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November 2011 Grassroots Information Update

Penn State Grassroots Network

Volume 9, Issue 13 / November 2011

Alumni Association reaches out to alumni;
  University creates special panel

Students, alumni working on "Visit Your Legislator Day"

Alumni Association reaches out to alumni;
  University creates special panel

In the wake of sexual abuse allegations against a former Penn State assistant football coach, the Penn State Alumni Association has reached out to its members, showing concern for the victims, acknowledging the pain felt by alumni, and expressing confidence that Penn State will rebuild and lead again.

In a Nov. 11 letter to all members, Alumni Association Executive Director Roger Williams outlined the wide range of feelings alumni have shared.

“At root of all of these messages is the fact that our alumni care deeply about Penn State,” Williams said. “Make no mistake, Penn State will endure. But we must do much more than that. We must get better, we must improve, we must prosper, and we must lead, once again.”

The Alumni Association’s president, vice president, and immediate past president also sent a message to alumni, calling the sexual abuse allegations “shocking and horrifying.” The emotions of alumni and others range from “sorrow to anger to concern to disappointment. Many are questioning their loyalty to Penn State,” they said.

But the allegations cannot be allowed to “tear down this great institution,” they added. “Penn State’s reputation has always stood for honesty, integrity, and the highest moral standards throughout its history. Unfortunately, that reputation is now being questioned. Our beloved University needs our support now, more than ever.”

On Nov. 11, Penn State’s Board of Trustees announced that trustee Ken Frazier will chair a special committee to investigate the circumstances that gave rise to a grand jury report that included 40 counts of alleged sexual abuse against former coach Jerry Sandusky.

Frazier is president, chief executive officer, and a member of the board of directors of Merck & Co. Inc. The committee vice chair is trustee Ron Tomalis, Pennsylvania’s education secretary.

The grand jury report also charges two Penn State officials with failure to report and perjury. Both have denied wrongdoing.

"There will be full accountability for those found responsible," said Steve Garban, chair of Penn State’s Board of Trustees. "All resources will be made available for the committee to fulfill its charge, and there will be no restrictions placed on its scope or activities."  

Students, alumni working on "Visit Your Legislator Day"

Working with Penn State student government groups and alumni, the Penn State Grassroots Network is helping to organize a two-day event in late December that will connect students, parents, and alumni to Pennsylvania legislators in their home district offices.

The event, “Visit Your Local Legislator Day,” is set for Dec. 19–20.

Student members of the Council of Commonwealth Student Governments (CCSG), the student government group that represents students at the 19 undergraduate campuses, are already phoning legislators and trying to set up meetings.

Also getting involved are the University Park Undergraduate Association, the Graduate Student Association, and members of Alumni Council of the Penn State Alumni Association.

“Visits to legislators in their home district offices can really make a difference,” said Kevin Steele, chair of the Council’s Legislative Education and Advocacy Committee. “When legislators are not in session—on their home turf and away from legislative sessions, committee meetings, and other business in Harrisburg—they can really pay attention to constituents and their concerns.”

The Network also hopes for the involvement and support of Network members and other volunteers.


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