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Conflict across Penn State’s campus
Bucolic setting belies turmoil in football-crazed community
Then Bradley insisted receivers coach Mike McQueary, who reported the alleged rape of a 10-year-old boy by Sandusky in a university locker room to Paterno in 2002, would coach Saturday. Hours later, the university announced McQueary wouldn’t coach because of multiple, unspecified threats. McQueary was put on paid, indefinite administrative leave Friday, with interim university president Rodney Erickson calling the situation “complicated.”
The same day, Penn State senior Kristie Winiarski set up a table outside The Corner on College Avenue filled with all things blue: fudge, ribbons, cupcakes, cake balls. Wednesday’s riot surged a few blocks from where she sold treats for $1 each to support victims of child sexual abuse.
“I was disappointed the world could see the riot and associate it with all Penn State students,” she said. “Not all students feel that way.”
But by the satellite trucks and bright lights of television cameras across the street, passers-by regularly shouted at reporters to “go home” and less family-friendly phrases, at odds with signs in town businesses welcoming Nebraska fans or the “thank you” that follows each cheer of “We are Penn State.”
“This is my home,” one television reporter shot back at a student.
At Friday night’s candlelight gathering, one speaker complained to the thousands in attendance of the “negative publicity” heaped on the university. Arm in arm, they sang Coldplay a capella and thrust candles skyward, chanted “We are Penn State” and sang the alma mater.
“May no act of ours,” one line goes, “bring shame.”
And so at Saturday’s game, as Matko was cursed and volunteers distributed literature about child sexual abuse, Penn Staters gathered around Paterno’s statue that transformed into a shrine. They wanted to forget this week. They wanted to move on. Many refused to give their names, preferring to pull the cloak of anonymity back over this town.
But J.J. Kowal, a 2003 Penn State graduate from Frederick, Md., tried to find a place to throw away the sign supporting the alleged abuse victims security wouldn’t let him bring into the stadium.
“The grand jury report is terrible,” the father of two small children said, then glanced at his sign urging the game’s proceeds be donated to abused children. “Oh, well. It’s going in the trash now.”
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