Hundreds of students gathered in front of Joe Paterno's house Tuesday evening, cheering and chanting Paterno's name and eventually drawing the Nittany Lions head coach out of his house to offer his thanks for the support.
Paterno eventually went back inside, but instead of dispersing, the throng of student supporters continued to grow, eventually migrating down Beaver Avenue to the steps of Old Main, the school's administrative building, according to Penn State's student newspaper, The Daily Collegian.
Thousands of students congregated in the campus streets, as you can see in the picture below posted on Twitter by @TheSchoolPhilly:
Numerous people tweeting from the scene were calling the crowds a "riot," but others, such as Dan Vecellio (@DanVecellio), were quick to point out there was no actual violence, just large groups of people migrating between Old Main and Beaver Stadium, overtaking the streets with loud pro-Paterno and anti-Graham Spanier (PSU's embattled president) chants. Because of the size of the crowd, police officers in riot gear wielding clubs and tear gas did emerge, but the peace was never broken, even if the students were slow to disperse. Again, from @TheSchoolPhilly:
While so many students have been vocal in their support for Paterno, the whole reason for why his job may be in jeopardy -- could he have done more to protect minors from a suspected sexual predator? -- seemed to have been lost on the crowd:
Paterno is guilty of this, as well. Even as he urged the students to pray for the alleged victims and the families of victims, he did so in a tone deaf manner, prefacing his first request with "Beat Nebraska!" and following his second by leading "We are Penn State!" cheers. It's either empathy as an afterthought or ill-timed enthusiasm to fill an awkward silence. Either way, it's a combination shared by those students gleefully marching in his support, and one that's difficult for those outside of State College, Pa. to understand.