Talk:Sheldon Hackney

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What about the Sheldon Award?[edit]

Columnist/editorialist John Leo ( started an annual award some time ago named after the illustrious Dr. Hackney. The Sheldon is given to the University President who does the most to look the other way when freedom of speech is being silenced on campus. (The inspiration was Dr. Hackney's failure to take action when the DPs were stolen after the Water Buffalo Incident.) "It looks like the Oscar, but while the Oscar shows a man standing erect, the Sheldon shows a spineless man looking the other way." This year's winners are documented here: Surely this deserves a mention in this article.

Also, Dr. Hackney was President during another infamous incident. Specifically, a party at the ATO fraternity got very wild in late 1982. A few days later, a woman came forward claiming she was gang raped. Fraternity members were immediately held "collectively responsible" -- even people who were not at the party... and even those who were at the party but not involved in any contact with the alleged victim. They put on a gag order, so details were few to come by on campus at the time... including potentially exculpatory evidence (which I won't recount as I have it only third-hand). The University gave the fraternity members a choice: accept the University's kangaroo court (where they were barred from having legal council) or face felony charges. (Sounds like those boys at Duke? You betcha.) In the end, no one got justice -- the woman did not get justice if a rape indeed occurred (and she subsequently left campus); the fraternity members did not get justice for the removal of all constitutional rights, regardless of if a rape occurred or not. And at least one ATO brother I know... one who was not at the party... had to spend so much time defending himself that he left the University only a few credits shy of a degree. Thanks Sheldon.

And the worst part? Sheldon is a HISTORY professor. When the Water Buffalo came along, he somehow failed to learn from his own history... from the poor handling of the ATO incident. How sad is that?

Oh -- and I forgot the policy of the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs that Sheldon had instituted after that incident. Specifically, fraternities had to get pre-approval for posters(including a stamp which had to appear on all copies). And it was only fraternities -- campus groups for any race, sexual orientation, etc. did not require such approval. Such censorship by prior restraint was so egregious that a professor from Penn Law School offered to represent pro bono any fraternity that would sue the University in federal court. At that point, Sheldon backed down. I am sure a search of the Philadelphia Inquirer archives will turn up this incident.

Sheldon -- the Penn alumni don't miss you.

I am an alumnus from the class of 1986. I am not an ATO brother. Unfortunately, the University's police state has stuck with me and therefore I won't offer any additional identifying information. And the University wonders why I rebuff their requests for donations. -- 02:24, 13 March 2007

Before the water buffalo[edit]

Dr. Hackney is much, and deservedly, derided for his handling of the "water buffalo" incident. This is covered well in the article. However, that incident was not the first mishandling of a University incident by Dr. Hackney, nor the first which resulted in grave injustice all around. Specifically, I refer to "the ATO incident": Especially in light of The Rolling Stone retraction of its story regarding similar circumstances at U Va, it's worth dredging this up. Dr. Hackney insisted on using internal University processes - which he controlled - rather than the Police of Philadelphia and the Courts of Pennsylvania. As a result, the woman got no justice... and several fraternity members (some of whom were not even at the party in question) faced severe discipline and a permanent taint on their reputation.

It may be unfair of Harvard to have called him "spineless" due to just the water buffalo incident, but the pattern was already there. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:15, 6 April 2015 (UTC)

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