A handful of Penn State students stood on the steps of Old Main on Sunday night, holding signs with messages such as "Protecting molesters? This PSU leadership does not represent me" and "Tonight I am ashamed of PSU," as they voiced their concerns about recent charges.
Student protester Ricky Morales said he was bothered by Penn State President Graham Spanier's "unconditional" support for Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley and Penn State Interim Senior Vice President for Business and Finance Gary Schultz after they were each charged with perjury and failure to report suspected abuse.
The charges are in connection with incidents revolving around former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, who was charged Friday with 40 counts on seven different charges after he was investigated by a grand jury for sexually abusing up to eight young boys.
"I think we can speak for a lot of people in denouncing the administration with this issue," Morales (senior-journalism and comparative literature) said.
When student protester Laurel Petrulionis first heard about the incident surrounding Sandusky, her "heart broke for the children." She said the possibility that members of the administration were involved in covering up the incident just for the sake of keeping Penn State's reputation untarnished is upsetting, to say the least.
Petrulionis (freshman-division of undergraduate studies) was not alone in her anger.
Morales said he felt betrayed by the administration. He said there are many more important things than keeping the school's reputation clean, such as the well being of a child.
And Petrulionis said she is unsure whether the university will be able to bounce back from recent events.
"The university can only get passed this if they turn their priorities back to the students," she said. "If they continue to put the reputation of the university first, I'm not sure they will be able to recover."
While only six students were present at the protest, Morales said he does not think the small number of student representation indicates that students are apathetic. Rather, he blamed it on "makeshift planning" and said the protest was "thrown together at the last minute."
More protests will probably occur in the next few days, he said.
Student protester Alyssia Motah said she hopes students will join future protests to prove they are invested in seeking justice.
"The fact that we would even have to reach out to students to ask them to care is sad," Motah (junior-food science) said. "I hope it does not come down to that."
All student protesters are also members of the Occupy Penn State movement, but Occupy Penn State did not formally endorse the protest, Morales said. He said the group will address the issue at Monday's general assembly meeting, where about 40 people are expected to attend.