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Lauren Shevchek’s sister, an alumna, encouraged her to go to Penn State, even more so after the scandal broke in November with charges against Sandusky.

“The second you walk on campus, you feel right at home,” she said.

Briana Marshall, a junior from East Stroudsburg, Pa., said: “I love this school. This is my dream school. … There’s so much Penn State has to offer. It’s a bump in the road, but student-wise, we’re still family.”

Others contend that the Happy Valley image is a construct and that the Freeh report confirmed the way Penn State has been run for years: to protect the school at all costs to avoid negative publicity.

“There’s almost a little bit of relief in it for me to see those who have been abusing this power for so long” exposed, said Jennifer Storm, 37. She calls the campus her “second home” but remembers feeling like the school didn’t do enough when black students and gay students, including herself, received death threats in 2001.

Blue ribbons and fundraising jars for child abuse awareness have sprung up around town, and school leaders say they are taking aggressive steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Ms. Shevchek, 18, said she believes no such crime will ever happen again at Penn State — or any other college, for that matter.

But Penn Staters also have tired of the scandal — and the media’s treatment of the school and Paterno.

It’s “tedious,” Ms. Marshall said.

The actions of a few should not define the rest, they repeatedly say. Then there’s the damage to the school’s reputation some worry about.

What will prospective employers think when they see Penn State on the resume? What about the scorn they’ll get from strangers for wearing a Penn State sweatshirt in another part of the country?

Then they worry about the NCAA punishing their beloved football program, or even shutting it down.

Penn Staters also want to move on.

“It’s a new coach; it’s a new team,” said Christian Beveridge, 40, a masonry restoration worker who grew up near the campus and was working on a building there Thursday. “We’re going to keep on going.”

Associated Press writer Ron Todt in Philadelphia contributed to this report.