On Wednesday evening, sociology instructors Sam Richards and Laurie Mulvey, Class of 1994, engaged in a live webcast to raise and discuss questions regarding what has happened within the Penn State community and how students, alumni and fans alike can move forward.
The event, Emerging from the Storm: Continuing the Conversation, was guided by Lori Shontz, senior editor of the Penn Stater magazine. Shontz asked questions that were proposed by the public via Twitter, Facebook and the text box provided on the website where the webcast went live.
“Sam [Richards] and Laurie [Mulvey] had brought it up to do the event,” Shontz said. “We knew there were a lot of questions and things to process.”
Shontz said she had started going to Richard’s and Mulvey’s classes on the day of the riot last November. After attending the classes, Shontz said she believed they were the perfect to address everything that was going on.
During the webcast, Richards and Mulvey raised questions and discussed many issues including the “survivors” of child sexual abuse, accepting punishment, the labels placed on Penn State, moving forward as a community and the trust that Penn Staters place in their leaders.
“In regards to what people are saying, Penn State is not burning to the ground and life is moving on,” Richards said. “Perhaps we are missing an opportunity for rebuilding this place in a new kind of way.”
Mulvey said there is a conflict in moving forward without forgetting about those who were abused.
“That conflict of moving forward and being stuck is a dynamic tension, and life just continues to unfold,” Mulvey said. “We know we are going to heal but it takes time. I wish we had the opportunity as a community to stop and pause.”
Richards said that in regard to public awareness of child sexual abuse, if the community moves too quickly, they would turn away from shedding light on it and would not be doing it justice.
Mulvey said that the anger that the community has should be used to help fuel ambition into reforming Penn State for the future.
“Change happens when people get really bothered by things,” Mulvey said. “I think the anger should be understood and should be turned into something. This is part of the opportunity we have to change the future of Penn State.”
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