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Penn State Riots: Student Demonstrations Show University Has Cultural Issues

STATE COLLEGE, PA - NOVEMBER 08: Penn State University students sing outside of the home of head football coach Joe Paterno during November 8, 2011 in State College, Pennsylvania. Behind Paterno is his son Scott Paterno  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images
Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer INovember 9, 2011

It was announced on Wednesday night that Penn State head coach Joe Paterno had been fired.

Now, Paterno, who allegedly knew that former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky sexually abused a 10-year-old boy in one of Penn State's locker room showers in 2002, is being supported by a slew of students.

He is being supported despite doing nothing when administration swept Sandusky's alleged doing under the rug.

This goes far beyond blindly following a storied college football coach, folks. This is the very reason why Sandusky was allowed to allegedly sexually abuse eight boys in a period of 15 years; because Penn State's reputation and history are apparently more important than the victims.

By protesting Paterno's firing, students are becoming the very monsters who allowed this to go on for so many years. It marks an embedded problem in Penn State's culture, a culture that cares more about college football than human lives.

I understand that numerous Penn State alumni have come out in droves to denounce the actions of athletic director Tim Curley, senior vice president Gary Schultz, president Graham Spanier, Paterno and current receivers coach Mike McQueary.

But this nonetheless looks bad for Penn State. It gives the impression that if students were in on the secret, they would hide it just as much as the alleged perpetrators did. Or, at least hide Paterno's role in the scandal.

It seems to me that if you become a storied college football coach, you are let off the hook at Penn State. The same people who applauded the removal of Schultz and McQueary protested the removal of Paterno.

Paterno was a great football coach, but his role in the sex scandal shows he wasn't the upstanding individual we once called "Joe Pa" with affection.

The fact that these students can't grasp that is not only demoralizing for anyone associated with the once-prestigious Penn State.

It's demoralizing for humanity.

 

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