Penn State Football: After Freeh Report, Paternoville to Change Name
Following the release of the Freeh Report, an independent investigation into the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal, Paternoville officers announced Monday evening that the nationally known camp site would change its name to Nittanyville.
"We always have discussed the idea of changing the name once Joe was no longer the head coach," Paternoville Vice President Jeff Lowe said.
"The discussions slowed down a bit in January as we waited for more information. With the Freeh Report being released, we began the process of careful discussion and planning so we could make the right decision if faced with the situation where we would have to change the name.
"The idea of being in the middle of a political war over the name, due to our association with Joe Paterno, has to lead to threats, hate mail and efforts from people outside of Penn State to try and ruin our ability to run an effective organization," Lowe said.
"Past presidents were made aware of our plan and did give us their full support. Obviously they had thoughts and opinions on the matter, but most of all they were very adamant on letting us know they supported whatever decision we made."
It's the first significant step in sanitizing Joe Paterno from university imagery since Freeh, a former FBI director, implicated Paterno in covering up allegations of Sandusky's abuse of minors. Calls to tear down the bronze statue of the late football coach have intensified as well, but the Board of Trustees have yet to make a decision on the future of the statue.
Could seeing a student-led effort such as Paternoville distance itself from the former coach impact its decision on the statue and other university-wide imagery?
Paternoville, a weekly tent city formed outside of Beaver Stadium began in 2005 for the highly anticipated Ohio State game. Since its inception, thousands of students have gone to class and returned for the night, sleeping outside of Beaver Stadium's Gate A with the hopes of landing the best seats.
"The discussion to change the name was initiated by us," Paternoville President Troy Weller said. "When we were coming closer to a decision, we notified the university of our proposed plans and they gave us their support.
“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 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.”
Nittanyville asks that all contacts go through @NittanyvillePSU and nittanyville(@)gmail.com