i don’t have other words to describe it. heartbroken for the victims and their families for oh so many reasons above and beyond the unspeakable acts they suffered through that (publicly) came to light last November. disgusted at the actions and inactions of people who were in a position to do something. people i looked up to and respected. people who not only didn’t take action, but apparently, intentionally brushed critical information under the rug. shell shocked that a period of my life that shaped who i am as a person…a time that i have always remembered and looked back on with such fondness, now has a dark shadow cast over it.
the truth of the matter is this: there is nothing….NOTHING…that anyone can say that will make this better. there is no apology or excuse that will make right the wrongs that have taken place. it’s just horrible. wretched. so unthinkable that i, along with many of my friends and fellow alumni, have and continue to struggle to understand how this could have happened anywhere let alone at OUR school. i’m scared to read the headlines. and while i’ve started it…i’m hesitant to continue reading the report. it’s too awful to process right now. it’s appalling each time new details surface.
it pains me beyond belief that a place that means so much to me and that played such an integral role in my life will forever be scarred by this tragedy.
THIS is not the Penn State i know. the actions of Jerry Sandusky and the complete and utter failure of university leadership (our beloved JoePa included) to do anything about it or protect those innocent young men is NOT the Penn State i know.
the Penn State i know…is NOT about football. it never was.
the Penn State i know…gave me a world class education that has provided me with the life and career i have today.
the Penn State i know…is ranked among the top-fifteen public universities nationally.
the Penn State i know…includes the world’s largest, strongest, and most active alumni association. alumni who support the victims and survivors of sexual abuse.
the Penn State i know…is one of America’s Public Ivy universities, making it one of the top public research universities in the US.
the Penn State i know…hosts the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON), the world’s largest student-run philanthropy.
the Penn State i know…has raised more than $88 million for The Four Diamonds Fund which seeks to conquer childhood cancers.
the Penn State i know…introduced me to some of my very best friends.
the Penn State i know…taught me to give back…taught me to stand tall…taught me to be proud.
i know this might not ever make sense to non-Penn Staters…i don’t know that i would really expect it to…but the Penn State i know is still and will always be a part of who I am — and I will FOREVER be proud of that.
if i could say something to my Penn State family it would be this…be angry. be upset. feel betrayed. feel whatever it is that you need to feel about this situation because you have every right to those emotions. and while things may never be the same, while we can’t ever forget what has taken place, we need to begin the healing process.
WE need to:
….understand that many people, who were never exposed to our school before, now have some very valid pre-conceived notions about it…but we should choose to live our lives in a way that proves them wrong.
….continue to stand behind and support the victims and their families.
….support each other and the students, athletes, professors, coaches, faculty, and staff of Penn State who had no knowledge of and NOTHING to do with these acts.
….rise above and show the world that even though our leadership failed us, that WE ARE taking steps to make sure this NEVER happens again.
….hold our school accountable and make sure that OUR Penn State is the one the world comes to know….NOT the one that has been in the headlines for the past 8 months.
….somehow find a way to come out on the tail end of this as an even stronger, more united force.
WE cannot let OUR Penn State be defined by the horrid actions of 1 man and the IN-actions of 4 men. OUR Penn State wants to make the world a better place. OUR Penn State wants to make a difference.