Penn State Embraces Damage Control

Its president apologizes to the Virginia Tech community, its students pledge to wear maroon and orange, but skepticism persists.


One more blog post to add to this Penn State/Virginia Tech Halloween costume media frenzy: In a show of collective contrition, Facebook groups galore have been encouraging Penn State students to wear maroon and orange Thursday, the Daily Collegian reports. At least 1,100 have pledged to do so.

Because nothing in this continuing story is ever without controversy, some students have questioned the authenticity of the Facebook groups, citing an E-mail sent by the Penn State spokeswoman urging "a group of students (maybe student government leaders) to 'spontaneously' put together a Facebook site for Penn Staters to go and show their support for Virginia Tech."

Penn State's student government president also wrote a letter of condolence, published in Virginia Tech's Collegiate Times, doing her part to separate her institution from the two costume-wearing, unapologetic students. "These individuals do not represent the Nittany Lion nation and we fully condemn their actions."

All this compassion, however, might not be enough for forgiveness. At least one Penn State donor has threatened to withdraw funds until a "very, very public" and convincing gesture is offered. Another alum, who endows a Penn State scholarship, wrote that he "will not support a university that condones this type of behavior" and threatened to shut down the scholarship if the two students involved were still enrolled in the fall. And it's not as if the administration hasn't noticed: "We are getting hammered by the Virginia television station," wrote the spokeswoman in an E-mail. "And it's only a matter of time before it takes on a bigger life."