Gene J. Puskar, Associated Press
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — There's the football building where boys were abused. The bronzed statue of Joe Paterno and the library that's named after him. The downtown mural depicting the Hall of Fame coach and the ousted ex-president.
Reminders of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal — and the senior school officials accused of covering it up — are all over Penn State's campus and State College. School officials say they are still weighing how to deal with the ubiquitous imagery associated with the scandal.
"Does the university want to completely wipe the slate clean? If they do, then they probably want to get rid of something like this — they can still honor Joe in different way," said Erik Sandell, 31, of Minneapolis, while visiting the Paterno statue with a friend Friday. "Get rid of this, get rid of that facility."
The statue outside Beaver Stadium served as a focal point for mourners of the late coach but it has turned into a target for critics angered by former FBI director Louis Freeh's findings that Paterno and other university administrators concealed allegations against Sandusky in 1998 and 2001 to avoid bad publicity.
Some newspaper columnists and former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden have said the statue should be taken down.
"You go to a Penn State football game and there's 100,000 people down there and they got that statute and you know doggone well they'll start talking about Sandusky," Bowden told The Associated Press. "If it was me, I wouldn't want to have it brought up every time I walked out on the field."
Penn State spokesman Dave LaTorre said Friday that no decisions had been made "with regard to anything related to Joe Paterno."
Trustees chairwoman Karen Peetz has said the topic of honoring Paterno — a rallying cry for alumni and former players angered by how he was fired days after Sandusky was arrested in November — remained a sensitive issue that would continue be discussed.
Anthony Lubrano was a vocal critic of the Penn State board's actions in November before winning election as a trustee this spring. Asked Friday if the statue should be taken down, Lubrano said, "I think this board recognizes the contributions of Joe Paterno at Penn State and I think that given that they understand all that he's done, he will certainly be respected by Penn State."
The most glaring on-campus reminder might be the Mildred and Louis Lasch Football Building, which was the scene of a 2001 allegation in which a graduate assistant coach said he saw Sandusky, the former defensive coordinator, abuse a boy in the shower. Authorities said other attacks occurred in it as well.
Lubrano said he had no thoughts on if anything should be done with the building or its locker room.
The Lasch family has no qualms about leaving their name on it, a family member said Friday.
"You don't build a building and put your name on it expecting that something like this is going to happen, but we have seen a lot of good things happen in that building ... and we expect to see a lot of good, honorable things happen in that building in the future," said Ken Smukler, a grandson of the Laschs, who helped start Penn State football's booster club in 1959 and donated $1.7 million to build what is billed as one of the finest collegiate football operations facilities in the nation.
A huge downtown mural shows many figures in Penn State history. The artist, Michael Pilato, said he had no immediate plans to remove Paterno or former university president Graham Spanier, who was criticized by Freeh. He already painted over Sandusky, replacing him with a Penn State grad who is an advocate for abuse victims and issues.
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