National Columnist

Mob of students, fans create disturbance at Penn State campus


STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Thousands of students and fans marched toward Old Main, the administrative offices on the campus of Penn State University, in support of Joe Paterno in a late Tuesday night disturbance that had police rushing to the scene.

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This came as a panel of the Board of Trustees held a conference call planning for a possible emergency meeting as early as Wednesday.

Late Tuesday night, the board released a statement saying it plans to appoint a committee to investigate the "circumstances that gave rise to the grand jury report."

"The Board of Trustees of the Pennsylvania State University is outraged by the horrifying details contained in the grand jury report," the release said. "We hear those of you who feel betrayed and we want to assure all of you that the Board will take swift, decisive action."

The public gathering started with about 50 people around Beaver Canyon in downtown State College, but quickly multiplied after police chased that small crowd away.

Like a snowball going downhill, the crowd grew as it moved block by block toward campus.

Outside Old Main, which houses the office of embattled university president Graham Spanier, the crowd sang Joe Paterno's first name to the tune of the main guitar riff from the song Seven-Nation Army by White Stripes.

At one point, a group stopped and held a moment of silence for the alleged victims in the child sex abuse case that within days has swept Penn State and its football team up in controversy.

"It's not about us," Penn State senior Sade Olasimbo said. "We're surrounded by this whole scandal, we're surrounded by all of this, but it's like there are people who are affected by it and it’s always unfortunate, but we have to -- we have to also remember them."

The Board of Trustees said results of its investigation will eventually be presented at a public meeting.

CBS affiliate KDKA in Pittsburgh contributed to this report.

Gregg Doyel is a columnist for He covered the ACC for the Charlotte Observer, the Marlins for the Miami Herald, and Brooksville (Fla.) Hernando for the Tampa Tribune. He was 4-0 (3 KO's!) as an amateur boxer, and volunteers for the ALS Association. Follow Gregg Doyel on Twitter.

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