Lauren Perrotti (Liberal Arts Undergraduate Council President): Thank you for your compliment. After the news broke (and continued to break daily) about the Sandusky case, students have been facing a multitude of emotions. It is difficult to process all the major issues surrounding the case. First and foremost, it is the case itself, the horrific allegations, and the sadness we feel for the victims. Then there is the firing of a beloved figure, the responses of the administration, the swift acts of the Board of Trustees, the incessant media presence, and the lack of communication from the University to the students. As students, we are trying to comprehend everything, but it is difficult.
The recent email from you reached out to students, yet treated us as adults. Do you foresee more communication between administration and students as this long process continues?
LAUSDeanLong: When I wrote that email, I tried to think about what I would want to hear as a student ... then I checked with you. Thank you for looking it over.
Students have a lot of resources to bring to bear on this situation, and administrators and faculty have much to learn from how you are processing the diversity of emotions on the multiple levels you mention. Perhaps the sort of public, honest, mature and open exchange we are having here, and have had in the past, can be a model for ongoing student/administrative communication.
We have both tried to think about what a just and ethical response to all of this might look like. Certainly, it will require us not to lose sight of the crimes at the root of it, nor to forget the victims of those crimes who continue to suffer. But it will also require that we take up the question of institutional ethics in earnest, and not in name only.
What sorts of responses to this would you consider just and ethical?
LaurenPerrotti: I think that the best way to frame a just and ethical response is by promoting truth and respect. Over the course of the past week, we've felt in the dark and unclear about what is going on. I think that as you mentioned, these types of transparent dialogues are necessary. It is not us and them, but rather We Are all part of a community coming together as one.
It is important to treat this situation with the complexity it deserves. Thoughtful responses to the current situation include the Friday's vigil on Old Main lawn, the response of everyone at Beaver Stadium on Saturday, and the choice of the THON 2012 logo. Even the Liberal Arts Undergraduate Council (LAUC) called a meeting on Thursday to openly discuss the events surrounding Penn State and to reflect on how we are feeling.
The more we communicate and deliberate together, the more we can reach just and ethical conclusions. How are other students, faculty and staff within the Liberal Arts and Penn State community responding to this crisis? What just and ethical responses would promote truth and respect?