There are numerous opinions on how Penn State should respond to allegations that several top officials knew about accusations that former coach Jerry Sandusky was molesting children and failed to intervene. Sandusky has denied the charges.
But the collective opinion of the hundreds of students who rallied on campus Tuesday night boiled down to this: They want President Graham Spanier out of office. And they have unconditional support for football coach Joe Paterno.
Throughout the night, mobs of students moved through campus and State College, Penn., often under the watch of police who appeared prepared for a riot. They tweeted their movements and crossed paths with Paterno and Spanier, neither of whom have been criminally charged.
Early in the evening, students gathered in front of Paterno’s house and chanted, “We want Joe!” The longtime coach finally came outside and responded “And I want you!” He went on the say: “It’s hard for me to tell you how much this means to me. You guys have lived for this place. I’ve lived for people like you guys and girls. I’m just so happy to see that you feel so strongly about us and about our school.” (This morning, Paterno announced he will retire at the end of the season.)
Late in the evening, students gathered in front of the administration building Old Main in hopes of getting a similar response from Spanier, who has come under fire for expressing ”unconditional support” for two administrators who were charged with perjury and failure to notify police. At one point, the crowd chanted, “Come out Spanier.”
Just before midnight, Spanier’s office light went out, a Penn State journalism student tweeted. The president slipped out a side door, declined to answer questions and got into a van, according to the Daily Collegian. The blog Onward State tweeted: “General consensus among students at Old Main is that Spanier's exit is a sign of cowardice at a time when PSU needs leadership the most.” (Last night, university trustees announced that a special committee would investigate the charges. Several media outlets have reported that Spanier is expected to resign.)
I could not have followed last night’s rally and the unfolding news today without a constant stream of informative tweets from @dailycollegian and @onwardstate, plus the host of the journalists and students who tweeted using the hashtag #PSUCharges.
Following are some of the tweets that caught my eye.
What do you think of the rallies last night? Do you agree with the sentiments of the crowd?