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For Penn St., a new week after the worst one ever

November 14, 2011 • National News


FILE – In this Nov. 11, 2011 file photo, people gather in front of the Old Main building for a candlelight vigil on the Penn State campus in State College, Pa., in support of the alleged victims of a child sex abuse scandal involving a former assistant coach. As Penn State leaves a harrowing week behind and takes tentative steps toward a new normal, students and alumni alike wonder what exactly that means. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — For Penn State University, there was the past week — a week of unimaginable turmoil and sorrow, anger and disbelief and shame. And then there is tomorrow.

As Penn State leaves a harrowing week behind and takes tentative steps toward a new normal, students and alumni alike wonder what exactly that means. What comes next for a proud institution brought low by allegations that powerful men knew they had a predator in their midst and failed to take action? What should members of its community do now?

“Our best,” said Julie Weiss, 19, a sophomore from Wayne, N.J., pausing outside her dorm to consider the question.

Last week, the worst in its 156-year history, the place called Happy Valley became noticeably less so. Students and alumni felt betrayed as child sex abuse allegations exploded onto the nation’s front pages, bringing notoriety to a place largely untouched by, and unaccustomed to, scandal.

As the school’s trustees pledge to get to the bottom of the saga, many Penn Staters are feeling sadness, anger, a sense of loss. Some can’t sleep. Others walk around with knots in their stomachs or can’t stop thinking about the victims. Wherever two or more people congregate, the subject inevitably comes up. Even Saturday’s pregame tailgate parties were muted with the subject that hung low over everything.

“Everyone’s been struggling to reconcile how something so bad could happen in a place that we all think is so good,” said senior Gina Mattei, 21, of Glen Mills, Pa., hours after Penn State played its first game since 1965 without Joe Paterno on the sidelines as head coach. “It’s sad to think that something like that could happen HERE, in a place where everyone is really comfortable and has a lot of community spirit.”

Penn State’s former assistant football coach, Jerry Login to read more

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