Penn State students have rallied to protect a statue of disgraced former coach Joe Paterno. A vigil to protect the bronze statue outside Beaver Stadium began after a plane flew over campus earlier this week with a banner reading: "Take the statue down or we will," reports the Daily Collegian. The statue's future has been in doubt since last week's release of a damning report that concluded that Paterno and other officials, in an effort to protect Penn State's reputation, failed to act to prevent children from being sexually abused by assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.
"We're there to have some numbers around the statue in case anyone wants to come by and vandalize it," a vigil organizer told AP, adding that he and fellow students have a "lot of respect" for Paterno, and support his family's independent investigation. Flowers and notes of support have been placed at the statue's feet. University officials will make a decision on its future in the next seven to 10 days, said a spokesman. Its sculptor says he can see both sides of the debate, and he will support whatever "just decision" is made. "Not only am I compelled to take the side of the victims, but I consider also the feeling of the kids who went there, who have such a high regard for the college," he tells the Philadelphia Inquirer.