Penn State President Graham Spanier Fired As Well
Legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno and university president Graham Spanier have been removed from their positions, effective immediately, according to the school’s board of trustees, amid allegations one of Paterno’s former assistants abused children and school officials didn’t report what they knew.
Penn State President Graham Spanier, left, and head football coach Joe Paterno chat during warm-ups before an NCAA college football game against Iowa, in State College, Pa., in this Oct. 8, 2011 file photo.
Paterno, 84, who earlier today announced that he was “absolutely devastated” by the scandal and would retire at the end of the season, will not get to leave on his own terms, after all.
In fact, Penn State’s head coach of nearly five decades will not coach another game, according to the trustees.
“Right now, I’m not the football coach, and that’s something I have to get used to,” Paterno said, according to The Associated Press.
People gathered at Paterno’s house were seen crying.
Paterno eventually came out to suggest the students go home and study, and thanked them for their continued support.
“I am disappointed with the board of trustees’ decision, but I have to accept it,” he said in a written statement. “A tragedy occurred, and we all have to have patience to let the legal process proceed. I appreciate the outpouring of support but want to emphasize that everyone should remain calm and please respect the university, its property and all that we value.”
However, many students in State College, Pa., reacted angrily to Paterno’s removal, with thousands gathering on the city’s streets. They shook light posts, threw toilet tissue, set off fireworks and yelled out sentiments such as, “We want JoePa,” referring to one of Paterno’s nicknames, and “One more game.”
Lines of police were out in riot gear, but they were far outnumbered by students.
Several students directed their rage at the media, flipping over a satellite truck, breaking its windows and threatening to burn it amid chants of “F*** the media.”
Federal Investigation of Penn State Allegations
The end of the line for Paterno and Spanier at Penn State came a few hours after the U.S. Department of Education announced it was launching an investigation into whether university officials mishandled the allegations.
The Education Department is checking to see if the university failed to comply with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (the Clery Act), which requires colleges to disclose reported criminal offenses on campus.
“If these allegations of sexual abuse are true, then this is a horrible tragedy for those young boys,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a news release. “If it turns out that some people at the school knew of the abuse and did nothing or covered it up, that makes it even worse. Schools and school officials have a legal and moral responsibility to protect children and young people from violence and abuse.”
Source: ABC News | COLLEEN CURRY and DAN HARRIS (@danbharris)