STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (KDKA) — A quiet morning in State College was shattered by the sound of a jackhammer Sunday.
Police closed off the street before workers removed the statue of Joe Paterno outside Beaver Stadium.
After it was taken away, Penn State fans and supporters gathered to try and catch a glimpse of the now empty spot where the statue once stood. And they could not hold back their anger and disappointment as they looked through a hole in the fence.
“I think they did the worst job for the university and for the city of State College,” said Gerrie McTaggart, a Penn State supporter.
“He’s not alive anymore, he can’t defend himself, leave the man alone,” added Barbara Paruolo, another PSU fan.
Acting on the orders of Penn State University President Rodney Erickson, a crew built a fence around the statue, pried it loose with jackhammers and towed the seven-foot tall, 900 pound, bronze statue inside Beaver Stadium.
“Are you also going to take down the library? You know, he helped donate millions of dollars,” said John Kaufman, a PSU supporter. “I mean, where does it stop?”
“Forty-nine years and the stadium’s here because of him, and if you’re going to take down the statue, then take down the stadium,” added Harold Ziegler, another PSU supporter. “May as well clean house, take it all down.”
Erickson called the statue “a source of division and an obstacle to healing.”
The decision came 10 days after a report by former FBI Director Louis Freeh that concluded Paterno and other officials concealed allegations of child sexual abuse against former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.
“Jerry Sandusky’s the one that did the actual crime,” said PSU supporter Sandra Farr. “Joe said he should have done more, but that doesn’t mean we should just erase everything good he ever did.”
Ted Willis accused the university of giving into demands. He took a picture of the banner that had been flying over Penn State’s campus last week that read “Take the statue down or we will!” and tied it to the fence.
“I’m disillusioned because Mr. Paterno gave his entire life to this university and now they’re having to try to remove all traces of his presence here on campus,” said Willis.
PSU officials have said the statue to be stored at undisclosed location.
Photo Gallery: Paterno Statue Removed At Penn State
Penn State President Orders Paterno Statue Removal (7/22/12)
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