Penn State plans to honor former coach Joe Paterno on Sept. 17, when the Nittany Lions face Temple. That day will mark 50 years since the start of Paterno’s coaching career, and it will also mark the first time the school has publicly commemorated him since his ouster in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
But if the student newspaper in State College is a barometer for the feelings of current students, this ceremony is not welcomed.
In an editorial published Friday in the Daily Collegian, the paper’s editors lashed out the school’s decision to honor Paterno, casting him in the light of a fallen hero.
Some notable excerpts:
Paterno has not been a member of this university’s staff since 2011. He is no longer a community hero. Paterno was a remarkable part of this university for numerous years, and for that we have the right to be thankful. For those who attended Penn State while he was here, he has every right to remain a legend. He was a hero, and no one wants to see their hero fall.
But in light of these past years — even these past few weeks — this is in no way the right time or manner to “commemorate” him, if he even deserves to be so.
Further, the paper argues, Paterno is no hero to the students currently at the school. In fact, he’s often spoken of in conjunction with the Sandusky scandal.
Currently, the only associations these classes of students have with Paterno is reading and hearing his name tied with Jerry Sandusky’s and lawsuits or coming from the mouths of Penn State alumni who can’t accept that their time here is no longer.
Perhaps most poignant is the assertion that it’s time for the students, and the school, to separate themselves from the coach.
This is our Penn State. It is a Penn State without Joe Paterno. It is a Penn State that is still trying to rebuild, make amends and propel forward.
Those of us here now are beyond ready to move on.
For those interested with this matter, the full editorial is well worth your time.
The students on the editorial board aren’t the only ones disturbed by the decision to honor Paterno. On Thursday, ESPN’s Linda Cohn said she was ‘disgusted’ by the decision.