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Penn State’s Upcoming Tribute To Joe Paterno Reignites Debate Over Legacy

In this Jan. 22, 2012 file photo, a woman pays her respects at a statue of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno outside Beaver Stadium on the Penn State University campus after learning of his death in State College, Pa. Paterno was 85.
Gene J. Puskar

Since the Sandusky scandal, Penn State hasn’t publicly commemorated former head football coach, Joe Paterno. That will change this Saturday at the matchup against Temple - and it’s reignited a debate about how and if Paterno should be recognized.

“We thought it was too soon, it was insensitive and just not the right time.”

Lauren Davis is the opinions editor at the Penn State student newspaper, The Daily Collegian. She recently wrote an editorial arguing against the tribute.

Davis says she’s received backlash from alumni, who argue Paterno’s long-time career and accomplishments at the university should be honored.

She said, “A bunch of the public comments left on Facebook and the tweets that were sent out, things left on the Collegian website were severely negative. A lot of it was just bashing the Collegian, bashing me, bashing the generation of Penn State students that are here now.”

Penn State says the commemoration will focus on Paterno's commitment to student-athletes and academics, and highlights will be shown from Paterno's first game in 1966. 

Erin Cassidy Hendrick was an associate producer at WPSU. She produced the programs “BookMark” and “This I Believe” for the station.
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