Administration affirms University's commitment to personal safety

October 10, 2003

Editor's note: The following is a letter from Penn State President Graham B. Spanier and Vicky L. Triponey, vice president for student affairs.

Dear Penn State community members:

We are writing to address a serious matter that affects everyone in the Penn State community. In the past few weeks, several sexual assaults have been reported on and near our University Park campus. We want to affirm our commitment to the safety and well-being of all members of the Penn State family. In our opinion, an assault on one individual in this community is an affront to all students, faculty, staff and the State College community at large and cannot be tolerated.

We have asked both Penn State and State College police to give these crimes their utmost attention and to do everything possible to make the local community safe for all of its citizens. We are reviewing campus and community lighting; implementing an increased police presence in key campus areas; and soliciting ideas from student leaders about how to make our learning environment more secure. As partners in this endeavor, we all must be diligent in rejecting violence, intimidation and other behaviors that violate our trust and place members of this University community at risk.

Furthermore, as members of a caring community, we all have a responsibility, in fact an obligation, to take care of each other. You can take an active role in your community by looking out for the welfare of your friends and fellow students. Support each other; keep informed about safety tips (available at, and report threatening behavior to the police. State College is thought by many to be one of the safest communities in America, but it is not immune to the ugliness of sexual assault. We also must be aware that the majority of the sexual assaults are perpetrated by individuals who know their victims. Let us emphasize that sexual assault of any kind is illegal and unacceptable in our community. Violators will be punished to the full extent of the law and through the PSU Code of Conduct, which is administered by the Office of Judicial Affairs.

We welcome your best thoughts about how we can come together as a caring community to make this a safer place in which to live, work and learn.


Graham Spanier

Vicky Triponey
Vice President for Student Affairs

Last Updated March 19, 2009