Petition Closed
Petitioning Penn State Board of Trustees and Football Coach Selection Committee and 10 others

Penn State: Make Ending Rape Culture a Top Priority (formerly Do not hire alleged gang rape cover up coach James Franklin)

Now that James Franklin is our new Penn State football coach, this petition is not about asking you not to hire him.  This petition is now an historical document that voices concerns that 650 Penn State employees, students, alumni, and friends had in the days leading up to Franklin's hire and in the hours after his hire was announced.

Now it is time to move forward.  

Key Penn State administrators:  Will you take steps to stop the rape culture at Penn State?  Will you engage with our new coach, coaching team, football players, athletes, students, employees, and all members of the Penn State community in learning how not to commit sexual assault and to create an environment that would discourage sexual assault?

Looking at the comments below, this issue is still an important one.


We at Penn State do not want a football coach who has allegedly covered up his players' gang rape of another student at Vanderbilt.  Our university needs to stand up for human rights.***

In response to some comments that allegations of a cover up have not been proven, it is important to remember that there has not yet been a trial. Media has reported that defendants' lawyers may subpoena Franklin to testify about his role, if any, in a cover up of the alleged attacks by his players.  If this happens, Penn State will then be embroiled in another set of rape cases.  What if the trial happens during football season?  What about further sanctions?  This does not have to be our fate, Penn State. Do not hire James Franklin.  

Even if all Penn State administrators are focused on is our brand image as a university, do not hire James Franklin.  

But we should be concerned with more than our brand image, we should be concerned with educating model citizens and providing role models for our students. Higher education should be in the business of providiing the best possible role models for our students.  Have we learned nothing from the horrific cases of Jerry Sandusky?  Do we want to restore honor, not just for our reputation, but for our students, athletes, and alumni?  

Finally, we at Penn State should lead the charge against rape culture.  We should have a zero-tolerance policy against rape.  Hiring our next football coach is a highly symbolic act and a public one. We need to send a message that Penn State does not condone rape.  We do not condone rape culture.  We need to create an environment that teaches people not to commit rape.  We need to serve as role models.  Hire someone whose players are not being accused of rape.  It is time for that to really matter in college sports and in institutions of higher learning.

Do the right thing, Penn State.  Do the right thing.

Letter to
Penn State Board of Trustees and Football Coach Selection Committee
PSU Board of Trustees Karen Peetz
Penn State Bob Warming
and 8 others
Penn State-- VP for Administration Tom Poole
PSU Board of Trustees Linda Strumpf
PSU Board of Trustees Kathleen Casey
PSU Board of Trustees Mark Dambly
PSU Board of Trustees Paul Silvis
PSU Football Coach Selection Committee Linda Caldwell
Athletic Director Dave Joyner
Richardson Wally
The former petition reads:

Dear Penn State Football Coach Search Committee:

We find it appalling that, if reports are true, you are considering naming Vanderbilt Coach James Franklin as our new head football coach here at Penn State. Are you aware that his players are being investigated for gang raping another Vanderbilt student this past June and that James Franklin is suspected of covering up the attacks? Just google “James Franklin” and “rape” and see for yourselves. When you do that search you will find major news outlets including CBS and USA Today coming out and opposing Franklin because of his alleged involvement in these rape cases. USC passed on Franklin because of these allegations. It hardly needs saying that Penn State does not need a football coach on staff who covers up rape. Nor do we need one who is alleged of a cover up. Right?

Do the right thing. Do not hire James Franklin.


Michelle Rodino-Colocino
Associate Professor of Film, Video, and Media Studies; affiliate faculty in Women’s Studies

Michelle Rodino-Colocino started this petition with a single signature, and now has 586 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.