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Interim Penn State President Erickson: 'I Share Your Anger and Sadness'

on November 10, 2011 12:01 PM

Rodney A. Erickson, named by Penn State trustees on Wednesday night as the interim university president, has released a statement to the public.

Erickson, executive vice president and provost at Penn State since 1999, is the longtime chief academic officer at Penn State.

His statement is pasted verbatim below. All related coverage on StateCollege.com is available via this page.

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This is one of the saddest weeks in the history of Penn State. It has been difficult to comprehend the horrific nature of the allegations that were revealed in the attorney general's presentment last week. As a member of the Penn State community for 34 years, as a parent, and as a grandfather, I find the charges as they have been described to be devastating, and my heart goes out to those who have been victimized and their families. This is a terrible tragedy for everyone involved, and it will take some time to bring a measure of understanding and resolution to the community. In addition to the legal process under way, Penn State's Board of Trustees has authorized a full investigation "...to determine what failures occurred, who is responsible, and what measures are necessary to insure that this never happens at our University again and that those responsible are held fully accountable." As those involved pursue their cases, I also urge you, as Penn Staters, to be patient, to avoid speculation, and to refrain from passing judgment until the facts are known.

As you are now aware, the Board of Trustees has asked me to serve as the interim president of Penn State effective immediately. I undertake these duties with a heavy heart, and I ask for your support as we move forward. And move forward, we must and we will.

Penn State has a long and storied tradition that has endured for more than 150 years. Our roots are deep, our constitution is resilient, and the importance of our work is as vital today as it was last week – perhaps even more so now in the face of such adversity. We are 96,000 students, 46,000 employees, and more than a half a million alumni. We are 24 campuses across the Commonwealth and a World Campus. We are a university that is committed to its core values of honesty, integrity, and community. We are a university that will rebuild the trust and confidence that so many people have had in us for so many years.

Through your conduct every day, you can play a role in restoring the pride, integrity and honor that have always characterized Penn State. I share your anger and sadness in this time, but this is the only responsible course to take in the coming months. I ask for the full support of our faculty, students, staff, and alumni, and in return I will do my best to lead this institution through the challenges ahead.

Thank you for being a part of Penn State.

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