As (it seems) everyone knows, Coach Joe Paterno and President Graham Spanier were dismissed immediately from Penn State after the Board of Regents met on Wednesday night. After the Grand Jury report over the weekend charging former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky with sexual abuse and rape of boys, Penn State and University Park have been the center of a media frenzy, and the student body, faculty, staff, and community members have been stunned. The atmosphere here has been the strangest I’ve ever witnessed, with emotions of various sorts flying high. Unfortunately, Paterno’s status with the university has been at the center of media attention and student attention. I say “unfortunately” because it’s entirely distracted many from the actual case and, in many ways, from Paterno’s ethical obligations in the situation. There’s so much going on here that I feel I could write a book. I’d really like to write more, but I have other projects (dissertation) to attend to.
But on Wednesday I did take time from work to pay attention to student and media behavior on Wednesday night. It was clear to everyone here that if Paterno was dismissed immediately that there would be a student reaction, and it turned into a large gathering of students downtown, some of whom were engaged in property damage. To call it a “riot” seems to misconstrue the crowd, though from my understanding, two media vans were toppled, a car’s windows were smashed through, and some light poles were pulled down.
I don’t have cable, so after following some of the Board of Trustees’ press conference online (it was streamed on a Philly ABC station, but the stream ended before it was over) and following Twitter online, I went downtown to Chumley’s (a small gay bar) to follow the pressed and to follow the events on Twitter on my iPhone.
I thought I’d create an archive of my tweets (and a few others’s tweets) and my retweets using Storify, so I’m posting it below. Hopefully, at some future point, I’ll have time to reflect more on this—particularly the rhetorical aspects—in writing. (By the way, the Chronicle has a storify following the scandal that’s pretty interesting).