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Instead of We Are, How About I Am

The Catholic Church-like facade of a once morally savant alma mater crumbled last week –exposing a culture of silence and uninhibited power. With each turning page of the Freeh Report, the inbred circle of the all-powerful Penn State administration proved their allegiance to one thing and one thing only — preserving the good name of Dear Old State despite dissent, distress, and disdain for human safety.

The Freeh Report didn’t only expose the failure of those in power to bring a once celebrated defensive coordinator out of the shadows of his sick pedophilic way — it proved Curley, Schultz, Spanier and even the beloved Joe Paterno chose to define what Penn State is solely from the corrupt corridors of Old Main.

“We Are” hasn’t quite rolled off of the tongue the same way ever since.

But a light has been shone onto the real Penn State. Not simply the THON photographs on the national news or the revelry of a Saturday home game, but the actual internal operations of a $4 billion institution.

The ritualism, sanctity, and dictator-like reverence of the Nittany Lions is now not only on display, but on trial. And as our eyes are opened to the conspiracy and direct abuse of power within the administration, Penn State’s flaws have become unearthed as well.

The times where tradition was enough are over. The cloak has been pulled from the sanctity of collectivism at this university, closing the era where the ends automatically justify the means.

To rebuild our alma mater, we can’t simply be one of the white shirts crowding Beaver Stadium. To piece together Penn State, we can’t rely on those in power to create greatness for us.

We have to be living proof that the grip of group think hasn’t infected every inch of our campus — straight down to the student body. It is the task of the empowered Penn State individual to prove to the world that school pride doesn’t translate into streamlined thoughts, manufactured opinions, and allegiance that supersedes rationality.

Money, power, fame, prestige, and a name this is inscribed on countless diplomas in not greater than justice. In fact, when justice is impeded to protect money, power, fame, and prestige; a name is worth less than the paper those countless diplomas are printed on.

There is a difference between school pride and being disconnected from opinions and thoughts not branded by blue and white.

Now, instead of “we are,” what Penn State needs is more people willing to shout proudly, “I am.”

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