Thousands of Penn State students rioted on November 9 after hearing the news of football Coach Joe Paterno being fired by the school’s Board of Trustees, the Los Angeles Times is reporting. As the students assembled the mini-riot two blocks from campus, some threw rocks and bottles, while chanting “We want Joe! We want Joe!”
About 100 police, who were wearing helmets and carrying batons, arrived at the scene around midnight. The officers used pepper spray to break up the crowd, and announced via megaphones that the students would be breaking the law if they didn’t stop rioting.
The riot arose when Paterno was fired, in the wake of sexual abuse reports. The reports claim he didn’t tell police when a graduate student alerted him in 2002 that he had witnessed assistant coach Jerry Sandusky engaging in inappropriate behavior in a school shower with a 10-year-old boy.
Paterno was fired after he announced earlier in the day on November 9 that he would retire after the season. But the Board of Trustees was outraged and unsatisfied with his decision, and immediately fired him.
One Penn State student, 20-year-old junior Dustin Morgan, told Bloomberg that he thought the decision was “a little harsh.” He added “they’re just allegations…to just fire a man who’s been here for 46 years and pretty much made this campus what it is now, I think is a little harsh.”
Written by: Karen Benardello