Penn State Rally For Joe Paterno: Students Protest As Sandusky Scandal Rocks Campus

When the sun rose over the Penn State campus on Tuesday morning, everyone was waiting to hear head football coach Joe Paterno address the sexual abuse scandal. By the time the sun set it wast the student body making the most noise.

Paterno had been scheduled to meet the press at 12:30 pm, but his weekly media session was canceled at the behest of university president Graham Spanier. Flocks of students still hoping to hear from Paterno found their way to his home near campus and were waiting when he arrived home from the Nittany Lions' football practice.

Greeted by this throng, Paterno addressed the crowd. The crowd of 200 to 300 was overwhelmingly supportive of Paterno and vocally expressed its support throughout the makeshift rally at his home.

After the students dispersed from Paterno's home, crowds supporting the embattled coach made their way around downtown State College for the next several hours. According to Brittany Horn of the Daily Collegian, the students taking to the streets were in agreement that "they don't want Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno to resign and find it unfair that he is being asked to do so."

Despite the presence of police in riot gear on the streets, both the happening at Paterno's home and gatherings throughout the evening, from Old Main and the student bookstore to Beaver Stadium, appeared more like pep rallies than anything destructive. The students did reportedly push through one makeshift police barricade, but didn't seem to cause any immediate harm beyond blocking traffic.

Reactions to the student protests from outside of State College have tended to be unfavorable, with many feeling that the unwavering support for Paterno -- and seemingly celebratory vibe -- didn't take the suffering of the victims of the sexual assaults into account. Although state police commissioner Frank Noonan, along with many observers across the country, believe that Paterno's response to learning that his former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky had sexually assaulted a young boy in a Penn State facility in 2002 did not fulfill his moral obligations, the student body seems to be feel Paterno is being unfairly scapegoated by the administration.

While the students seem to overwhelmingly support Paterno despite The New York Times reporting his exit is being planned, they are were vocally calling for Spanier's outser on Tuesday evening.




Penn State Students