Onward Debates: Cancel Classes For Paterno Memorial

Every time I step on the campus of Penn State University, there is a sense of an unmistakable mystique that I can never exactly explain. That feeling comes back to me every time I return to State College from a break or a weekend at home. There is just something magical about this place. However, this week has felt different.

The passing of Joe Paterno has resulted in a different kind of feeling — a different  mystique — on campus. It’s a feeling of sadness. Seeping through the sadness has been an unbelievable sense of pride. We’ve all seen it at the Paterno statue, the beautiful candle-light vigil, and from the thousands upon thousands of people who stood in long lines for his viewing on Tuesday.

This is a truly historic time for our University. It is the end of the Joe Paterno era. It is the end of the era of the man who initiated the growth of Penn State from a small farming college to what we see before us today. We all know what Joe Paterno has done for our school, and I’m not talking about winning football games.

The public memorial for Joseph Vincent Paterno will be held on Thursday January 26, 2012 at 2 p.m. in the Bryce Jordan Center. The free tickets for the event were completely distributed on Ticketmaster in less than a minute. I was fortunate enough to acquire a pair. For those who didn’t get tickets, the event will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network and streamed on

I have two classes that day; one from 2:30-3:45 and another for 4:15-5:30. I won’t be attending either. Frankly, I should not have to make that decision. Afternoon classes on Thursday should be cancelled.

The students of this University have been through a lot over the past three months, culminating with the passing of JoePa. We deserve the chance to take part in the celebration of this man’s life. This  same man who put his entire heart and soul into this university deserves to be celebrated and recognized by all who wish to pay their respects.

Whether you will be at the BJC on Thursday or at home on your couch watching the Big Ten Network, you should not have to worry about missing an important lesson or signing an attendance sheet that will negatively impact your grade. I’ve heard of numerous professors cancelling their classes already. Others should follow their lead and cancel their classes so students do not miss out on the chance to honor Coach Paterno with the rest of the Penn State family.

Click here for Kevin Horne’s opposite Onward Debate’s post.

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About the Author

Sam Cooper

Sam is a senior originally from Newtown, PA who majors in print journalism and is a member of the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism. His athletic peak was age 11 so he decided to grow a beard and write about sports instead.

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