Penn State Pride Takes a Hit Over Sex Scandal

By Laura Dildine

The Penn State sex scandal exploded over the news a couple of weeks ago, and it hasn’t cooled down yet.  Most people, don’t know what happened exactly, and in fact, it can be difficult to differentiate the facts from the gossip.

In a nutshell, former defensive coordinator of the Penn State football team, Jerry Sandusky, was caught by a graduate student, Mike McQueary, sexually assaulting a young boy in the shower area. This was all the way back in 2002.

The graduate student later reported the incident to Joe Paterno, who then reported it to his supervisor. In this chain, it went all the way to the top, to the University President Graham Spanier.

Instead of contacting the police, the University covered up the scandal. It stayed hushed up for almost 10 years.

The story was uncovered by a reporter and the story was printed by the Patriot-News back in March. Main stream media didn’t pick up the story until Sandusky’s indictment a couple weeks ago.

It has been revealed that Sandusky assaulted as many as eight young boys between 1994 and 2009, and more victims are reportedly still coming forward.

On Wednesday, November 9, 2011, the campus was roaring with the news. Paterno had already announced his willingness to retire, but the board had yet to announce if they would let him stay or not, which they eventually decided against allowing him to stay on for any longer.

Penn State students were buzzing with the news. Their opinions were split on whether Paterno should be kicked out or not. Students mostly focused on Paterno. Would he be able to coach one last game? Would he be staying until the end of the season? Or would the board kick him out immediately? Students, while horrified by what Sandusky did, didn’t care much about him. They wanted him gone, but they were more concerned with Paterno and what his future held.

During the day, The Penn State band was found marching around campus and when questioned about their purpose, a band member stated “We’re marching to try and raise the spirit on campus in our free time. This is a rough time for everyone.”

Later that evening, things got a little stickier and a little darker on campus. The board announced that Joe Paterno would no longer be coaching the Penn State football team effective immediately. Also, that President Spanier was being let go.

Students who supported Paterno were in an uproar. They rioted that night, overturning a news van, tearing down a lamp post and more. Police waited with tear gas in order to tame the crowd so it didn’t get out of hand. The crowd was horrified that Paterno would not get the opportunity to coach even one more game. Many people lamented that they had bought tickets for this past weekends game hoping to see Paterno’s last time coaching but now they felt no desire to go without Paterno being there.

And President Spanier’s dismissal? The crowd didn’t care much about that. Even though it was ultimately his decision to hush the whole scandal up and therefore essentially his fault this whole ordeal occurred.

All-in-all, Penn State has had a wild and crazy couple of weeks. People stand on both sides of the spectrum, should everyone be let go? Should only Sandusky be forced off campus? Or just a few people? Should Spanier and Paterno really have been dismissed? Or should it be left in the past? There’s no definite answer and the board is trying their best to sort through the chaos that certainly isn’t representative of Penn State pride. In the end, not everyone can be happy when all is said and done. But after all, when children are hurt by those that should protect them, can there even been a happy ending? Most would probably say that it is not possible.      

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