Penn State students have taken to the streets of State College, Penn. tonight, flipping news vans and getting maced by cops. More protests against Wall Street greed and income inequality? Nope! It's because Penn State fired its longtime football coach Joe Paterno for covering up child rape allegedly perpetrated by assistant coach Jerry Sandusky!

Less than an hour after the board of trustees' decision to fire Paterno made it seem as though sanity and accountability had returned to Penn State, the student body made it very clear that they had not. Within 20 minutes students were outside chanting things like "we want Joe" and "fuck the board"; by midnight eastern time, thousands of students were flooding the streets of State College, some of them acting rather violently—check out that overturned news van!—and all of them earning the enmity of everyone on the internet.

Penn State's president Graham Spanier, who along with other administrators was also culpable in the coverup, was fired, too, but he's not the subject of an intense hero-fetish cult, so no one chanted his name. Outside the Paternos' home, people began to gather. Joe Paterno's wife Sue thanked the assembled crowd for its "support," and Joe "[u]rged the students to 'go study' and pray for the victims." (At least this time he didn't call them "victims, or whatever they want to say.") Earlier in the evening, he told reporters "Right now, I'm not the football coach, and that's something I have to get used to." Yep.


Rumors were floating around about another, larger gathering on campus—a candlelight vigil for Sandusky's victims—but they don't seem to have panned out. Penn State's student paper the Daily Collegian is at the scene and is reporting from its Twitter accounts at @PSUFootblog and @DailyCollegian.

[images via @jon_wertheim, @DailyCollegian]