Steve Clowney has more on the controversy over the JoePa Statue in State College over at propertyprof. My thoughts are here. I think (fear) that Steve's going to get his wish. Public sentiment on the ground in Pennsylvania is really running against the statue. (See, e.g., the facebook page, "Remove Statue of Joe Paterno on Penn State"; CNN's completely unscientific poll is running wildly against JoePa). Though I might note that some twitter uses (or at least one twitter user) are (is) coming to the defense of JoePa. @fightercowboy tweeted on July 13: "@JoePaStatue you will never be taken down. Over my dead body and with 1000s of rounds of spent shells." I'm sure that was a hyperbole on his part.
I might add that another model than removal would be to add another monument or plaque, which might put the statue and controversy into context. Assuming the statue is removed, I'll be curious how -- if at all -- this affects the calculations regarding building names on college campuses.
Update: Jeff Pearlman at CNN has an opinion piece saying that the JoePa statue should remain, and be used to start discussion about the place of football on the PSU campus (and I guess in American life in general). University of Denver Law Professor Tom Russell was quoted extensively in an insidehighereducation story about the statue. As Tom said, “The university, having failed in its responsibilities, now has a responsibility to repair the harm by having a big and unpleasant conversation,” he continued. “Penn State engaged in the cover-up. So in that way this statue is a piece of evidence -- it’s dirty linen that should remain at least for as long as it takes for Penn State to discuss the harm and try to provide a remedy for the harm.” (You may recall that Tom led the campaign to get Simkins Hall on UT-Austin's campus renamed. Simkins was an early 20th century UT Law Professor who had supported the Klan.)
I agree with Jeff and Tom completely -- and with Ta-Nehisi Coates' op-ed in the Times that Kent Schenkel pointed us to yesterday -- but I think that's precisely the reason that PSU will likely take down the statute. They want to forget this shameful epsiode in the school's history and forgetting is facilitated by the absence of monuments. And just to be clear, Steve Clowney's arguing not just for removal of JoePa, but for a replacement that'll get people talking. So Steve and I are on the same page in general.
Also -- I love the options on ESPN's poll:
What should Penn State do with the Joe Paterno statue?
They don't even have the option of leave it up as a reminder of human failings and/or the problems that an obsessive focus on football causes. The only option in terms of leaving up the statue is as a reminder of the good JoePa did. I love this. Further to this, see the discussion at ESPN's website.