Exactly six months to the day of the death of former Penn State football head coach Joe Paterno passed away from lung cancer, his statue outside Beaver Stadium, which commemorates his legacy, will be removed and placed into storage. In a statement released to the media Sunday morning, PSU President Rodney Erickson gave his reasoning of removing the statue:
"...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..."
"...I now believe that, contrary to its original intention, Coach Paterno’s statue has become a source of division and an obstacle to healing in our University and beyond. For that reason, I have decided that it is in the best interest of our university and public safety to remove the statue and store it in a secure location. 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 has, however, decided to keep the university's library name Paterno Library:
"On the other hand, the Paterno Library symbolizes the substantial and lasting contributions to the academic life and educational excellence that the Paterno family has made to Penn State University. The library remains a tribute to Joe and Sue Paterno’s commitment to Penn State’s student body and academic success, and it highlights the positive impacts Coach Paterno had on the University. Thus I feel strongly that the library’s name should remain unchanged."
In conclusion, Erickson admitted his decision will not be popular but he did say this is one of the steps in the healing processes for PSU.
"The world will be watching how Penn State addresses its challenges in the days ahead. While some may take issue with the decisions I have made, I trust that everyone associated with our University will respond in a civil and respectful manner."