Several major American colleges and universities have made headlines for things they would have done anything avoid.

Big-time institutions face the long road to attempt to recover from incidents that only a handful of people caused, but affect thousands.

Penn State, which is a terrific school, that I have visited many times since one of my best friends went there, is going through the unthinkable. This is a school with nearly 50,000 students from all walks of life that has to go through a phase of being stereotyped as a haven of child sex abuse.

The unfortunate part is that this is the alleged doing of one man, Jerry Sandusky. This man, who was once the right-hand man and heir apparent to legendary Penn State figure, Joe Paterno. He did the unthinkable by essentially taking down Joe Paterno, and delivering a serious knock to the football program, and most of all, the school.

Sandusky will stand trial, and you can only hope that no more negativity comes out of this bizarre story, but that does not seem likely.

Syracuse University avoided some hurdles after authorities felt the case of Bernie Fine, longtime basketball assistant, had passed the statute of limitations. They too, though, face the black eye of a child sex scandal.

Yesterday, was another part of the spectrum as far as type of incident, but a great institution, Virginia Tech, faces the reputation of being a school where gunman come on campus. It is an unfortunate moniker, and it is a tragic story, but it is now the hand they are dealt.

For the second time in 5 years, people have been shot and killed on campus. Yesterday’s incident was not as severe as the one in 2007, but an innocent cop lost his and the gunman his. The school, which had worked so hard to repair its image and reputation after one many caused so much terror in 2007, faces the long road back.

You don’t like to generalize or create stereotypes, but the reality is that these issues will come into the minds of high schoolers when they make their college decisions because they are such headline-grabbing stories.

We can only hope the healing process begins as soon as possible.