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President Barron Places Mask On Lion Shrine, Encourages Mask-Wearing

Penn State President Eric Barron placed a face mask on the Nittany Lion Shrine Thursday afternoon to remind students, faculty, and staff to mask up on campus this fall.

“Do you want to be the person that sends everybody home?” Barron asked Thursday afternoon. “It really is on the individual student, and staff, and faculty to pay attention to the rules. Otherwise, you will be that person that sends everybody home after that tremendous amount of work, and effort, and expenditure that we’ve gone.”

Mira DiBattiste | Onward State

Barron was joined by a number of student leaders at the event, including UPUA President Zach McKay, Executive Director of the Council of Sustainable Leaders Nora Van Horn, and THON 2021 Executive Director Katie Solomon.

Mira DiBattiste | Onward State

The small ceremony came just about a day after viral videos appearing to show large, maskless crowds of students surfaced on social media. The clips were met with stark criticism from both Barron and the university. The president later issued a statement calling students’ actions “unacceptable” and reiterating Penn State could revert to remote learning if the situation worsens.

Change.org petition bluntly asking Penn State to send those students, many of whom were likely freshmen, home for the semester has already gained more than 4,000 signatures.

Barron also reiterated Penn State may take disciplinary action, potentially including suspension or expulsion, toward those who fail to comply with mask-wearing and social distancing on campus. Students agreed to follow the guidelines through the university’s COVID-19 Compact, a pledge they needed to agree to before returning to campus or accessing LionPATH.

Earlier Thursday, Penn State placed Phi Kappa Psi fraternity on interim suspension after receiving reports the organization had held a maskless social on Tuesday, August 18.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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