As I write this letter, thousands of Penn Staters are tweeting and signing a petition to #SaveTheSkeller.
The loss of the Rathskeller marks the end of an era for our local community, and the bar has been an important part of the Penn State experience for countless alumni. But that doesn’t mean we should save it.
In recalling their own fond memories made at the Skeller, many members of our community have overlooked the far more unpleasant memory of Salvador Peter Serrano. On Oct. 26, 2003, Serrano got into an altercation with two bouncers outside the Rathskeller. By the time police arrived, Serrano was dead — and ultimately, the Rathskeller was held financially liable for wrongful death to the Serrano family by the Pennsylvania Superior Court.
And that’s not all. In 2009, another individual testified in court that he “was beaten and restrained by All American Rathskeller employees in a way similar to that which led to the death of Penn State student Salvador Peter Serrano,” according to a publicly available report from the law office of Andrew Shubin.
This is not the history of an institution we should be working to save.
Over the past few years, our community has (hopefully) learned that the safety and well-being of the kids who come to this town to become well-rounded, well-educated adults is more important than the legacy of an institution, no matter how historical or beloved.
This is a chance to put that lesson into practice. Don’t save the Skeller.
Michael Garrett, State College