STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (KDKA) — Following the Penn State Board of Trustees announcement that Joe Paterno was out as the university’s head football coach, students took to the streets of State College.
The Board of Trustees dismissed Paterno and Graham Spanier, the university’s former president, late Wednesday night amid growing anger over the handling of child sexual abuse allegations against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.
During the news conference, reporters asked members of the Board of Trustees about possible protests.
“I think we have to do what we think was the right thing to do in these circumstances. There may be actions and reactions that flow from that, and we can’t make our decisions based on what may happen,” John Surma, vice president of the Board of Trustees, said. “We have to do what we think is right.”
Some students gathered outside Paterno’s home.
With his wife at his side, Paterno came outside and addressed those who gathered: “I love you, get some sleep, study, we still have things to do.”
KDKA’s David Highfield reports:
Meanwhile, other students, an estimated 2,000, took to the streets of the community to protest the ouster of Paterno.
Some were peaceful while others set off firecrackers, threw eggs and rocks, and toppled a street lamp. Some students held signs as they marched from Old Main to Beaver Avenue in downtown State College. There were also chants of “We want JoePa!” and “One more game!”
“He really made this school into what it is today and we really love JoePa,” said Brett Schwartz, a Penn State sophomore.
KDKA’s Heather Abraham reports:
At one point, students overturned a news van belonging to a station in Altoona. The windshield was cracked and some students were spotted standing on top of the van.
Police in riot gear appeared to use some pepper spray at one point to try and disperse the crowd. The streets were mostly clear by 1 a.m.
In the aftermath, some students say they are embarrassed by the riots.
“I think that that’s the worst reaction we could have had,” said Felix Weilgel, a student. “I understand that people were angry, disappointed, sad, but we could have shown that by getting to together on Old Main Lawn or even on the street but quietly, peacefully.”
There is no accurate number yet on how many were arrested.
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