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Joe Paterno statue protected all night by group of students

July 19, 2012|By Chuck Schilken
  • Penn State officials are deciding whether or not to remove the statue of late football coach Joe Paterno outside Beaver Stadium.
Penn State officials are deciding whether or not to remove the statue of… (Associated Press )

The Joe Paterno statue may or may not remain standing outside Beaver Stadium at Penn State, but for now a small group of students have dedicated themselves to protecting it from vandals.

Seniors Mike Elliott and Kevin Berkon organized an all-night gathering Tuesday, pitching a tent and putting up a sign that read, “Protect the Paterno statue,” at around 10:30 p.m. According to Berkon, they were "extremely angry" about a plane that flew over the campus earlier in the day with with a banner that read, "Take the statue down or we will."

"We talked about going up to the statue, and once we got up to the statue, we were like, 'Well, we're going to protect it,'" Berkon said.

About 10 people joined the vigil throughout the night. University police, who have an officer monitoring the statue, told the gatherers they couldn't sleep there.

"That's all right," Elliott said. "We'll stay up all night and we'll do what we have to do."

Elliott and Berkon weren't sure how long they were going to keep up the vigil but planned to be back Wednesday night.

"We're just simply there to have some numbers around the statue in case anyone wants to come by and vandalize it," Elliott said.

A recent investigation concluded that Paterno and several other high-ranking school officials concealed information concerning allegations against former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, who has been convicted on 45 counts of child sex abuse.

University spokesman David LaTorre has stated that the university would make a decision regarding the statue in the next seven to 10 days.

Berkon said he would not stand in the way if the university decides to take down the statue, adding that if that happens he would like to see it placed in a sports museum.


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