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Mayor Elizabeth Goreham: “The Actions of a Few, Past Events, Do Not Define Us”

State College Mayor Elizabeth Goreham released a statement on the borough’s website regarding the recent sanctions and scandal, with a special emphasis on what the community can do to adress the issue of sexual abuse. It can be found below in full.

The State College community is not defined by the actions of a few or the failures of the past. Rather, we are defined by how we have come together, across all interests, in a shared commitment to educate and address the issue of child sexual abuse, to make State College a stronger, safer community.

Late last fall I was contacted by friends and colleagues all asking the same question, ‘What can we do to help our community?’ A group began meeting which included representatives of social service agencies, Penn State students and staff, local elected officials, and other community volunteers and professionals. The idea, to simply and clearly state our mutual values, culminated in the creation of a document, Our Community Covenant, which reaffirms who we are as a community.

Through the covenant, State College Borough and other signatories articulate their commitment to respecting, caring for, and protecting the most vulnerable in our community; adhering to a code of conduct that values honesty, accountability, high ethical standards and transparency, safety and civility. You are encouraged to join us and endorse the Our Community Covenant which can be signed online at www.ourcommunityday.org.

The covenant is just one step of many in the healing process.

We must remember the tragic events that have occurred, bring attention to the prevention of and healing from physical and sexual abuse and do everything in our power to ensure that this does not happen again.

Although we pride ourselves in being regularly ranked in the National Citizen’s Survey as one of the safest communities in the United States, this tragedy only highlights the need to be continually vigilant in our efforts. Child sexual abuse is pervasive and the statistics are alarming. Experts estimate that 1 in 4 girls and 1 and 6 boys are sexually abused before their 18th birthday.

As part of our commitment, every State College Borough employee is receiving training through the Stewards of Children – Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Training program, a nationally available program proven to increase knowledge, improve attitudes and change child-protective behavior. This training is also being offered free of charge to all residents through online and in-class trainings. To find out more about Stewards of Children, contact Cameron Frantz at (814) 237-7717 or email [email protected].

Sadness has been the overwhelming reaction to the NCAA sanctions, on top of the dreadful revelations of the past ten months.

We do not know what the full impact will be. However, the business community and local officials are committed to working together, finding ways to lessen the economic impact on our community.

Penn State remains an integral part of the State College community and will continue to be so into the future. While intercollegiate athletics plays an important economic role in the community, we are confident the overall strength and values that the University brings to the community will continue to serve as an important economic stimulant. Beyond football, Penn State hosts a number of nationally acclaimed women and men’s sports teams.

Penn State University is a world-class research institution. Faculty and students at Penn State will continue to produce great work with significant, lasting, positive impacts on State College, Pennsylvania and the world.

We are confident the leadership at all levels within our community will provide us a more transparent, open environment resulting in a stronger, more engaged community.

About the Author

Kevin Horne

Kevin Horne was the editor of Onward State from 2012-2014 and currently holds the position of Managing Editor Emeritus, which is a fake title he made up. He graduated from Penn State with degrees journalism and political science in 2014 and is currently seeking his J.D. at the Penn State Dickinson School of Law. A third generation Penn Stater from Williamsport, Pa., Kevin is also the president of the graduate student government. Email: [email protected]

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