In November, as I was getting ready for class at Penn State, television news was stating that former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was arrested on allegations of sexually assaulting children on Penn State property.
I froze in amazement of what was being said and was thinking to myself, "No, this could not be happening; this could not be happening to us."
As most students were, I was hurt and in shock that reports of this demeanor surfaced. As the reports grew and victims were coming out one by one, I started to feel helpless, wishing that I could somehow take these unfortunate events away from the victims and their families.
I have never been so disgusted in my life, knowing that a man who used his power to lure and then abuse children was a Penn State employee, and only finding out about it 13 years later. I was furious at the authorities of the school who knew this was going on and tried to cover it up. How could they sleep at night knowing that there was a monster upon them and barely giving him a slap on the wrist?
On Thursday, I read Louis J. Freeh's report on the entire case. Now, I am obviously extremely pleased that Sandusky is behind bars where he belongs, but I am nowhere pleased with what the truth had to offer.
Freeh's report showed an attempt to cover up the allegations by only telling Sandusky to no longer shower with kids and to stop bringing them to campus facilities. Sadly, there was no real action taken to stop Sandusky from bringing kids to the campus and he continued to assault kids on campus property in the years after his warning.
This is what breaks my heart: The people who were supposed to protect, guide, be leaders and hand out discipline did not deliver any of those qualities. Instead, they were cowards and ignorant to the fact that it's not about them, it's not about the effect of reporting it, and it's not even about Sandusky. It's about the victims and how to remove them from a harmful environment.
Former Penn State President Graham Spanier, former university Vice President Gary Schultz, former athletic director Timothy Curley and former football coach Joe Paterno failed at their positions, and they are the reason why more assaults continued for years right under their noses, according to the Freeh report.
Child predators need power to fulfill their sick desires, no one did anything to strip Sandusky of his power, and look where we are today. I don't even know how they could call themselves men; if anything this shows how weak and small-minded the people we let run our school were.
As a Penn State student, I am a part of the school body, and we are the ones being ridiculed in the media. The name of our school is forever stained, trust that we had in many has vanished, the hard work we accomplished, like raising $10.6 million for pediatric cancer, goes unrecognized because the focus is on Sandusky and the people who didn't do enough to stop him.
The student support for the victims, seen in vigils held on the various Penn State campuses, only got 15 minutes of attention because the media went right back to the focus on the negative brought upon our university.
I can't speak for every Penn State student, but I can say that I will not let this horrific event bring me down. I will take this and rise above the hate and learn a valid lesson. Yes, I'm upset at the authorities who did not carry out their duties properly, and, yes, I'm sickened by Jerry Sandusky. But I will always love my school and the people who make it great.
Penn State is not only this case, nor will it ever be. And to all my Penn Staters out there, I want to say keep your heads up during this hard time and we will come out stronger. WE ARE ... PENN STATE ... for a reason.
Ashley Loiseau, a graduate of Wilson Area High School, is a junior at Penn State.
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