Got this in the emails:

Dear Students—

We all have been changed by events in the past week and a half. In distinct ways, each of us is different than we were before. Yet no one has been more profoundly affected by these events than the victims themselves. We can only imagine their pain and promise to do all we can to support them and prevent such acts from occurring again. The collective commitment of our University community to this cause can be nothing less.

Yet for all the change and pain that have surrounded us, our University remains true to its core values in pursuit of its fundamental purposes. At the very center of those values and purposes resides you—the students of Penn State. And the extraordinary student experience that you have known, both in the classroom and beyond, continues unabated.

We all are saddened and perplexed by the incongruity between our University’s core values and purposes and the excruciating details of the alleged crimes. We are frustrated by others’ misperceptions of us, which are based on the actions of a few. The actions of students who took to the streets and did damage in State College last Wednesday, for instance, contrast starkly with the spirit and character displayed by thousands of students on the Old Main lawn for the candlelight vigil last Friday.

Among the 96,000 lives that comprise Penn State’s student body, there are great variations in age, circumstance, ambition, talent, and perspective. That diversity enriches our University. It is a source of our strength. But now it also includes diversity of opinion about who was right and who was wrong, who should go and who should stay, what should have been done and what should be done next.

Each of you will have your own opinions, and you should feel free to share them in appropriate and constructive ways. But all of us—students, faculty, staff, and alumni—must be unified in our determination to remain true to the guiding principles that bind our learning community. There can be no wavering from respect for individual dignity. There can be no shortcut around integrity. In all we do, we must demonstrate responsibility for ourselves and others. And we must honor society’s expectations for us as expressed through laws or University policy. Never have these things been more true.

Investigations into these matters, both internal and external, will go on. The news media will hover, slip away, and return occasionally through the coming weeks and months. The deeply disturbing and sad details that comprise both fact and fiction in this instance will continue to emerge. They will slowly drip into the public realm. We cannot escape that outcome.

Even so, we must return to the business at-hand. We must ensure that the University continues to teach, conduct research, and serve our communities. And you must invest yourselves in the wonderful process of learning and engaging in student life beyond the classroom.

Our University will find its new path toward even greater success than it has known one step at a time—one class, one lab, one concert, one service project, one day at a time. In the coming weeks, we promise to share useful insights with you related to these matters as they come to us. Until then, know that abundant support services exist to offer any help that you need. The links below provide access to those resources.

Together, we will pass through these difficult days and move forward as one University geographically distributed, but together in spirit and purpose. You are at the very center of that spirit and purpose, giving our University its fundamental resolve. We are very grateful that you are.

Rob Pangborn
Acting Executive Vice President & Provost

Damon Sims
Vice President for Student Affairs

Madlyn Hanes
Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses

Craig Weidemann
Vice President for Outreach