A message from Damon Sims, vice president for Student Affairs

July 17, 2012

Last evening (July 16), Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims sent a message to Penn State students as a follow-up to one sent to students, faculty and staff earlier in the day by President Rodney Erickson. The full text of the message follows:

Dear Students:

Recent events have left many of you confused and concerned about our University's identity and moral standing. Others among you may simply be angry. Some may wonder how good deeds and terrible judgment can be found in a single source or how both public purpose and self-interest seemingly can motivate the same person. Wherever you find yourself on this continuum of doubt, astonishment, and pain, you are hardly alone. We all share the same questions, and together our University community shall find the answers we require.

President Erickson wrote in an email you received earlier this week that "we will learn from our past and take the steps that will allow us to emerge and grow into a stronger, better university." He is right, of course. The Penn State that emerges from this experience will be an even better institution, more true to its principles and more committed than ever to its public mission.

I, in concert with my colleagues in Student Affairs, together with the rest of the University's leadership, am fully committed to this purpose. No wrongs done by others, no matter how egregious, can keep us from the noble work of rebuilding the integrity of this great public university. The transformed institution that moves forward from this scandal will maintain the extraordinary academic and extracurricular strengths that have long defined the Penn State student experience. But those proud qualities must be joined by a new humility that is characterized by a persistent belief that our University must always be better and do more.

We and the Board of Trustees are committed to honor the admonitions found in Judge Freeh's report by effecting the changes it urges. But the spirit of this University is found in its students, and I ask that each of you join us in this cause. A deepened renewal of your commitment to scholarship and service to others will demonstrate the true nature and meaning of the Penn State student experience.

Penn State's moral stature will once again be secure if we stand as one community, determined to do the right thing, the first time, every time. The brave young men who confronted Jerry Sandusky in that Centre County courtroom weeks ago, and who were abandoned by many including our own University leaders when they were only boys, deserve nothing less.


Damon Sims
Vice President for Student Affairs

Last Updated May 24, 2019