Time to begin healing and recovery

Open Letter from Franco Harris

As this crisis continues to unfold at Penn State University and as each day that passes seems to add yet another troubling dimension, we need to begin now the long road towards healing and recovery.  First, we need to focus on the suffering of the victims of this alleged abuse that has traumatized them, shocked our students and outraged our nation.

This crisis has been defined by blame, divisiveness and accusation.  It is time for us all to stand up together and do whatever we can to help. We cannot simply just stand by.  It is time for the Penn State leadership, the Penn State alumni, the Penn State students and the community at large to try to bring a sense of stability and normality amid the pain and upheaval.

All of us are proud as Penn Staters and I commend those among us who have not just stood by, but have started to take action.  For example the fund-raising campaign launched by my Penn State alumni colleagues to raise money that will pay for counseling, therapy, advice and guidance that is so urgently needed by abuse victims and their families, like those who have suffered in the events at Penn State.  The campaign is working with the renowned Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), one of the largest anti-sexual violence organizations in the United States, and I urge my fellow local community and civic leaders to support this critical initiative. I have made a contribution and I am encouraging others to do the same.

Much has been made of my personal support for former Coach Joe Paterno, my close friend and mentor and the concern I expressed about a rush to judgment before a full and fair investigation has been completed.  I am asking for help from the Penn State Board and the university administration to help the children who have suffered in this tragedy, who have and always will be at the forefront of my concerns, and to begin to restore the legacy of Penn State football and Coach Paterno.  With due process we have to trust and believe that those responsible will be held fully accountable.

At this time, I am encouraging bold and courageous leadership at Penn State to inspire and unite us in an effort to work together to create what is good and right from this tragedy.  As adults, we serve as examples and protectors to the students and to children everywhere and they will be watching how we respond.

I want to wish a Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

Donations to the campaign fund launched by Penn State alumni may be made online via http://rainn.org/ProudPSUforRAINN or you can text PSU4RAINN to 20222 to make a $10 donation.


Franco Harris