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Penn State students camp out to protect Joe Paterno statue outside Beaver Stadium

Two students set up tent with sign reading ‘Protect the Paterno statue’

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Kim Ranck touches the arm on Joe Paterno’s statue as she walks past Wednesday.

Kim Ranck touches the arm on Joe Paterno’s statue as she walks past Wednesday.

Famous sports names have called for the statue to be removed. A plane flying over Happy Valley Tuesday dragged a banner with an even more ominous threat – “Take the statue down or we will.”

But the bespectacled likeness of the late Nittany Lions football coach Joe Paterno has some supporters who are going the extra mile to protect the statue outside Beaver Stadium.

Several PSU students have erected a tent and fashioned signs in support of having Paterno’s statue remain, despite the recent independent report released by former FBI director Louis Freeh that named Paterno as one of four former university administrators who were part of a cover-up of Jerry Sandusky’s years-long molestation of young boys.

Twitter photos posted by PSU’s Daily Collegian show a gray tent with lime green trim set up a few yards from the Paterno statue, and two students sitting nearby with a poster that says, “Protect the Paterno statue.”

Penn State spokesman David La Torre said Tuesday that a decision on the fate of the statue could be made in the next week.

Paternoville, the area around Beaver Stadium where students camp out to get tickets for football games, has been renamed Nittanyville. Many Penn State students and alumni have voiced support for Paterno ever since he was fired Nov. 9 along with then president Graham Spanier. Paterno died of lung cancer in January. Sandusky was convicted on 45 counts of sex abuse of minors last month.

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