Fans Flock to Joe-Pa Statue for Possible Last Pictures

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UNIVERSITY PARK -- The backlash and outrage continue to mount against Penn State University after a scathing report accused key university officials of covering up years of child abuse committed by former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

Sandusky was convicted of those crimes last month, and now many at Penn State want to distance themselves from the football program as well as former head coach Joe Paterno.

The president of Penn State University said Tuesday the university will decide within the next week or so whether the iconic bronze statue of Joe Paterno should be removed from Beaver Stadium.

With almost a pilgrimage-like quality, a steady stream of people came out to Beaver Stadium Wednesday evening, to pose with and snap pictures of the famous bronze statue of former Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno.

As university officials decide whether to remove the statue, many felt this could be the last time to see Joe-Pa`s statue.

“He`s a very good coach. You can`t take that away from him and it`s hard to say if he knew about. It probably should come down because he did know about it, but we don`t know,” said Kathy Masello who came in from Ohio.

This controversial decision will come after a scathing report accused key university officials, including Joe Paterno, of covering up years of child sex abuse committed by former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

Backlash against Paterno can even be seen from the sky as a plane circled Happy Valley with a banner reading: “Take the statue down or we will."

Campus security said it is watching the statue around the clock.

Now some have come to Paterno`s defense, leaving posters at the statue`s base.

Many at the statue were students and alumni who feel the statue should stay.

“When I was here it was a wonderful time, wonderful, wonderful time,” said Roseanne Lisowski, class of 1981. “He’s done so much good for the school that you got to look at the positive things also.”

“I think he should have done more but what he did. Idon`t think justifies taking it down and it`s basically saying you`re not a good person anymore,” said Erin Day, PSU senior.

Some students have already taken action to distance themselves from Paterno.

The tent city outside Beaver Stadium, known as Paternoville, where students camp out to get the best seats for games, was renamed Nittanyville.

A halo that once hung over the head of Paterno in a mural, was painted over.

Still many are torn on whether the statue should stay or go.

“If the students want it to stay, then the students should have a say about it and the students want it to stay, so,” said Lindsey Clark from York.

“I think they should definitely, probably, take it down after what happened here,” said Pat Gaffney of Scranton.

The NCAA is also weighing whether to impose penalties on Penn State`s football program including possibly shutting down the football program next season.