The statue of Joe Paterno on Penn State's campus that has been at the heart of the most recent contentious debate in Happy Valley will be removed, Penn State president Rodney Erickson announced in a statement on Sunday morning.
I now believe that, contrary to its original intention, Coach Paterno’s statue has become a source of division and an obstacle to healing in our University and beyond. For that reason, I have decided that it is in the best interest of our university and public safety to remove the statue and store it in a secure location. I believe that, were it to remain, the statue will be a recurring wound to the multitude of individuals across the nation and beyond who have been the victims of child abuse.
Paterno's statue was unveiled in November 2001, and seen as a symbol of the Nittany Lions' legendary coach, whose commitment to doing things correctly and avoiding NCAA violations was a much-trumpeted aspect of the Penn State program.
But revelations about Jerry Sandusky's serial sexual abuse of children, and Paterno's role in the botching of an investigation into Sandusky, called Paterno's integrity into question — and made the statue a flashpoint for both critics and defenders of the coach, who passed away in January.