When the Penn State scandal broke and the University president was replaced, the new interim president stated that, in the future, Penn State would “not only do what is required under the law, we will do what is right.”
This statement implies that the law is minimal and that a higher order will be placed on all employees for Penn State. But what or who is this higher order? Who judges what is right? The public? The interim president? God? If we need something else to govern our behavior besides the law, what is the point of creating and following the law?
We will never understand fully what happened in the Penn State situation. We will never know what the protocols involved were and if everyone followed them. Even if there was proof that the protocols were followed, we cannot assume that all of the protocols were lawful. Protocols and laws are not synonymous. And what is “right” is up to the judgment of whoever is deemed the judge of all things “right.”
I believe Rodney Erickson meant well when he made his statement, but he didn’t take into account whose “right” Penn State will have to take into consideration from this point on. The point of laws being created was to create a universal definition of “right” that people can point in the law book and say, “See, I told you I was right!” If we take that away, how are we going to prove the “right?”