Talking to Penn State Students about the Scandal

Campus feels heavy, quiet, and ashamed.

What a strange contrast to the beauty and warmth of this fall day in Happy Valley.  It’s as if an undercurrent of sadness and confusion carries us to our classrooms beneath the shadow of that grand football stadium.

For once, nobody cares about the big game on Saturday. 

I ask the freshman how they feel, and they say that they “don’t want this terrible news to be what our school is remembered for.”  College students from other schools tease them on Facebook and on twitter and make jokes about their great university.  Their hearts are broken for the children harmed.  They feel humiliated.  They feel deceived.

How will we move forward?  

Penn State students reply: “The actions of the few don’t reflect the character of us all.” 

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My students tell me how hard it is to feel let down by adults.  How have you recovered from that kind of disillusionment?

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