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For Penn St., a new week after the worst one ever
“I hope and I pray that it doesn’t go any further than what we’ve already seen, which is as tragic as it gets,” said George Werner, 47, a Penn State graduate who was tailgating with friends Saturday in the shadow of Beaver Stadium.
Werner, 47, who lives outside Ann Arbor, Mich., said he has struggled with the scandal every day, waking in the middle of the night and unable to go back to sleep. He fears it will be a long, long time before the university gets back to normal. “Maybe not in my lifetime,” he says.
“They need to do a deep dive and investigate everything and everybody. It’s going to be starting from scratch in a lot of ways,” Jackson said. “We know how serious this is. The focus needs to be on the children, the harm that was done.”
Still, Jackson said, “there’s way more good than bad and that’s how you move on, as much as people want to lump us in.”
“WE ARE! PENN STATE!” they roared in thundering unison. The old chant seemed to take on new significance after a singularly horrific week. It was an incantation, as if saying the words could restore things to the way they were. It was affirmation. It was a chance to show the world that Penn State is still Penn State.
The university is so big _ it’s basically a small city unto itself _ that very little can alter the daily routine. Students still took tests, wrote papers, did research. Penn Staters still showed characteristic pride in their school. Saturday night crowds still packed College Avenue’s bars, pizza parlors, galleries and clothing stores.
Yet the Sandusky case reached beyond the confines of the football program into every corner of campus and across the vast alumni network, too.
At the Paterno Library, Alexandra Santoyo bent over a table, looking at a USA Today with “VICTIM 1,” a reference to one of the children whom Sandusky is accused of abusing, splashed in big letters. Santoyo, a university administrator from Mexico City who’s at Penn State for a yearlong study program, said she felt terrible.
Earl Holt, a 2005 graduate who teaches school in Washington, D.C., said students and colleagues have asked him about Penn State. He came to State College over the weekend to see for himself, catching the game and gauging the mood on campus. He said he sensed “an atmosphere of disappointment, but also of wanting to heal the situation and move forward and progress.”
After a week in which the focus was on Paterno and the football program, students and alumni moved at week’s end to put it back where they felt it belonged _ on the victims. Thousands massed on the lawn of the Old Main administration building for a candlelight vigil Friday night. Students took part in a “blue-out” Saturday, wearing the color of child abuse prevention. Taking a page from THON, a group of Penn State alumni began raising money for sexual violence prevention _ and has already collected more than $300,000. It felt good to do something, people said.
Indeed, 38-year-old Matt Bodenschatz, a Penn State student and a survivor of childhood sexual abuse himself, urged his fellow students to move beyond symbolic expressions of outrage and past their “desperate insistence that “`We are still Penn State.’”
In a column posted Sunday on the website of the local paper, the Centre Daily Times, Bodenschatz said more is needed.
He wrote: “Until and unless you find a way to do something genuine, lasting and sincerely sympathetic for someone at the receiving end of these very real, crippling crimes in our headlines _ even if you never get to meet them or to know any of their names _ then your indignation is unearned and misplaced.”
By David Keene
Conference showed that the values Reagan cherished still endure
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