of the overall purpose of this column, readers can get Outside’s quick and dirty version on the meatier subject of Penn State’s latest debacle — the proposed Rockview Prison ground transfer.

First, who’s writing this and why is he writing it? The old school teaches to avoid the first person at all costs other than in a diary entry (Ben Stein’s Diary in The American Spectator excepted), and it is painful to use the pronouns “I” and “me.” The content of both Safeguard Old State and Outside is not about any individual. It is about how to make all facets of Penn State better. Thus, after a few words regarding Outside’s goals and some personal history, attempts at journalistic correctness will prevail.

I have lived in the Centre Region since 1971 — until recent years as a hands-on farmer and farm manager. Including youthful summers spent working on the family farm; count me in as a lifelong Centre Countian of sorts. My never having attended, or been employed by Penn State was the idea behind the title From the Outside, i.e., observations and opinions come from outside the Penn State complex and anything is fair game.

So why have an interest in All Things Penn State, let alone make a commitment to write a regular column? For one, both parents and one set of grandparents had close associations with it as employee, student and faculty member. Penn State oral history from my grandfather goes back to approximately 1920. Thus, my affinity for Penn State goes back to earliest childhood memories and, arguably, spans almost 90 years.

Another aspect is the close association our farming family had with the College of Agriculture, especially Cooperative Extension, the Turfgrass Program and the Department of Agronomy (now Department of Crop and Soil Sciences). Until recent years virtually every professor, Extension Agent and staffer had an inherent understanding of why they were there — the Morrill Act missions of service to production agricultural, with an end game of a better Pennsylvania (and USA). I call them these folks The Old Guard. Some remain. There are some newcomers that follow that philosophy. But things have changed.

As a conservative/libertarian Centre Citizen, agriculturalist, parent, former youth athletic coach and scout leader, “Friend of” Penn State Young Americans for Freedom, and other hats, I have an intense interest in the future for all soon-to-be adults and the social, political and educational system in which they must live. I am old enough (62) that little of what the politicians, bureaucrats, or Penn State administrators, professors or lobbyists do will have any serious effect on me or my contemporaries.

But our youth deserve a crucible more akin to the Penn State of old than what it has become in recent years. Given wide latitude for the subject matter of Outside by the Safeguard Old State Executive Staff, it is a privilege — and challenge — to have the opportunity to try to effect meaningful change at Penn State. So to the brave and dedicated souls who took the initiative to create Safeguard Old State: Have at it! Best wishes in your endeavor.

Oh yes — Rockview. Admittedly, its mention turned out to be a teaser, but too many electrons have been used already. So let’s leave it to the next — and future — columns to develop (or maybe, expose) the latest of the modern-day Penn State Scams a la Dickinson Law School. No one outside the inner Penn State cabal is in favor of the Bureau of Corrections transfer to Dear Old State.

Stay tuned.