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PA lawmaker introduces amendment that would tie Penn State's funding to disclosure of Joe Paterno's statue location, condition

Rep. Aaron Bernstine, a Butler/Lawrence County Republican, introduced the amendment to Senate Bill 1283, which provides funding for State-related universities.

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — A Pennsylvania lawmaker has introduced an amendment that would require Penn State University to provide information on the whereabouts and the condition of Joe Paterno's statue in order to receive state funding.

Rep. Aaron Bernstine, a Butler/Lawrence County Republican, introduced the amendment to Senate Bill 1283, which provides funding for State-related universities for the fiscal year beginning July 1, his office announced.

The former Penn State coach's bronze statue was erected outside Beaver Stadium on Nov. 1, 2001, in honor of his NCAA Division I record-setting 324th victory. 

It was removed on July 22, 2012, six months after Paterno's death, in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal. University officials said at the time that the statue had become a “source of division and obstacle to healing” after the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal. 

Following its removal, the statue was stored in an unnamed, secure location, Bernstine said.

“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."

Bernstine's 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.

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