(PCM) Tears and sadness rolled through State College as the iconic Joe Paterno statue was covered and taken away. In that moment, the drilling subsided, the crew dispersed and the ground was left empty. There will no longer be a Joe Paterno statue hovering over the students roaming through the grounds.
Penn State’s President, Rodney Erickson, called the statue “a source of division and an obstacle to healing” according to USA Today. He decided that it would be in the interest of the university and public safety to remove the statue and store it. He called it a reminder to the wounds of multiple individuals accross the nation.
The school put out no statement before they sent out the construction crew and police, which made the early morning affair quiet and unnoticed. They started at 6:15 Sunday morning and within the hour, the statue was taken from sight.
Students and alumni are not happy with Penn State’s decision. They feel that the school is crumbling to the pressures of society and not focusing on the students and their community.
The Paterno family released a statement on Sunday morning, unhappy with the actions of the school:
“Tearing down the statue of Joe Paterno does not serve the victims of Jerry Sandusky‘s horrible crimes or help heal the Penn State Community. We believe the only way to help the victims is to uncover the full truth. The Freeh report, though it has been accepted by the media as the definitive conclusion on the Sandusky scandal, is the equivalent of an indictment — a charging document written by a prosecutor — and an incomplete and unofficial one at that.
To those who truly want to know the truth about Sandusky, it should matter that Joe Paterno has never had a hearing; that his legal counsel has never been able to interview key witnesses, all of whom are represented by lawyers and therefore unavailable; that there has never been an opportunity to review critical evidence which has not been made public; that selective evidence and the opinion of Mr Freeh is treated as the equivalent of a fair trial. Despite this obviously flawed and one-sided presentation, the University believes it must acquiesce and accept that Joe Paterno has been given a fair and complete hearing. We think the better course would have been for the University to take a strong stand in support of due process so that the complete truth can be uncovered.
It is not the University’s responsibility to defend or protect Joe Paterno. But they at least should have acknowledged that important legal cases are still pending and that the record on Joe Paterno, the Board and other key players is far from complete.”
The school took down the statue to attempt to help the healing, but it seems like the keep ripping off band-aids one at a time. Some drove 40 miles from other Penn State compuses to get a picture with the statue, only to be too late.
Although the bronze statue was removed, President Erickson said that they library bearing Paterno’s name will not be changed. The library represents the academic mission of the university Paterno helped foster, according to Erickson.
The statue came down exactly six months to the day of Paterno’s passing, January 22nd, also a Sunday.