Reuters

Why State College residents are responding with such outrage to Joe Pa's firing

Adam Geller of the Associated Press points out that the Penn State scandal cuts to the heart of the broader State College community. "Understanding the unique role that Penn State and its hometown assigned themselves in American collegiate life," he writes, "helps make sense of, if not the tragedy, then at least the tears and the outrage it has unleashed."  

Place forms a powerful piece of our personal identity. And when the soul of place is undermined, it can be devestating for those who live in a community.

As Geller smartly notes, Penn State created a unique indentity in football and beyond. It was centered around football for sure, but the team slogan of "winning with honor" permeated virtually every aspect of university and community life. That has now been shattered.  

Geller quotes a local resident, Kathleen Karpov, a native of State College who grew up the "Penn State way." She said she looked forward to her retirement in a place where formerly respected members of the community like Joe Patreno are your friends, neighbors and "family." 

"I think our entire town is bleeding blue and white," she told the AP, a phrase which once had a positive meaning. "Right now," she added, "it's the pain that we feel."

Photo credit: Reuters/Tim Shaffer

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Maps

    How Climate Change Will Affect Animal Migration, in One Map

    Global warming over the next century means that species will move to cooler climates, but manmade barriers often stand in the way.

  2. LA Weekly
    Life

    What Happened to 'LA Weekly'?

    Last week, the city’s award-winning alternative newspaper was purchased by a shadowy entity. Immediately, most of the staff was fired. Then things got weird.

  3. Equity

    Hard Lessons From Chicago’s Public Housing Reform

    Two decades ago, the city embarked on an ambitious—and controversial—plan to transform its troubled public housing system, uprooting thousands of low-income residents. Today, researcher Susan Popkin reflects on what worked—and what failed.

  4. A "For Rent" sign is posted outside a small apartment complex in Carlsbad, California
    Equity

    The Technology That Aims to Disrupt the Security Deposit

    Rentberry, an online rental marketplace, wants tenants to pay security fees in cryptocurrency and have micro-lenders cover most of the deposit. What could go wrong?

  5. Equity

    One Nation, Under the Weight of Crushing Debt

    An interactive map shows where the highest concentrations of households with unpaid bills are.