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State Patty’s Dangerous to Image After Scandal

This is the first of a five-part series detailing Onward State’s stance on State Patty’s Day.

It’s February and THON is just around the corner. And we all know what that means: State Patty’s Day is lurking right behind it. There has been a lot of discussion over the last several years about the harms this “holiday” brings along with the drinking and merriment, including the potential disgrace to the reputation of our school and community. But this year, that concern takes on a whole new tone. So we at Onward State want you to take a moment and ask yourselves, “Do I care about the image of Penn State?”

We’re not going to ask you not to participate in State Patty’s festivities; calling for an outright end to the holiday would be unfeasible. But in light of last semester’s revelations, we urge everyone who celebrates SPD this year to keep Dear Old State’s image in the back of their minds throughout the weekend and be responsible.

Like it or not, the Sandusky Scandal thrust Happy Valley into the national spotlight, and while it has faded some in the months that have passed since the media frenzy, we are still under close watch. Jerry Sandusky is still in the midst of pretrial hearings. Anything out of the ordinary that happens on or around this campus is bound to draw outside attention, especially thousands of drunken college kids being destructive in the streets of downtown.

The minute things start to get out of hand, national media outlets might pick up on it. And if they do, they’ll be running stories about how destructive, irresponsible and unsafe Penn State students are. They’ll claim that we’re all just a bunch of drunken, football-crazed idiots who couldn’t care less about or don’t understand the child sex abuse scandal our university is embroiled in. Sound familiar?

None of us liked the way we were collectively perceived after the riot. We looked bad. We looked real bad. While State Patty’s won’t carry the same weight as the riot due to its temporal proximity and motivations, it still has the potential to damage our reputation in the wake of the scandal. You might not see the connection, but the media will: students being conspicuously reckless despite the fact that their school is still dealing with a scandal.

This university’s name has been dragged through the mud since the scandal broke. We really don’t need to make it look any worse. Remember: we’re all in this together. Anything one student does reflects upon the whole student body. So on State Patty’s Day, please be safe and responsible and keep your guests in check.

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Posts from the all-student staff of Onward State.

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