Penn State President Rodney Erickson sent a message to students, faculty and staff this morning (July 16) as the University community continues to digest the 267-page Freeh Report. Here is the message he sent:
Moving forward from the Freeh Report
Dear University Community:
As we all can attest, it has been a heart-wrenching and difficult eight months since we first learned of the charges against Jerry Sandusky and top-level Penn State officials. With the release Thursday of the investigative report by Judge Louis Freeh, the last several days have taken an additional toll.
My heart remains heavy for the victims of this tragedy, which has been a sobering reminder of what can occur when we fail to protect society’s weakest and most vulnerable. As one learned scholar so aptly said, “All that’s necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing.”
We can never again allow this to happen.
The 267-page Freeh Report, while difficult to digest, was a necessary step in finding the truth and continuing our healing process as a community. We must not be afraid to examine ourselves, our policies and our actions — with the clear intent of taking corrective measures and righting the wrongs.
As I have said in previous messages to you, the University is committed to ensuring that our campuses are safe for children and helping build greater awareness of child sexual abuse and maltreatment. We also are committed to reaching out to any victims of Mr. Sandusky’s conduct, to discuss the University’s responsibility for any failures in leadership and to help them heal.
Although we cannot undo history, we can become agents for change and reaffirm our core values of honesty, integrity and justice. I promise you, we will learn from our past and take the steps that will allow us to emerge and grow into a stronger, better university
As we move forward, there are many decisions that must be made — decisions that are not without consequences and must not be done without careful thought. Many of these decisions involve individuals and practices deeply woven into the fabric of our community.
All of this will take time.
Time to heal. Time to comprehend. Time to trust. Time to transform. Time to regain what has been lost, and time to move forward.
The world is watching and they are anxious for expedient responses. I would ask that your response to this public scrutiny be to continue your excellent work in the classroom, the lab, the office or wherever you are making your mark in this world and on behalf of Penn State. It is through your diligence and dedication that the world will again view Penn State as a force for advancement and good.
This is not the end of the process, nor will it be the end of a number of investigations or inquiries into the University. We will continue to cooperate fully with all agencies and will communicate these interactions with you, our community. We plan to analyze the many recommendations made in the Freeh Report and begin implementing a number of them as quickly as possible. We also will keep you updated on these actions at www.progress.psu.edu.
As always, I am proud of the work of our faculty, staff, students and alumni. As we face the difficult weeks and months ahead I ask that you keep the victims in mind and continue to uphold the high standard of excellence that will take this great University into the future.
President Rodney Erickson