As part of our Being Penn State series on Speak Up, we are featuring voices from around the campuses addressing some of the significant ethical challenges we face as a community. We are also featuring stories about people who Stand Up, Speak Up, and demonstrate their willingness to take on leadership roles in actively addressing these ethical challenges. The following thoughts, contributed to us by Penn State student Matt Bodenschatz, provide an example of both. Matt brings a perspective to our current situation that many of us may not have considered at any length as as we have been coping in our own ways with all that has been happening here and how it has affected us. Whether you agree with everything he says or not, I hope you will take this opportunity to listen to Matt and that you will consider joining in the conversation he is inviting us to have.
WE ARE... Here Too!
by Matt Bodenschatz
For roughly two months, buildings lining the downtown streets of State College have been coated with signs declaring homes and businesses to be "Proud to Support Penn State Football."
Clearly, Penn State football is widely regarded here as something needing and deserving our defense, advocacy, and strident, active support.
That support, in general, is fine, and is in keeping with proud traditions held dear in this community. But the crucial context of this poster campaign goes unremarked. The fuller set of facts it ignores goes unaddressed. This campaign of support is too specifically targeted toward one particular portion of our community, and it carelessly implies that their situation is the one most worthy of lament and sympathy. It's too conveniently neglectful of an entire population of people, of what that population has endured, and of what it was publicly promised (but has yet to get) from those around it. And a great many of us who comprise that population, the recipients up to now of nothing more than lip service, broken promises, and empty, unfulfilled commitments, see, feel and absorb this campaign in a much different way.