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Penn State Pledges To Help Create ‘Safer, More Inclusive’ State College Following Osagie Investigation

Penn State issued a statement Wednesday in response to the Pennsylvania State Police’s investigation into police’s fatal shooting of Osaze Osagie.

The university said it will appoint representatives to serve on the task force being created by the Borough to examine and address racial and mental health issues that affect policing.

“University officials know that members of our community have been profoundly impacted by this heartbreaking matter, which has heightened concerns among some for safety,” the statement said. “Penn State is committed to partnering with the Borough of State College in creating a safer and more inclusive environment for all who live, work and visit here.”

The investigation found the officers involved in Osagie’s shooting death on March 20 were justified in their use of force and opted not to press charges against them. Three officers responded to a mental health check at Osagie’s apartment, and Centre County District Attorney Bernie Cantorna concluded the officers were in a “life-and-death situation” when Osagie approached them with a knife.

Once news broke of the investigation’s findings, protestors flooded the streets of downtown State College, closing parts of College Ave. and forcing a temporary suspension of campus shuttles. They marched from the Allen Street Gates to the State College Borough Building, but not before Osagie’s mother addressed the crowd.

You can read the full statement below:

First and foremost, we continue to grieve with the members of Osaze Osagie’s family, who are dealing with an extremely difficult and sudden emptiness in their lives.

University officials know that members of our community have been profoundly impacted by this heartbreaking matter, which has heightened concerns among some for safety. It is for that reason that Penn State will appoint representatives to participate in the working group being created by the Borough of State College to examine and address issues of race and mental health in policing. The University will be a key partner in helping to shape the efforts of this group. We welcome these and other actions of the borough and plan to build upon progress of earlier efforts.

Penn State is committed to partnering with the Borough of State College in creating a safer and more inclusive environment for all who live, work and visit here.

For anyone in the University community — faculty, staff or students — who may be in need of assistance or support, Penn State offers the following resources:

For students, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) are available at all Penn State campuses.

For faculty and staff, the Penn State Employee Assistance Program, through HealthAdvocate, offers short-term counseling from licensed professionals, by phone, email or in person to help employees better cope with personal, family and work issues. These sessions are completely confidential. You can call the toll-free number at 866-799-2728 anytime, seven days a week.

The Penn State Crisis Line (1-877-229-6400) is a 24/7 toll-free service staffed by licensed professionals available to all Penn Staters.
Community members can text the 24/7 Crisis Text Line by texting “LIONS” to 741741.

When an extreme “Critical Incident” occurs that you feel requires immediate on-site assistance, supervisors should call the toll-free number directly; or, contact their HR Strategic Partner for assistance.

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

In the most upsetting turn of events, Mikey graduated from Penn State with a digital & print journalism degree in the spring of 2020. He covered Penn State football and served as an editor for Onward State from 2018 until his graduation. Mikey is from Bedminster, New Jersey, so naturally, he spends lots of time yelling about all the best things his home state has to offer. Mikey also loves to play golf, but he sucks at it because golf is really hard. If you, for some reason, feel compelled to see what Mikey has to say on the internet, follow him on Twitter @Mikey_Mandarino. You can also get in touch with Mikey via his big-boy email address: [email protected]

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