A post-weekend message from President Rodney Erickson

November 14, 2011

Nov. 14, 2011 -- This past week has tested the character and resilience of the Penn State community in ways we never could have imagined. Many of you shared my shock and surprise as the reports unfolded. Yet, after this past weekend, I just want to take a moment to tell all of you how proud I am. Our students and athletes, in particular, demonstrated the best of what it means to be a Penn Stater.

On Friday night, our students organized a candlelight vigil for the victims of abuse, and thousands came to express their concern and resolve. It was a meaningful and deeply moving way to show support.

At the Penn State-Nebraska football game on Saturday, tens of thousands of fans supported the Blue Out, a solemn moment of silence, as well as many other efforts to raise awareness and money for this very serious issue.

On the field, the football players demonstrated a level of maturity and determination that was an inspiration. The athletes from both teams came together at midfield in unity, respect and prayer for the victims. Then they played their hearts out. It was remarkable in so many ways.

Thank you for coming together as a community.

Today, we are back to class and the business of running this University. I urge you to refocus on your educational goals and remain mindful of the five promises I have made to the Penn State community as we move forward. Collectively, we need to show the nation and world that Penn State cares, and that Penn State is a community of individuals committed to moving forward with a shared sense of purpose.

If you have not yet seen the five promises, I will share them below.

Again, thank you for your support and the kind words I have heard from so many people. It gives me the confidence to know that together we are moving in the right direction.


My Promise to the Penn State Community

1) I will reinforce to the entire Penn State community the moral imperative of doing the right thing -- the first time, every time.

-- We will revisit all standards, policies and programs to ensure they meet not only the law, but Penn State’s standard. To oversee this effort, I will appoint an ethics officer who will report directly to me.

-- I ask for the support of the entire Penn State community to work together to reorient our culture. Never again should anyone at Penn State feel scared to do the right thing. My door will always be open.

2) As I lead by example, I will expect no less of others.

-- I will ensure proper governance and oversight exists across the entire University, including Intercollegiate Athletics.

3) Penn State is committed to transparency to the fullest extent possible given the ongoing investigations.

-- I commit to providing meaningful and timely updates as frequently as needed.

-- I encourage dialogue with students, faculty, alumni and other members of the Penn State community.

4) We will be respectful and sensitive to the victims and their families. We will seek appropriate ways to foster healing and raise broader awareness of the issue of sexual abuse.

5) My administration will provide whatever resources, access and information are needed to support the special committee’s investigation. I pledge to take immediate action based on its findings.

Rodney Erickson

Last Updated May 24, 2019