After weeks of debate, the statue is coming down.
A few Board of Trustees members refuted early reports on Friday, but now it’s confirmed. Early this morning, President Rodney Erickson ordered the Joe Paterno statue to be removed. In his statement, Erickson said that the statue will be removed and stored in a “secure location.” Full Statement here.
Crews and police set up a barricade around 6:30 a.m. this morning. About two dozen officers were stationed along Porter Road.
The Paterno statue has stood outside of Beaver Stadium since the fall of 2001. Earlier this week, the statue’s sculptor told the Philadelphia Inquirer, “I would go along with any just decision that is made. Not only am I compelled to take the side of the victims, but I consider also the feeling of the kids who went there [to Penn State], who have such a high regard for State College.”
At 7:40 a.m., a forklift had been moved into place to remove the statue.
Video of crews working to remove the statue:
Jackhammers worked to unearth the statue for about 30 minutes. It was a very somber scene both when the noise from the jackhammer drowned out conversation, and afterward, as a crowd of a few dozen stood to watch moving pads placed over the statue. A forklift raised its forks, and the crowd seemed to expect that the statue would have to be lifted up to move it from its place, but it wasn’t, and the lift simply pulled it away. One worker shouted, as it was being moved, “Watch its leg!” At approximately 8:20 am, the statue was completely removed from the ground. The Joe Paterno statue was then taken into Beaver Stadium. And just like that, it was gone.
(Photo via @djv5030)
The Paterno family also issued a statement later this morning, distressed at the statue’s removal.
A small photo album of this morning’s events can be found here.