STATE COLLEGE, PA - NOVEMBER 10: Students camp out in "Paternoville", an encampment outside Beaver Stadium, the night after a night of rioting in response to the firing of head football coach Joe Paterno in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal on November 10, 2011 in State College, Pennsylvania. The students are camped in "Paternoville" in order to obtain front row seats to Saturday’s football game against Nebraska. Paterno was fired amid allegations that former former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was involved with child sex abuse. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Since 2005, students have set up their tents outside Gate A at Beaver Stadium to get front row seats for Saturday afternoon kickoffs at Penn State. The obvious name that was given to the campsite was Paternoville. Now, due to the events of the past eight months and the release of the Freeh Report last week, the students who head the student group have voted to change the name of the site from Paternoville to Nittanyville, as explained in a press release sent out tonight:
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA (July 16, 2012) - The officially-recognized student group that manages the encampment of Penn State students outside Beaver Stadium for home football games has changed its name to "Nittanyville."
As such, the group -- one of more than 900 student organizations under the Office of Student Affairs -- will be known as the "Nittanyville Coordination Committee."
"This is a decision undertaken by and made solely by the Penn State student officers," said president Troy Weller, a Penn State senior. "Our four major officers, plus our six organizational officers, met via conference call and after careful deliberation decided, by a vote, that moving forward the group will be named Nittanyville."
"We have informed Penn State administrators in both Student Affairs and Athletics of our decision. They said we will continue to have their support, which has been the case since we became an official organization in 2006."
According to the group's bylaws, the group's core mission is to "represent the body of students that camps out for football tickets at Gate A of Beaver Stadium. The organization works with University officials to keep the encampment a fun and safe place to be, doing so by helping the University formulate and uphold encampment regulations."
Since Penn State joined the Big Ten in 1993, Penn State students have camped out at Beaver Stadium in order to guarantee themselves a rail-side seat - though students hardly ever sit - for a home football game. In 2005, a student termed the encampment "Paternoville," and the name stuck through the 2011 season.
"Now, it's a new era of Nittany Lion football," Weller said. "And by changing the name to Nittanyville we want to return the focus to the overall team and the thousands of students who support it. We thank the Paterno family for their gracious assistance and support over the last several years."
Throughout the 2012 football season, to raise awareness of child sexual abuse, students at the encampment will donate a portion of the proceeds from their fundraising efforts to the newly established Center for the Protection of Children, based at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital.
"It is important that we continue to do all we can to raise sexual abuse awareness," said vice president Jeff Lowe, "not just because of our connections to this scandal as Penn Staters, but because of its importance in our efforts as people to help make the world we live in a better place."
In the end, it doesn't really matter what a campsite is called or if a statue should be allowed to stand; we've seen over the past eight months that far bigger problems face Penn State University. With that being said, if anything related to Joe Paterno should be allowed to keep its name or place (excluding the library for which he built with his own donations), Paternoville should have been it. The campsite was named after Coach Paterno solely based on his on-field successes, which no scandal, no matter how bad things turn out to be, can take away--as Bomani Jones pointed out this morning.
As always, we know that all of you will have many differing opinions on the topic and as always, we just ask you to keep it civil. Have a good night, everyone.
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