Students riot after Penn State football coach fired

Police and students clash after Board of Directors dismisses Joe Paterno

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Police and students clash after Board of Directors dismisses Joe Paterno

Thousands of students flooded the streets outside the administration building after learning coach Joe Paterno and PSU president Graham Spanier were fired on Wednesday.

Statue of Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, who was fired by the board of directors at PSU. Image via Wiki Commons.

“We are Penn State,” the collective crowd shouted.

The peaceful demonstration soon turned rowdy, and then violent.

Officers lost control of the mob around midnight. Protesters brought down lampposts, one of which fell into a group of students. Police tried using mace to control the crowd, to which some students responded with rocks, cans of pop and road flares.  Other students blew vuvuzelas and air horns and a reveille was heard from a trumpet. Some were shouting “Tip the van!” and “Flip it over!” in regards to a news van which was subsequently dented and toppled. For many it was a target of their anger.

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PSU freshman Mike Clark explained that by telling university administration about Jerry Sandusky’s alleged shower assault, that the coach met his moral obligations. “I think the point people are trying to make is the media is responsible for Joe Pa going down,” the 18-year old said.

As he was dodging a cloud of pepper spray, Greg Becker told the New York Times, “This definitely looks bad for our school,” he said. “I’m sure Joe Pa wouldn’t want this, but this is just an uproar now, we’re finding a way to express our anger.”

“Of course we’re going to riot,” another Penn State student said. “What do they expect when they tell us at 10 o’clock that they fired our football coach?”

In defense of the termination,“I’m not sure I can tell you specifically,” vice chair John Surma told reporters of the immediate firing. “In our view, we thought change now was necessary.”

Not all students agreed with protesters.  One told reporters on the scene, “The hardest part, because he was a hero to me, is coming to grips with what he did, or actually what he didn’t do.”

Others just wanted to witness the action. “My friends were like, ‘I don’t want to get maced,’” Kevin Goff said. “I was like, ‘I don’t want to miss seeing this, so I guess that means I do kind of want to get maced.’”

Read more about the Joe Paterno controversy.

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  • Gerard Myers

    Simply unbelievable …
    The students involved in these riots need a serious check on their moral compass and common sense.
    Anyone, and I mean anyone, with the knowledge of sexual abuse of children and do not report it to the law … SHOULD BE removed from their positions and even punished under the legal system.
    To rationalize that the coach did his moral obligation by telling the university director and then going on with ‘business as usual” is completely dilusional.
    Sometimes the only way to make others see the seriousness of this sort of crime is to ask them the question … what if it was your child who was in the shower with this child molester? Would that make a difference in these young students opinions?
    These student riots prove a point … just because one has an education and the ability to sit in class and take notes, does not make them an intelligent, moral or even responsible individual. Shame on you all.