- Associated Press - Friday, November 11, 2011

STATE COLLEGE, PA. (AP) - All the familiar sights and sounds of a football weekend at Penn State were on display: Crowded sidewalks and restaurants, fans dressed in the blue-and-white of their cherished Nittany Lions, scalpers pestering passers-by for extra tickets.

Something, however, was clearly missing.

Happy Valley is anything but these days.

“There’s no life here,” Homer Berlew said as he and his wife, Sandra, strolled the campus to take pictures Friday. “Nothing is being said. It’s like everyone’s in a daze.”

As the most tumultuous week in Penn State’s history came to a close, the university struggled with a child sex-abuse scandal that has rocked the school and cost football coach Joe Paterno and President Graham Spanier their jobs.

The board of trustees, in its first public meeting since firing Paterno and Spanier, began the process of repairing Penn State’s image by forming a committee to investigate the university’s failures to stop alleged sex abuse by former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

The school also put wide receivers coach Mike McQueary _ a key witness against Sandusky _ on paid leave. It already had said McQueary would not be at Saturday’s final home game against Nebraska because of “multiple threats,” and the Harrisburg Patriot-News reported he has told players by phone that he was in a secluded location outside State College.

New president Rod Erickson plans to appoint an ethics officer, and said the school will review all standards, policies and programs to ensure they meet “not only the law, but Penn State’s standard.”

“I know we can do this. We are resilient; we are a university that will rebuild the trust and confidence that so many people have had in us for so many years,” said Erickson, formerly the provost.

President Barack Obama called the situation “heartbreaking.” Obama spoke at a college basketball game held Friday night on the deck of an aircraft carrier.

“It’s a good time for us to do some soul searching _ every institution, not just Penn State _ about what our priorities are,” Obama told ESPN. “Our first priority is protecting our kids, and we all have a responsibility. We can’t leave it to a system, we can’t leave it to somebody else.”

Paterno’s son, Scott, meanwhile, released a statement saying his father had hired Wick Sollers, a high-profile criminal attorney.

While not the subject of any criminal investigation, the winningest coach in major college football wants “the truth to be uncovered and he will work with his lawyers to that end,” Scott Paterno said.

“My father is experiencing a range of powerful emotions. He is absolutely distraught over what happened to the children and their families. He also wants very much to speak publicly and answer questions,” Scott Paterno said. “At this stage, however, he has no choice but to be patient and defer to the legal process.”

Thousands of students held a candlelight vigil Friday night in front of the administration building to show support for the boys who were allegedly abused, and several groups are raising money for victims of sexual abuse, collecting more than $200,000 so far.

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