STATE COLLEGE, Penn.– The statue of Joe Paterno that has stood in front of Beaver Stadium for over a decade has now been removed.
Early Sunday morning, workers lifted the 7-foot-tall statue off its base and removed it from the stadium.
In a statement released by Penn State, President Rodney Erickson said, “Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to those victims of Mr. Sandusky and all other victims of child abuse. I assure you that Penn State will take a national leadership role in the detection and prevention of child maltreatment in the months and years ahead.
With the release of Judge Freeh’s Report of the Special Investigative Counsel, we as a community have had to confront a failure of leadership at many levels. The statue of Joe Paterno outside Beaver Stadium has become a lightning rod of controversy and national debate, including the role of big time sports in university life. The Freeh Report has given us a great deal to reflect upon and to consider, including Coach Paterno’s legacy. “
The statement went on to say Coach Paterno’s statue has “become a source of division and an obstacle to healing.” However, that is not the only memorial to the late coach on campus.
There has also been talk about changes to the Paterno Library, in addition to the statue being removed.
However, university officials say that is not the case.
In the release, Erickson said he believes the Paterno Library should keep its name 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.”
The statement continued by saying “Coach Paterno’s positive impact over the years and everything he did for this University predate his statue. At the same time it is true that our institution’s excellence cannot be attributed to any one person or to athletics. Rather, Penn State is defined by our actions and accomplishments as a learning community. Penn State has long been an outstanding academic institution and we will continue to be.”
The statue was built in 2001 in honor of Paterno’s 324th victory.