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Sophomore Alexandra Busalacchi of Bethlehem, said she thought the school's new leadership has done a good job in tackling the problem of child abuse and reaching out to abuse victims, and that Freeh's report "was a good acknowledgement of the situation."
"We're focused on efforts to get better and better," Busalacchi said while volunteering a table selling ear warmers for the THON student charity for pediatric cancer patients and research. "I'm definitely proud to be a member of our student body, and I think we've responded well."
But for some, another casualty of the scandal was faith in the university and its governing board of trustees. Penn State drew negative reviews from outside Pennsylvania, and a groundswell of distrust remains among many in an alumni base of about 560,000 and the untold thousands of others whose only ties to the school are as football fans.
It stems in large part from the trustees' firing of the late Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno on the same day that Spanier left his job. Paterno was beloved as much in the community for his philanthropic efforts and focus on education as for his two national titles and hundreds of victories.
Anger bubbled over again after the publication of the report summarizing the school's investigation into the scandal, headed by former FBI director Louis Freeh. The university-sanctioned report accused Paterno, Spanier, Curley and Schultz of covering up allegations to protect Penn State's image. Paterno's family and the school officials firmly contend the allegations are untrue.
Alumni were irritated that trustees accepted Freeh's report without doing a detailed review of it and that they also left unchallenged the NCAA's assertion that Penn State had a "football-first" culture. NCAA data released last month showed the Penn State football team had a record graduation rate of 91 percent, well above the major college average of 68 percent.
"We're not going to lose sight of the past, but this is about the future," said Larry Schultz, a 1980 Penn State graduate who has organized two "Rally for Resignations" this fall. "What we're asking for is very, very simple. ... We want answers. We want the truth."
The fallout from the scandal was not limited to campus. The criminal investigation into Sandusky has become a political issue, too. The probe began in early 2009 while Gov. Tom Corbett was Pennsylvania's attorney general. Corbett, a Republican who was elected governor in 2010, has said politics played no role in the investigation.
Kathleen Kane, the Democratic candidate for attorney general, has vowed that, if elected, she would demand an investigation into why it took years for Sandusky to be charged. Her Republican challenger, David Freed, has not ruled out a review of the case and has said that, if he were to come across any evidence that required a review, one would be done.
The fate of any investigation, yet another effect of the sex abuse scandal, will be decided in Tuesday's election. And the next day, Spanier is expected to be arraigned.
Penn State Progress site: http://progress.psu.edu/
Alumni watchdog group: http://ps4rs.org/
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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