What Penn State Should Do

This past May Dave graduated from high school. He is excited about his future especially since it has been a long hard road he has traveled to get here. Raised by his single mother, his icon, a woman now facing her own struggles as together they fight against the cancer that has invaded her body. It is literally a life and death struggle but Dave stays strong focused on his future believing day in and day out that together they will rise above this challenge. Dave for himself personally sees this, perhaps his darkest moment, to be what defines his character as he rises above the situation.  Just as important for Dave is that he has been accepted to Penn State University and will be attending in the Fall of 2012. This is a true story except his name has been changed to protect his identity.

Dave represents to me the true character of Penn State University and how they will be able to build a greater program and a New Penn State. I am originally from Pennsylvania. I did not attend Penn State but I have been there on several occasions and more importantly like most Pennsylvania’s I take great pride in Pennsylvania football. Above all many of us took great pride in Penn State. Penn State was the example, the ideal it was the best of us and what we were about, hardworking, dedicated, champions. Penn State did things the right way and represented the greater part of our character emphasizing the development of young men and warriors more than wins and losses.

Unfortunately we know today that Penn State was not fully what we thought it to be. I feel like Batman in the Dark Knight after the character Harvey Dent is revealed as Two-Face, a murderous villain. Harvey was supposed to be the town’s hero. He was supposed to represent the best of them that was noble, true and stood for what was right. Batman says about Harvey, The Joker took the best of us and turned him. That is how I personally feel about the events at Penn State. But more importantly I feel as awful as these events have been they can serve as an opportunity for Penn State to live up to itself, to be the New Penn State and this is what they should do from here.

First Penn State should come out and apologize to the nation. It would go something like this. We were Penn State and some held us as the ideal and the model for doing what was right. If this proves anything it’s that we simply cannot say we are the ideal but more importantly we must have the proper checks and balances in place so we can live up to  it. Live up to being our best, to doing our best and showing our best. We as a university in the past have failed ourselves, our community and overall our nation. We are sorry for this.

Second they can begin to look forward. That would go something like this. We can promise that going forward with the people we have in place here, the students, alumni, staff and community although we will not be perfect we will be better and do better because we simply are better than this. Today this is the New Penn State and we are looking for people who believe in an opportunity to be better today than they were yesterday, people who have failed but refused to allow themselves to be defined by those failures. We need our community and the nation to support us through this ban, to allow us to be better tomorrow than we were yesterday. It starts today.

Third Penn State can set the rally cry, the vision for the future. It would go something like this. The sour events of the past will not define us, what we do in response to those events will. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, We have a tough road ahead of us, but we are not worried about that now because united and together we just want to do what is right. And what is right is to honor the best of who we have been, strive to be the best of who we are and leave only our best for those who would come after us. It’s dark now, but Happy Valley will shine bright again rejuvenated by the spirit and faith of the students, alumni, faculty, staff, board members, community and the nation. We will rise  because of those who choose to believe that we are Penn State and that still stands for something worthwhile and decent. This is the new Penn State and whatever may come our way we will stand for what is right.

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