Thursday, November 17, 2011

An alumnae's thoughts on Horror

A lot has happened at my alma mater in the past couple weeks. In case you’ve been hiking in the distant Misty Mountains with 12 dwarves and haven’t heard, a former assistant football coach at Penn State was arrested for having sex with underage boys. In addition, the head coach, Joe Paterno, was fired after 60 years of service and the president of the university, Graham Spanier, resigned. This is because they may or may not have known what was going on and didn’t stop it.
I’m not here to debate the facts, rumors, or anything else of the case. Even though he is presumed innocent until found guilty, Sandusky has already caused so many people pain- his alleged victims, his former coworkers, and the over half million living Penn Staters. The media have already judged him, as have almost else.
No, this is my blog, so I’ll tell you how this makes me feel.

Actually do I need to tell you?

By the tone and words of people I have spoken with (and seen online) it seems that NON Penn Staters think ALL people from PSU: students, alumni, staff- knew about these deeds and were happy to let them continue. Umm that’s not how it is in reality, folks.

When I heard the news, I was at Beauty at the Beach. It was like someone kicked me hard in the stomach. I felt very sick. Lost. Helpless. I’ve spent the past two weeks defending my love for my alma mater to almost everyone. I AM a Penn Stater. I am STILL proud to be a Penn Stater. I even had one person in my face saying that unless I personally went to Happy Valley and KILLED Sandusky, Paterno and any and everyone who MAY have known, then I had no right to call myself a Nittany Lion. As I was at work, said person kept their teeth.
“An older woman who likes young boys is a cougar. An older man who likes young boys is a Nittany Lion.” Heard that one a zillion times.

I can’t speak for all Penn Staters, only for myself. I am crushed. It feels like a beloved uncle did this, and the family is disgraced. I see Penn State’s name dragged in the mud every day on the news and it hurts. (please spare me the “not as much as his victims” bit. We all get that idea, ok?)

My Penn State experience was one of the defining moments of my life. I went there because it’s spotless reputation in academics and that even our football program was clean. We could hold our heads high. At PSU, we were taught to work hard and that if we did, good things would happen. Do things the RIGHT way. (Yes, many schools have codes of conduct, I know, but I didn’t attend them.)

We all took it seriously, and held each other to that higher standard- during school and after graduation. When I was hiring people in past jobs, if a Penn Stater’s resume crossed my desk, I knew what I would get, and I hired many Nittany Lions.

Now what? The university is disgraced. All that I was taught there, was it a lie? A big fat lie wrapped in Blue and White?

And if Penn State is dirty, then can ANYONE be clean? Anywhere?

I hurt. Still. No end in sight as this will probably get so much worse before it gets better.

What will be left of my school when this is over? Some people call for it to be closed. We will definitely see enrollment drop, and with the over 50% cut in funding from the commonwealth; we may not be ABLE to stay open.

So many questions. No answers.

Sandusky does not represent me. Someday, perhaps, all will heal and there will again be laughter in Happy Valley. But I can never see it the same way ever again. The unstained pillar of my strength is gone.

Dante says that Sodomizers are doomed to the Inner part of Hell’s Seventh Circle. There they all reside in a desert of flaming sand with fiery flakes raining from the sky. Is that enough for the likes of a man who destroyed those boy’s lives and the lives of all who hold Penn State dear? Will he even see trial or will he take his own life first?

I don’t know.

The only thing I know is this:


And I always will be.


  1. What happened there is sad and horrible and if true he and any others that knew and did nothing should be held accountable. For me I don’t believe that many people knew as you can’t keep something like this a secret that long if too many people knew. You have a wonderful school and you should be proud of it and what happened in no way reflects on you or anyone else who went there.