Joe Paterno statue removed, name left on Penn State library


Penn State is in the process of stripping its campus of reminders of former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, who was found guilty of 45 child sex abuse charges in June, and university leaders who are accused of covering up Sandusky’s actions. (Earlier this month Nike removed Paterno’s name from the child care center at its Oregon headquarters.)


Penn State football coach Joe Paterno is embraced by his wife, Sue, following Penn State's victory over Texas in the Cotton Bowl in 1972. The two met at a Penn State library. (AP Photo) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Penn State President Rodney Erickson wrote in a statement that he feels “strongly” that the library’s name should remain, as “Paterno Library symbolizes the substantial and lasting contributions to the academic life and educational excellence that the Paterno family has made to Penn State University.”

The library was a special spot for the Joe and Sue Paterno, who met at a Penn State library when she was a freshman and he was a young football coach. When Paterno was honored by university trustees in 1983 for leading the Nittany Lions to their first championship, he urged them to keep academics a top priority, saying: “You can't have a great university without a great library.

When Paterno died in January, Sue Paterno was thanked by players and others for being “much more than a coach’s wife” and taking an active role in the football program, especially when it came to academics.


Former Penn State Coach Joe Paterno and his wife, Sue Paterno, stand on their porch to thank supporters gathered outside their home in November. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File) (Gene J. Puskar/AP)

One of their children, Jay Paterno, relinquished his coaching job at Penn State.

Earlier this month, independent investigators hired by university trustees released a report stating that Paterno and three other powerful leaders “concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky's child abuse.” The Paterno family announced that it would launch its own investigation into that report. Their statement read, in part: “We are dismayed by, and vehemently disagree with, some of the conclusions and assertions and the process by which they were developed.”

And when Paterno’s statue was removed Sunday morning, the family released a statement that criticized the action: “It is not the University's responsibility to defend or protect Joe Paterno. But they at least should have acknowledged that important legal cases are still pending and that the record on Joe Paterno, the Board [of Trustees] and other key players is far from complete.”

What do you think? Which monuments to Joe Paterno should be allowed to stay and which should go?

Jenna Johnson is a political reporter who is covering the 2016 presidential campaign.

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