A Note on the Sandusky Situation
Those of us on the magazine staff—and most likely anyone who attended, works for, or in any way cares about Penn State—were stunned and saddened to hear the news involving charges of child sexual assault against former football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky ’66, ’71g, as well as charges of perjury and failure-to-report against athletic director Tim Curley ’76, ’78g and vice president Gary Schultz ’71, ’75g.
Like so many others, I find the story to be distressing on so many levels. The allegations alone are disturbing, to say the least. It’s also upsetting to see the things that are being said in the media and on the Internet about my alma mater—an institution that I’ve been a part of for more than 30 years now. It’s a rough time to be a Penn Stater.
On the other hand, I think it’s useful to remember that this is just the beginning of a long process, one that will allow the defendants their day in court. A grand jury presents only the prosecution’s side of the story. And none of us has all the facts. So I’m thinking it’s best not to get caught up in the hysteria and judging that’s going on non-stop on Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere.
Sportswriter David Jones of the Harrisburg Patriot-News, who is never shy about criticizing Penn State when he thinks it’s warranted, had an interesting piece yesterday about the usefulness of not looking at the world in pure black and white, good-guys-and-bad-guys terms. You might want to check it out.
In addition, the Alumni Association’s official statement on the situation can be found on the Association’s Facebook page.
A challenge for those of us on The Penn Stater staff is how to cover this story in the magazine. Our next issue is the Jan.-Feb. one, to be mailed just after Christmas. Obviously we feel strongly that we need to report on the news, but how do we do that without simply rehashing what our readers already know from the media? What might we offer readers that’s different from what they’re getting elsewhere? And, given the fast-evolving events, will whatever story or stories we send to the printer in early December still hold up by the time the magazine is mailed a few weeks later—or will they look hopelessly dated?
We’ll be wrangling with these questions over the next few weeks. Like you, we’ll be following the news developments with interest, and we’ll also try to call your attention to information that you may or may not have seen elsewhere.
In the meantime, the work of the University goes on, and we don’t want to ignore that. More than 90,000 students are taking classes here. The women’s field hockey team won the Big Ten championship yesterday. A spectacular production of the Cole Porter musical Kiss Me, Kate opened last week in the Playhouse Theatre. And our senior editor Ryan Jones ’94 has been driving around for a week in an all-electric Chevy Volt, lent to him as part of a story he’s doing on Penn State’s Center for Sustainability.
The Chevy Volt thing is pretty interesting. Ryan is planning to blog about it a bit tomorrow. So check back then.
Tina Hay, editor