One day after the release of the Freeh report, Penn State’s Board of Trustees held a Friday meeting.
Afterward, board chair Karen Peetz addressed the topic of what to do about the multiple ways the school has memorialized former coach Joe Paterno.
“We feel honoring coach Paterno is a sensitive issue,” Peetz said. “It’s going to take a lot of dialogue with the community. We want to be reflective and take our time. There’s not a timeline or deadline. That’s not necessary. It’s going to take a lot of discussion.”
Paterno’s statue stands outside the football stadium, and his name is attached to a school library.
The distancing of others from Paterno’s name has already begun. Nike removed Paterno’s name from the child development center on its Beaverton campus hours after the Freeh report release, but that can be classified as a business decision.
How Penn State chooses to manage its ties to a face of an institution will admittedly be more difficult. The school is already planning a complete remodeling of the showers and locker room in the Lasch building, where Jerry Sandusky sexually abused some of his victims, but that’s been in the works since November and still hasn’t officially begun.
Tearing down a statue or removing a name from a library may seem like simple decisions for most people — and Penn State may ultimately cleanse itself of Paterno and his likeness in due time — but to erase decades of success and positive impact just like that?
Moving on is hard to do.
(Hat tip: USA Today)