UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A crowd of Penn State alumni and fans stood on the steps and lawn of Old Main Saturday morning to send a message to the university's trustees that they should step down.
Franco Harris, who played football under Joe Paterno, and one of the university's own board members, Anthony Lubrano, were among the speakers at the rally, which lasted about an hour.
The blue-and-white clad audience was passionate at times, with fans cheering and yelling out calls for board members to step down and holding up signs.
Harris said Penn State has stood nearly 160 years, but the board's actions from one night will be remembered.
"It only took one night, just one night for the BOT to lay a path of destruction never before seen on any college campus. One night, Nov. 9, we will always remember that," he said, referring to the day the board fired Paterno as head coach and Graham Spanier as president.
The crowd appeared to number close to 1,000, growing after the hour-long rally started at 10 a.m. Many wore T-shirts supporting Paterno or criticizing the board, which fired Paterno for what it said was a lack of leadership in response to the allegations against Jerry Sandusky of child sexual abuse.
Joe Grassi, a Penn State fan who lives in Nazareth, said the university and Paterno deserve better. He said the board made the situation worse.
"This isn't just about Joe," he said. "It's about a great university they basically threw to the wolves."
The university has come under fire for its response to the Sandusky scandal, including accepting the report it commissioned Louis Freeh to do. That report faults Paterno, Spanier and two other former administrators, along with the board.
Trustees have since said that by accepting the report that doesn't mean they agree with everything in it.
Lubrano slammed the 32-member board saying he doesn't know who many of the people he serves with represent, "but I know they don't serve you well."
"Their idea of us healing is just to move forward. Well, we can not move forward by leaving behind the people who made us who we are," Lubrano said, to cheers.
Lubrano is among those calling for legislative reform of the board's make-up, which includes nine alumni-elected trustees along with appointees by the governor and representatives from agriculture and industry.
When speaking about governor-appointed trustees, Lubrano said he doesn't know who is advising Tom Corbett, but it looks like "his days are numbered."
He urged those in the audience to vote in statewide offices and trustees races, contact legislators and stay informed.
"You can make a difference. You can make that impact," he said.
Anne Danahy can be reached at 231-4648. Follow her on Twitter @AnneDanahy