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.
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.
Crowd is about 300-400 standing on opposite sides of beaver just west of locust. Clapping and chanting “Joe Paterno” #psucharges
We need to support the BoT and let them get to bottom of this instead of ruining the University’s image with anger and impulse. #PSUcharges
Students forced to clear streets from police efforts. #Psucharges
What in god’s name is going on at Penn State right now? #PSUCharges
#psucharges is blowing up right now. Armed state troopers downtown. This is really really sad for everyone in the blue and white family.
This “riot” is utterly shameful. Are you stupid? Every single one of you is a disgrace to this University. So embarrassing. #PSUcharges
#PSUCharges You help absolutely nothing if there’s a confrontation with police tonight. You only hurt the university.
RT @DailyCollegian: Police have pulled out megaphone, likely to prepare to make an announcement of some sort. Students chanting “We won’ ...
I hope all ends well on campus tonight and no one does something stupid. Remember everyone is watching at the moment. #PSUCharges
can hear chants and cheers from my apartment #psucharges
some students holding signs, one says Remember Joe for 409. #PSUcharges
Thousands marching on college ave to old main #PSUcharges
Wow. Students marching en masse. Not sure if this is exuberance or anger. Wild scene
Go to old main. Call for Spanier. Be logical but in control. Stop this Beaver Canyon nightmare and if you can’t, go home #psucharges
Rioting in support of JoePa? He kept a child rapist in hiding. PSU students are dumb #PSUCharges
#PSUcharges To those defending PSU and specifically Paterno...Have you read the Grand Jury Report?
Crowd has now moved back to Old Main for the second time tonight, picking up what appears to be hundreds of additional students. #PSUCharges
the students wouldn’t be rioting if Penn State hadn’t put together the worst crisis management team ever. #PSUCharges
’Fire Spanier’ and ‘We Want Answers’ chants seem to be the theme now. If they can stay under control, this may just work. #PSUcharges
It’s not a riot. It’s a rally... a rally for the boys forever harmed, for Joe Pa’s legacy, and for the University community #PSUcharges
#PSUCharges - Spanier STILL INSIDE OLD MAIN!
All my Penn State friends are changing their default photos to the university’s seal or Nittany Lion #PSUcharges
Aaaaaaaaand they’re back in Beaver Canyon. #PSUCharges. People cheering at honking cars driving by
the only riot i will participate in is one on Graham Spaniers front lawn if Joe resigns and he doesnt #PSUcharges
Crowd chanting “Come out Spanier” in front of Old Main. He’s yet to make a public statement since his controversial one Sunday. #PSUcharges
Hearing students calling for answers is what we need. Those families and victims deserve answers #PSUCharges
I realize emotions are high tonight but please, people, be safe #PSUcharges
Crowd is confused and aimless. Fitting considering conflicting emotions. #PSUcharges
The light in Spanier’s office just turned off.
What do you think of the rallies last night? Do you agree with the sentiments of the crowd?