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The Drake Community Responds to Penn State

Drake administrators are taking action to prevent events like those at Pennsylvania State University from happening on Drake’s campus.

On  Nov. 5, former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, 67, was arrested for involuntary deviant sexual intercourse, according to an investigative grand jury. Pennsylvania’s attorney general is charging him with 40 counts of sexual abuse. Sandusky faces several other charges as well, including aggravated indecent assault and endangering the welfare of a child, according to the grand jury.

The grand jury has identified eight boys whom were sexually assaulted by Sandusky from 1994-2009. The boys ranged in age from 8-14. The grand jury has found that Sandusky first met all eight boys through The Second Mile, a charitable program founded in 1977 by Sandusky to help youth develop positive life skills.

Two Penn State officials, Gary Schultz, the university’s then-senior vice president for finance and business, and Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley, are also being charged, according to the grand jury, with failing to inform the police of eyewitness allegations against Sandusky. Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno and univeristy President Graham Spanier have been fired.

In addition, assistant football coach Mike McQueary has been place on administrative leave because of death threats made on his life. According to the grand jury report, he witnessed Sandusky raping a child in 2002 and failed to report the incident.

To ensure the safety of all members of the Drake community, the Drake athletic department met for a staff meeting Monday morning to discuss the ramifications of the Penn State scandal.

“I hope there will be positive ramifications,” said Sandy Hatfield Clubb, director of Drake athletics. “I’m hoping people will work harder to make sure things like this do not happen again.”

Hatfield Clubb says her staff will now have access to EthicsPoint Hotline, an anonymous reporting line.

“Even if they aren’t comfortable going to their supervisor, or to another authority, and they need to share something, they can use EthicsPoint,” she said.

The athletics staff is also circulating information about whistle-blower protection and policies of the university to make sure they are well understood.

The athletic department also spoke about the importance of working with integrity.

“This horrific situation brings awareness to the responsibility we all have to intervene when something is happening that shouldn’t be,” said Chris Creighton, head coach of the Drake football team.

Kevin Protzmann, sophomore, agrees.

“It’s simple – if you see someone doing something they shouldn’t, then come forward.”

Drake President David Maxwell sees the situation as a reminder that, while we are the “Drake Family,” we must remain open about anything that breaches our core values.

“The Penn State situation is a powerful reminder of how important it is to ensure that the entire institution is infused with the university’s core values,” said Maxwell. “These include, in our case, a passionate commitment to integrity, transparency, accountability, ethical behavior and civil discourse.”

This commitment, Maxwell says, can require openness and, if necessary, the engagement of appropriate legal authorities.

“It is important for me, as the president, to remind us of our expectations for ourselves, and to remind us that we cannot and should not shield anyone from the consequences of their actions,” said Maxwell.

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