What Happened While You Were Away…
Welcome back, folks. The longest spring break in recorded history is finally over and the 2020-21 school year is officially upon us.
While you were cooped up in quarantine for the better part of the past six months, you probably missed out on a lot of news.
Here’s a look back at everything you might’ve missed over the summer.
- Yallah Taco’s newest location received a colorful paint job and showed off some new renovations. The restaurant should open in the location of the former College Ave. Taco Bell in the coming weeks.
- A number of State College restaurants, including Sadie’s Waffles, Brothers Pizza, and the University Drive Burger King, closed their doors.
- Penn State suspended Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity for two years in response to an unregistered social held in January that “potentially endangered students” and involved drug and alcohol violations.
- THON officially announced THON 2021 will kick off on February 19 and last through February 21. The organization later revealed this year’s festivities will take place remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic.
- Community members rallied for a protest in downtown State College following the police killing of George Floyd in late May. Penn State figures including James Franklin and Eric Barron released statements condemning Floyd’s death, while Penn State baseball coach Rob Cooper retired No. 5 for the 2021 season to honor Floyd.
- A number of alleged students received criticism after social media content of them using racial slurs or wearing anti-Semitic marks surfaced. Penn State later confirmed it cannot take disciplinary action against students over speech “no matter how reprehensible it may be.”
- Following reported acts of racism and hate speech, President Eric Barron announced Penn State would implement mandatory bias training for all employees and officially reevaluate Penn State’s Student Code of Conduct.
- Penn State officially announced it would return to in-person instruction this fall. The university later announced mask-wearing would be mandatory and students, faculty, and staff would be randomly tested for the coronavirus. Penn State outlined these plans in its COVID-19 Compact, which was met with criticism from students and faculty alike.
- The Nittany Lion Shrine received a much-needed facelift. The university made repairs to its infamously broken ear and gave it a fresh coat of finish.
- The Rita’s Italian Ice on Beaver Ave. announced it’s moving up to North Atherton Street in 2021.
- Champs Downtown officially discontinued its signature styrofoam cups and introduced some sleek reusable replacements.
- A number of faculty members criticized Penn State’s fall semester plans. More than 1,200 people signed an open letter asking for greater transparency from Old Main, while one professor penned an op-ed in Esquire magazine.
- Mount Nittany Health announced it is reducing its staff by 10% amid the coronavirus pandemic to make up for expected revenue shortfalls. Later, some State College businesses posted signs in support of the network’s laid-off workers.
- A 21-year-old student enrolled in Penn State’s College of Earth and Mineral Sciences became the first known student to die from coronavirus-related complications.
- Although everyone who’s anyone knows “We Are” is Penn State’s thing, the university officially trademarked “We Are Penn State.”
- Penn State announced it plans to quarantine individuals affected by the coronavirus at select Eastview Terrace buildings. Previously, it planned to isolate them at the Nittany Lion Inn.
- Penn State’s Board of Trustees officially froze tuition for the 2020-21 academic year and lowered room and board rates for on-campus students.
- The Berkey Creamery officially reopened to the public in July with a new set of precautionary procedures amid the pandemic.
- A Centre County man was arrested in connection with the rapes of four Penn State students between 2011 and 2017.
- CATABUS announced its Blue and White Loops will be out of service this fall in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
- Crust & Crumb, a new artisan cafe, will open on Beaver Ave. this month.
- The State College Borough Council passed a new ordinance that gives it more power to enforce coronavirus mitigation guidelines. Specifically, the ordinance allows law enforcement to issue civil infractions and $300 fines to those found without masks when necessary or attending large gatherings.
- The Blue Band named fifth-year trumpet player Keith Griffith its next drum major, becoming the 60th student to do so.
- Baby’s Burgers and Shakes announced it’s up for sale and seeking a change in ownership. However, the brand itself isn’t going anywhere at this time.
- State College Borough Councilman Dan Murphy resigned from the council, citing the physical and mental toll serving had caused. His four-year term was set to expire in 2021.
- Penn State announced it will begin random surveillance coronavirus testing on Monday, August 24. Selected students, faculty, and staff can receive tests at designated locations around campus, including the Bryce Jordan Center and Eisenhower Auditorium.
- Ten former Penn State football standouts received their official NFL jersey numbers. No Nittany Lion will wear the same number they did in Happy Valley. Later, some, including KJ Hamler and Yetur Gross-Matos, signed their rookie contracts.
- Penn State football ranked No. 2 nationally in average attendance in 2019, according to a report from the National Football Foundation. Penn State trailed behind Michigan.
- Penn State released plans for a proposed $46 million renovation to the Lasch Football Building. The plans, which include a new “quarterback lab,” still need to be approved and finalized.
- Former Penn State running back Ricky Slade officially transferred to Old Dominion. There, he’ll link up with Ricky Rahne, the Nittany Lions’ former offensive coordinator.
- The State College Spikes’ 2020 season officially fell through when Minor League Baseball postponed all play due to the pandemic.
- Former Penn State men’s basketball guard Rasir Bolton alleged he transferred in 2019 after coach Pat Chambers referenced aa noose in conversations while practicing. Both current and former players came to Chambers’ defense after the accusations arose.
- Penn State softball coach Amanda Lehotak stepped down from her role with the team. The Nittany Lions later hired Miami (Ohio)’s Clarisa Crowell to replace her.
- To date, eight Penn State student-athletes have tested positive for the coronavirus. The department has conducted nearly 800 tests since testing began earlier this summer.
- Former Penn State men’s basketball star Lamar Stevens received an invite to the 2020 NBA Combine.
- Kamaria McDaniel, Penn State women’s basketball’s leading scorer during the 2019-20 season, transferred to Baylor. She’ll need to sit out for a season to play with the Bears, who are still technically defending national champions.
- Penn State football linebacker Micah Parsons opted out of the 2020 college football season to begin training for the 2021 NFL Draft.
- Penn State checked in at No. 7 in the first Coaches’ Poll of the 2020 college football season.
- The Big Ten officially postponed all fall sports, including football, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren later said the postponement is final and won’t be revisited.
- Following fall sports’ postponement, Penn State Athletics announced it is expected to furlough employees to make up an estimated $100 million revenue loss. The department implemented pay cuts earlier this summer.
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