Questions on status of student teacher
The University’s College of Education has become the gladiators’ ring where Joseph Acanfora has had to demonstrate whether his personal morals can pass the test of a public inquiry by six other mortal men -- Deans VanderMeer, Larson, Walters, Paulson, Scannel and Wartik.
For about two and a half months these men have delayed recommending Acanfora for State teacher certification because he is a member of Homophiles of Penn State. which, to their minds, makes his entire life -- past, present and future, suspect because he might have done, may be doing or may do in the future something that is to their minds filthy and dirty: He might be conducting his personal life in ways that do not conform to their standards of morality.
The facts that Mr. Acanfora has fulfilled all the University’s requirements for graduation: that he was found to be a “good teacher” by his students at the Park Forest Junior High School and by his supervisor and cooperating teacher: that he has been named to the dean’s list twice and that currently has a 3.36 grade average seems to be insignificant compared to the thus far unmentioned crimes he may have committed by being a member of HOPS.
Does this mean that a man or woman’s performance in the academic community is valid and acceptable only if what he or she does in his or her bedroom passes the test of a public inquiry?
Does this mean that every student hoping to be graduated from Penn State could be subjected to the same indecent treatment?
Joseph Acanfora’s “crime” is not that he is a member of HOPS. His “crime” is that he has the courage to be honest, a quality of character that has always roused the fury of bigots.
Fortunately, honesty still has a slight edge in our society over intolerant self righteousness. Hopefully the University, educators and administrators who have initiated and condoned the abusive treatment of Mr. Acanfora will recognize that Mr. Acanfora has never imposed his moral standards upon others, he simply chose to explain and defend his views.
NANCY JANE THOMAS