UNIVERSITY PARK — While the statue of legendary coach Joe Paterno remains tucked away in some still-unknown corner of the university, Penn State trustee Joel Myers said now is the time to install another one.
Myers, in a unity-themed speech to his fellow trustees on Friday, called for the likeness of Paterno and another icon, alma mater author Fred Pattee, to be placed in front of the campus libraries that bear their names.
Now is the time for Penn State to come together as one community, Myers said during his speech. Now is the time to acknowledge that as long as we fight among ourselves, the world will pay more attention to our conflicts than they will to our accomplishments.
Now is the time to put the we back into we are.
Myers said later Friday that was a continuation of the feelings hes had for quite some time that the university community has to come together to move forward past the divide that erupted after the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
For the benefit of the whole community, its time to just reduce the level of disagreement and nastiness, he said, and lets all focus on the great things that are happening.
Some institutions would have been destroyed by what was happened.
Myers said the Paterno statue idea came to him last week. He envisions Paterno and Pattee whose eras are decades apart either shaking hands or standing arm in arm.
They were from different eras, but they were supportive of the library, he said.
Myers said the speech was not anything intended to garner support for a re-election bid. Myers said Thursday he had not yet decided whether hell seek re-election for the alumni trustee seat he holds.
The alumni group Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship has been gunning for Myers, because he was on the board that voted to fire Paterno in November 2011 after the Sandusky scandal exploded. The group also wants to oust incumbents Jesse Arnelle and Marianne Alexander, both of whom said Thursday they were undecided on running again.
The reaction to the Myers idea on Twitter was varied.
Scott Paterno, a son of the legendary coach, said any Paterno-Pattee statue must include his mom, Sue, in addition to his dad. Both Paternos have supported the campus library.
Others didnt buy into it and called him to step down, such as the person at the controls of the PSUTruthville Twitter account.
Franklin visits trustees
By coincidence, perhaps, Fridays board meeting was book-ended with Penn State football coach talk. Myers comments about Paterno came toward the end of the meeting, and the new Nittany Lions coach James Franklin made a brief visit when things got started Friday afternoon.
Its hard to say yet if Franklin dominated the boardroom, as he intends to do with recruiting in Pennsylvania, but he said a few words before having to leave town for a banquet.
I cant tell you how excited myself and my family are about being a part of this community, Franklin told the board. There is nobody that is going to work harder to make you guys all proud.
Franklin listened as President Rodney Erickson ran off a list of achievements, such as the womens volleyball team national title and the wrestling teams sold-out match at Bryce Jordan Center.
As Franklin left, he made a few brief comments to reporters outside the boardroom, explaining how hed hit the recruiting trail and was just in Pittsburgh on Friday morning.
He also broke the hearts of lots of kids around here.
He said hed gotten too much interest 4,500 offers, he said to blow up balloons at birthday parties, a comment he made during his introduction at a news conference last week.
He said that while he cant be at every birthday party, he hopes people understand that he means he wants to be very visible in the State College and Penn State communities.