Penn State Homecoming Executive Director Bobby Walter spoke at tonight’s UPUA meeting to address an ongoing nuisance Homecoming is facing due to a vocal minority of the alumni base. According to Walter, a small group of alumni is upset about the decision to have former Penn State basketball star and human rights activist John Amaechi serve as Grand Marshal for the parade.
These criticisms stem from a comment Amaechi made days after the Sandusky scandal hit on the Dan Le Betard show where he said he was “ashamed” about the situation. Amaechi was active in the Second Mile charity during his years here and said he felt guilty for unknowingly contributing to the charity that was being used by Sandusky to groom his victims.
The complaints have recently escalated into full scale hate messages directed towards Amaechi according to Walter, including racist and homophobic slurs. These messages have been received by both Homecoming and Amaechi on Twitter and via Email over the last several weeks. As a result, Amaechi has reconsidered his participation in the event, although as of now he is still planning on coming according to Walter.
President Rodney Erickson has received similar hate messages and has decided not to attend the 2013 Homecoming parade, according to Walter.
“These alumni say it comes from a love of Penn State when I just don’t see that,” Walter said. “They know nothing about the organization and take very little time to get to know the organization. They ask ‘Who from the Board of Trustees made this decision?’ when in fact Homecoming is entirely student run.”
Representative Kevin Horne (also an Onward State staff member) suggested drafting a letter of support on behalf of UPUA to convince Amaechi that he has the support of the student body.
“We need to show Amaechi that we are not, in fact, all crazy,” Horne said.
In Vice President, Brenden Dooley’s report, he agreed that the actions of the few alumni claiming to “seek the truth” have been shameful.
“These alumni have not been beneficial to the student body in the slightest,” Dooley said.
We’ve now reached the point where Penn Staters harass fellow Penn Staters. Nobody — especially a distinguished alum like John Amaechi — should ever fear stepping foot in Happy Valley. I encourage everyone who are disgusted with these fringe alumni to reach out and support Amaechi — be true Penn Staters for responsible stewardship.
The Penn State I know is not homophobic, it is not racist, and it is not hateful. When John Amaechi flies in all the way from England for Homecoming, let’s show him what the real Penn State is all about.