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Penn State grad: Thank you OSU for ‘keeping it classy’

Brittany Schock / Asst. photo editor

Dear Buckeyes,

Upon returning from my visit to THE Ohio State University for the game, I feel compelled to express to you my gratitude, respect and appreciation.

I was admittedly nervous to make the trip and to be the minority on your beautiful campus, especially at a time like this. I was prepared to choke back tears when I saw signs slandering Joe Paterno, as was the case for me last year when I was marching with Penn State’s Blue Band. Perhaps it was the route traveled, but this year, I did not see a single discriminating sign.

Of course there was the occasional insult, as was to be expected as a visiting fan, and I can’t pretend that other fans haven’t experienced the same at Penn State. However, for every negative comment we heard, we received at least three nice ones. Many hands were extended with a “Welcome to Columbus,” groups of people approached us to ensure that their fans were being nice to us, and we even heard a “You are!” There was an unspoken understanding of what Penn Staters are going through and many were willing to talk to us about the issue, defending us as Nittany Lions separate from the scandal, much like you are Buckeyes separate from yours.

Beers were poured into our cups at the bar, I helped a vom-crying freshman Buckeye in the girls’ bathroom get water and find her friends (hey, we were all freshmen once), Ohio State fans clapped when we passed them through a tailgate, and it all just reiterated that we come from two of the most prestigious universities in the country. These universities are so much more than their bumps in the road or the rare few that taint our name. Contrary to popular belief, we are even more than football.

Hats off to you, Ohio State, for keeping it classy and making us feel welcome at a vulnerable time.

P.S. I will be rooting for you to crush Michigan next week.

Sincerely,

Beth Willard

Penn State class of 2011

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