Chanting "We want Joe" and damaging lampposts and parked vehicles, Penn State students flooded into downtown State College late Wednesday to protest the university board of trustees' decision to fire football coach Joe Paterno.Well, that's America, the 2011 edition: we don't sweat the small stuff -- the wars abroad, the police-state stuff at home, the absolute corporate ownership of government. Maybe if there was an active draft, middle-class people's priorities would be different. But instead, we save our outrage for the truly vital things, like a college football coach getting fired.
At least two young women were hospitalized, one who got gasoline in her eyes after a TV van was pushed over, and another who was hit by an object thrown from a balcony.
Police would not confirm making arrests, but at least one person was seen being taken into custody.
Students crowded by the hundreds into the area of the borough known as Beaver Canyon, where students in 2008 rioted after a victory over Ohio State. In addition to their cheers for Paterno, they shouted "We are Penn State" and "One more game."
"The board of trustees has no loyalty," read sign held by one student. "We will not be quiet." Police were out in riot gear.
A lamppost was ripped down about 11:30 p.m. Police later reported two others were pushed down. Officers attempted to guide students back onto the sidewalks, but then a TV van from Altoona station WTAJ was tipped over. A car also was overturned. Students rushed the CNN van, but police turned them away.
For me, it's another Murray Sperber moment. I'd love to see big-time intercollegiate athletics disappear. I'd love to see the end of the "athletic scholarship." I'd like to see the pursuit of research grants end. In short, I'd love to see the American university dedicate itself to undergraduate education, first and foremost. I'm sure it's not going to happen. I certainly wish it would, though.