Following news that head football coach Joe Paterno was fired in the wake of a sex-abuse scandal at the school, more than 1,000 Penn State University students took to the streets on Wednesday to protest the decision, flipping a media van in the process, leaving authorities no choice but to bring in heavy equipment to right the vehicle.
The Christian Science Monitor reported that state troopers, some of whom were dressed in riot gear, were brought in to try and clear the streets. Some of the officers used chemical spray to scatter the students who reportedly filled two city blocks near the campus.
Hell no, Joe won't go, the crowd chanted, adding We want Joe back.
Paterno, 84, was hoping to finish the season with the team. However, the university's board of trustees decided it was time to let him go. Paterno was immediately relieve of his coaching duties.
Right now, I'm not the football coach, and that's something I have to get used to, Paterno told students while speaking at his house, The Associated Press reported.
John P. Surma, vice chairman of the board of trustees, has said that Penn State President Graham Spanier, one of the longest-serving college presidents in the U.S. and one of the highest-paid also, was also removed in light of the scandal. Authorities have said that Spanier and Paterno didn't do all that they could after a former Penn State defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky, was accused of molesting a 10-year-old boy in a shower on campus.
Sandusky was charged on Saturday on suspicion of 40 counts of child sex abuse and has been accused of sexually molesting eight young boys over nearly 15 years. He has denied the charges. However, Paterno has told a grand jury that he was aware of an incident in which Sandusky was accused of molestation. This incident dates back to 2002 when Mike McQueary, a graduate assistant, walked in on Sandusky allegedly sexually assaulting the boy in the school's locker room shower.
The following day, McQueary reportedly told Paterno of what he saw and Paterno notified athletic director Tim Curley. Curley didn't report the information to authorities, according to reports.
It is in the best interests of the university that a change in leadership (must be made) to deal with the difficult issues that we are facing, Surma told the media during a press conference.
The state attorney general has said Paterno legally did nothing that's wrong. However, Paterno's actions are a question of moral judgment for some officials and fans who believe he was morally wrong for not being more aggressive with the allegations.
They asked for his resignation.
This is a tragedy, Paterno told the AP. It is one of the great sorrows of my life. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more.
Protesters on Wednesday also cursed Sandusky.
Two other university officials were reportedly charged with failing to report the 2002 incident.
Paterno was Penn State's head coach for 46 years.
I haven't seen this kind of student outrage about anything since I've been here, Caroline Celoquin, a senior from Westchester, Pennsylvania, told The Christian Science Monitor.
Some students said they thought it fair for Paterno to finish the season, because this is the house that Joe built.
Watch a video of students flipping the media van below and see photos of the protest in the picture box to the upper left.
You can also read the grand jury report on Sandusky here.