Perspective on the Vet Video: A Timeline!

Controversy always seems less sexy the morning after. We thought it might be worthwhile to construct a timeline of events detailing the history of that fairly ridiculous video. First, though, here’s the video.

November 21, 2008
The Penn State Board of Trustees hears a presentation by Dr. Dennis Heitzmann about the series of videos prepared by Counseling & Psychological Services about how to address worrisome student behavior. You can see video of the presentation here. Heitzmann is the Director of Counseling & Psychological Services.

“This new series focuses, more specifically, on potentially violent or disturbing students.”

Video is posted to the Counseling & Psychological Services site.

February 26, 2009
Video is removed from the Counseling & Psychological Services site.

March 1, 2009
Penn State College Republicans posts the video on YouTube.

Faculty and administrators again prove they care more about poisonous “progressivism” than intellectual pluralism.

April 8, 2009
Onward State posts about the video. In keeping with our highbrow nature, we pointed out that it looked like the teacher was checking out the soldier’s junk and then reacted to the video by looking at YouTube comments.

April 10, 2009
The Collegian reports the controversy.

“What really got to us was that the man who plays the department head in the video says, ‘Oh, it was the veteran,’ ” said Maggie Kwok, president of the Penn State Veterans Organization. “What if it was ‘Oh, the gay one,’ or ‘Oh, the Asian kid?’ “

Penn State apologizes for the video.

Penn State released a statement Thursday saying there was no intention to stereotype veterans. The university says focus groups that included veterans viewed the video and no one indicated offense.

The Wall Street Journal also picks up the story.

What if the student in the video were black and accused the instructor of racial discrimination? Would this be depicted, as it is in this video, as if the charge was absurd on its face? Would the student’s threat to have the (presumably untenured) instructor “fired” come across as an empty one, the way it does in the actual video? And if the department chairman in the opening exchange identified the student by asking, “Oh, the black guy?,” would that not be seen–with some justification–as bolstering the charge of discrimination?

In the video, The Veteran behaves inappropriately–but he also accuses the instructor of inappropriately bringing her politics into the classroom at his expense. We are meant to think the accusation is preposterous. But at a university that produces such a video, is it hard to believe that such things actually go on?

Some dude on Twitter kind of substantiates the very stereotype he’s complaining about.


Is there anything we should add? Do yall think the conroversy is over? It didn’t make the MSM yet, did it?

Your ad blocker is on.

Please choose an option below.

Sign up for our e-mail newsletter:
Support quality journalism:
Purchase a Subscription!

About the Author


Creator of @OnwardState. Big fan of sweaters.

Meet The Penn Staters Competing In The Paris Olympics

Twenty-one current and former Penn State athletes will appear in the Paris Olympic Games.

News & Notes From James Franklin’s Big Ten Media Days Availability

Franklin addressed the media on day two of Big Ten Media Days Wednesday.

UPUA Confirms Chief Justice & Funds Test Prep Week Materials

The 19th Assembly of the University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA) passed four new action items at its meeting Wednesday night.

Other posts by Davis

Penn State and the Process of Life

To paraphrase Mark Twain: The reports of higher education’s death have been an exaggeration. American universities produce more research and relevant knowledge for the world at large than any other institutions I know of. Tuition may be too damn high, but over the long-run, undergraduate degrees are definitely worth the cost. But Penn State could be so much more. It used to be, I think.

Bonded in Blue, White, and Worry

43 Simmons