BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) It may have happened in Central Pennsylvania, but the Penn State sex scandal is being felt here in Western New York.
"Everything hits close to home. It's shocking, it's saddening. And so I was completely floored and shocked when all of this came out," Penn State Alum and current Buffalo Bills Bryan Scott said Wednesday.
"Everyone is really disheartened here. The sound I get from everyone including myself is sadness," current PSU Senior and Akron native Kyle Borchert told Eyewitness News over the phone late Wednesday.
"It's been a rough week. Nothing in comparison to the victims and their families but still, it's been tough for sure," WNY PSU Alumni Association member Nick Magnini said.
As legendary head football coach Joe Paterno was fired, and thousands of students took to the streets Wednesday night, Akron native and senior student Kyle Borchert watched from his apartment window.
"We call ourselves Happy Valley. But to be honest, it's not very happy here right now. Everyone's sad, everyone's mad, everyone's angry about this situation regardless of your opinion on it," he said.
Students threw rocks and bottles at police, knocked over light poles, and flipped a news van. Police used tear gas and pepper spray to clamp down the chaotic atmosphere.
"It really does reflect a poor image of the University as a whole, especially when news organizations like CNN and NBC are airing this," Borchert said as he surveyed what was going on.
Back at home, Penn State alumni watched in horror as students further hurt the reputation of their school, making a bad situation worse.
"It's kind of just putting more salt in the wound, because the image of the school that I love is tarnishing more. And I think obviously a lot of the students there are misguided," Magnini said.
"The face of our university, mainly Joe Paterno, has been taken down from his pedestal and brought so low that people think it's a dream and are just waiting to wake up," Borchert added.
But despite accusations, firings, and rot-like protests, many local students and alumni are still proud to be called Nittany Lions.
"I'm not proud of what happened. Everyone can agree on that. But there is so much more else that is Penn State that we are proud of," Magnini said.
"I'm still very proud of the University, the tradition. One man didn't build the University, so we can't let one man tear it down either," Bryan Scott said.
One of Penn State's most notable Western NEw York Alumni is Terry Pegula, owner of the Buffalo Sabres. Pegula released a statement Thursday, reading:
"The events that are unfolding at Penn State University are deeply troubling and a matter of great concern to me and my wife Kim. As many have expressed, our primary concern is for the individuals and families who may have been victimized."
"Penn State's reputation has been severely tarnished. We are encouraged to see the University trustees have begun the process of restoring integrity and trust in the institution. This process will take a period of time and trust will need to be re-earned as a result of these recent disclosures."
"Penn State is supported by millions of students, alumni, faculty, staff and administrators. Our own support for Penn State and its hockey program is well known and will continue. We expect the University will carry out its educational mission with high standards and integrity."