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July 19, 2012


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Howard Wasserman

I agree with Steve that the Paterno figure in the statue is really creepy looking.

Alfred Brophy

Well, now, the aesthetics of this are an entirely separate issue!

Bob Power

Until recently the tradition was to not build statutes of, or name buildings after, living persons. Now every one-term state rep seems to get a middle school. While Paterno seemed likely to be a suitable honoree for most of his life, the disclosures of the past six months, and the final several months of his life, show that we should return to that tradition.

Michelle Meyer

It looks like you predicted correctly, Al. From,0,7120603.story:

The famed statue of Joe Paterno was taken down from outside the Penn State football stadium Sunday, eliminating a key piece of the iconography surrounding the once-sainted football coach accused of burying child sex abuse allegations against a retired assistant.

Workers lifted the 7-foot-tall statue off its base and used a forklift to move it into Beaver Stadium as the 100 to 150 students watching chanted, "We are Penn State."

. . . Construction vehicles and police arrived shortly after dawn Sunday, barricading the street and sidewalks near the statue, erecting a chain-link fence then concealing the statue with a blue tarp.

Penn State President Rod Erickson said he decided to have the statue removed and put into storage because it "has become a source of division and an obstacle to healing."

"I believe that, were it to remain, the statue will be a recurring wound to the multitude of individuals across the nation and beyond who have been the victims of child abuse," Erickson said in a statement released at 7 a.m. Sunday.

He said Paterno's name will remain on the campus library because it "symbolizes the substantial and lasting contributions to the academic life and educational excellence that the Paterno family has made to Penn State University."

. . . Some newspaper columnists and former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden have said the statue should be taken down, while a small plane pulled a banner over State College reading, "Take the statue down or we will."

But Paterno still has plenty of fans, and Penn State's decision to remove the monument won't sit well with them. One student even vowed to "chain myself to that statue" if there was an attempt to remove it.


The article also offers some unfortunate quotes from the sculptor.

Alfred Brophy

Thanks for this, Michelle. And enjoying your blogging! Glad you're hanging out with us in the faculty lounge.

Easily predictable outcome. I understand the sentiments, even if I disagree with them. The statue has become a political liability and it's asking a lot for the community (and the decision-makers at Penn State) to have enough nuance to accept that the statue should remain as a teaching device and as a reminder of the past, good and bad.

I'm sure this controversy will continue for a long time. I hope to talk a little bit about the arguments on the ESPN website about the reasons for removal (or retention). I think there's a lot of data there about how people think about this issue and what factors they plug into their moral equation.

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Penn State Chief executive Rod Erickson said he made the decision to have the sculpture eliminated and put into storage space because it "has become a source of department and an hurdle to treatment."

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