Students and Alumni React to Charges Against Spanier
As the world learned about the charges filed against former Penn State President Graham Spanier, the university at the heart of it all watched it happen live.
“I do believe Graham Spanier deserves what he’s got today. He was the head of the university. He allowed this to happen,” Robert Vandebrake said.
The HUB student center on the University Park campus was packed with students watching the news conference announcing charges against Spanier.
“I’m glad to see they’re actually getting convicted of things too, instead of everybody saying Joe Pa this, Joe Pa that, and just pushing them aside,” Kristy Cowfer said.
“I feel like he should have owned up to what happened. It was partly his fault, him and the athletic director,” Vandebrake said.
Penn State University students say Graham Spanier has always been a fixture on campus, but they say they’re not surprised. They hope this is the beginning of the end of the child sex abuse scandal.
“The academics here are so high, and it’s giving us a bad name. This is now what we’re known for. I’m just glad this is one more thing out of the way,” Cowfer said.
Lauren Owazany is a Penn State senior from Nanticoke. She believes the university will move on from the scandal.
“Doing what we’re doing now–just keep moving forward, holding our heads up high and staying proud. It wasn’t the students–it was one or two idiots that did it. It wasn’t the school,” Owazany said.
Graham Spanier was a fixture at Penn State University for more than a decade. Many Penn State alumni say they never expected the former university president to have played a role in the child sex abuse scandal.
“I’ve been here for the past seven years and Graham Spanier and Joe Paterno have been a big part of my experience at Penn State. It’s a shame all this had to happen,” Jeremy Schreiber said.
Jeremy Schreiber and Aaron Isaacson both recently graduated from Penn State University. Graham Spanier signed their diplomas. Isaacson says he was not surprised to learn Spanier faces charges.
“I try to give him the benefit of the doubt, but with the reputation he had while he was here. Being in complete control, it’s hard to believe he didn’t know exactly what was going on,” Isaacson said.
Graham Spanier was president here at Penn State university for just over 16 years. Alumni say he was a familiar face on campus. They used to see him around all the time.
“You would see him on campus. You would see him on radio shows and tv all the time. He had a very visual presence on campus,” Isaacson said.
“He’d give the state of the university address every year. You’d think he’d be well apprised of all the situations at Penn State,” Schreiber said.
Another Penn State grad, Shawn Warner, says he is let down and disgusted by Spanier. But Warner says he believes Penn State University will bounce back.
“When one door shuts another one opens, basically. When there are bad things you try to overcome it and build stronger as a community,” Warner said.
All of the former students say they would not be surprised if more charges are filed in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.