Jun. 21, 2022

HARRISBURG – Rep. Aaron Bernstine (R-Butler/Beaver/Lawrence) has introduced an amendment to Senate Bill 1283 that would require Penn State University to provide information about the Joe Paterno statue. 

A statue was erected at the university located in State College honoring Paterno who was Penn State’s head football coach for more than four decades. On July 22, 2012, six months after Paterno’s death, the university announced the statue was removed from its pedestal outside Beaver Stadium and stored in an unnamed secure location. University officials cited that it had become a “source of division and obstacle to healing” after the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal.

“The statue symbolized Coach Paterno’s many outstanding contributions to Penn State on and off the gridiron,” said Bernstine. “His legacy should remain alive for people to view and reflect. Removing the statue does not serve the victims of Sandusky’s horrible crimes. The university is sending a mixed message by treating Paterno as a hero at the campus library where a plaque is displayed due to the millions of dollars he donated, but a villain at the stadium where he coached the Nittany Lions to two national collegiate championships and five undefeated seasons.

The amendment would require Penn State to submit a report to the House and Senate Education committees about the location of the statue, and the method of storage and protection of the statue. This report would be required in order for the university to receive its annual appropriation from the state. In addition, this information would be required to be posted on the university’s website, notwithstanding any current law.

Recently, Bernstine crafted a letter to Penn State President Neeli Bendapudi asking for the university to disclose the location and condition of the Joe Paterno statue. The letter is available at the above link.

Senate Bill 1283 would provide funding for state-related universities (Penn State, Pitt, Temple and Lincoln) for the 2022-23 fiscal year.

Representative Aaron Bernstine
10th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives