Penn State President Rodney Erickson announced early Sunday that the bronze statue of former football coach Joe Paterno would be removed from outside Beaver Stadium, and stored in a secure, unidentified location.
"With the release of Judge Freeh's Report of the Special Investigative Counsel, we as a community have had to confront a failure of leadership at many levels," Erickson said in a statement on the University's web site.
"The statue of Joe Paterno outside Beaver Stadium has become a lightning rod of controversy and national debate, including the role of big time sports in university life. The Freeh Report has given us a great deal to reflect upon and to consider, including Coach Paterno's legacy."
Police and construction workers barricaded both sides of the street and the sidewalks near the statue, the Chicago Tribune reported.
A chain-link fence was erected around the area and a tarp has been raised that concealed most of the statue. By 8:30 a.m., the statue had been carried inside Beaver Stadium.
The Paterno family has released a statement objecting to the statue's removal and condemning the Freeh Report.
The Freeh report condemned university leadership, including Paterno, for what it said was the "total disregard for the safety and welfare of children" who were sexually abused by Jerry Sandusky.
Erickson said that the statue, and the Paterno library are the most most visible memorials to the former coach.
"The library remains a tribute to Joe and Sue Paterno's commitment to Penn State's student body and academic success, and it highlights the positive impacts Coach Paterno had on the University," Erickson said. "Thus I feel strongly that the library's name should remain unchanged."
Erickson acknowledged that his decision may not be popular with everyone connected to Penn State.
"I believe we have chosen a course that both recognizes the many contributions that Joe Paterno made to the academic life of our University, while taking seriously the conclusions of the Freeh Report and the national issue of child sexual abuse. Today, as every day, our hearts go out to the victims," he said.
You can read Erickson's entire statement here.
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