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By Ann O’Neill, CNN
updated 2:44 PM EDT, Sun July 15, 2012

(CNN) — Vicky Triponey knows all too well the power Penn State’s late football coach, Joe Paterno, held for more than half a century over the insular slice of central Pennsylvania that calls itself Happy Valley. She experienced firsthand the clubby, jock-snapping culture, the sense of entitlement, the cloistered existence. It’s what drove her five years ago from her job as the vice president who oversaw student discipline.

She was told she was too aggressive, too confrontational, that she wasn’t fitting in with “the Penn State way.” She clashed often with Paterno over who should discipline football players when they got into trouble. The conflict with such an iconic figure made her very unpopular around campus. For a while, it cost Triponey her peace of mind and her good name. It almost ended her 30-year academic career.

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