TVs at PSU student center suddenly switched to public access

Inquirer Staff Writer

The handful of students and alumni that gathered in Penn State's student center this morning to watch the release of the Freeh report live were stunned when the channel suddenly switched.

While most of campus was still sleepy, the small group was viewing CNN on a large screen, or one of several smaller screens nearby, in anticipation of the 9 a.m. release of the report on the sex abuse scandal that has gripped the school.

Most were hoping that the report, part of a seven-month probe by former FBI Director Louis Freeh, would exonerate legendary football coach Joe Paterno.

But, just as an anchor was ready to speak about the report, the television screens suddenly went blank. They then turned to a public access channel featuring a reporter from The Morning Call newspaper in Allentown about the state budget.

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  • Everyone watching suddenly went scrambling to find a way to switch the channel back at the student center, known as the HUB-Robeson Center Facility, or simply, "the Hub."

    "Is this some kind of conspiracy?" asked Mary Krupa, an 18-year-old freshman from State College, Pa.

    John Kruse, 48, an alumnus, was also in the student center at the time.

    "I'm here today to find out who know what and when," Kruse said of the report.

    Kruse had been waiting in anticipation, and trying not to pre-judge what Freeh might find, when the channel changed.

    On the public access channel, The Morning Call reporter was discussing the state budget, and referred to an item he dubbed a, "$27 million turkey," as Kruse watched in disbelief.

    "I don't care about your $27 million turkey," Kruse shouted toward the TV set. "Come on and change the channel."

    Several students went to speak with a student working at the main desk at the student center. But the student said a university employee was in charge of what is broadcast. That person, the student said, was in a meeting and could not be reached.

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