There really isn’t anything quite like the Penn State White Out game. The feeling when students, families and alumni gather at Bieber’s stadium to watch Nittany’s Lions under the lights is nothing short of magical.
For many Penn Staters, whiteouts are the highlight of college life. This means that if you are lucky, you can enter the stadium safely.
Entering the student section on Saturday was an absolute chaos. In a frenzy trying to get into the stands, students began to gather at the student section entrance portal. In my case I was heading towards section SC/SB. At one point security guards stopped people from entering, but there were already so many people in the small space that no one could turn around. The only way out was through, but security kept the students in place.
The crowd was pushing out from behind, so the students in front were being squeezed into the entrance. The students were unable to control the surging waves, but the guards began to use force in an attempt to control the crowd.
As more students piled up behind the already large group, every corner of the space began to fill up. became.
At this point, I started panicking. Luckily I was able to get out of the crowd and onto the side with the space, but I was still trapped by the student wall. For his next 20 minutes, I had no choice but to break through security and rush to the stands as I watched the crowds pour in.
Many students have similar stories of being trapped, suffering panic attacks, and falling to the ground at various entrances.
“It was terrifying,” said junior Mitchell Feil. “People were so pressed that it was hard to even breathe. After being in the crowd for about five minutes, I realized how dangerous the situation was. There was absolutely no way out or forward, I’m not normally a claustrophobic person but I almost panicked as I couldn’t move my arms or even breathe completely. was not just a normal crowd, people could easily die.”
Students weren’t the only fans caught up in the frenzy. One student recalled seeing small children mixed in.
“Me and my friends were sitting right above the tunnel,” said Senior Aiden Romano. “We were close to the end of the student section so I could see some people in the tunnel not being students trying to get to their seats. Dad handed the child over to a friend of mine in the student section He pushed people out of the way and climbed a wall about eight feet into the student section I got in, grabbed my child and ran away.”
Other students were physically assaulted by security guards.
“Some students were very rude and pushed on, but the most rude was the security guard,” said sophomore Hailey Stutzman. “A male security guard grabbed my arm and pushed me back, knocking the person behind me.
It’s hard to root for Penn State football when winning and record attendance seem to be the only factors in the success of whiteout games. Who cares if 109,817 people packed into the stadium and some of them were pushed to the ground by security guards before they could take their seats?
After hosting 13 white-out games across the stadium, you’d think security would be in place to manage large crowds in a safe and orderly manner. This is not a new problem, but the way you enter Beaver Stadium has caused problems in the past.
2016 Former Onward County Employee Caitlin Gary I wrote a letter to the athletic director at the time, Sandy Barber, It prompted her to take action after a similar event occurred at Gate A during a game against Iowa.
“The system is outdated and completely insecure,” writes Gary. “I’m worried that it’s just a matter of time before the students get seriously injured.”
After considerable response from students and alumni, Pennsylvania State University Announces Plans to alleviate entry problems ahead of the season opener next year. The new procedure seemed to work for some timebut obviously the procedure has to be redone.
later Astroworld Tragedy November 2021, stadiums and venues need to consider crowd surges and human crushing events more heavily. During his four years at Penn State, he rarely felt threatened, but Saturday’s incident was a truly life-threatening scenario.
At the Ohio State game next weekend, I will urge Penn State to change their current security system. Students should not hesitate to cheer on the Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium. Penn State football games can only be enjoyed if you are alive and healthy.
A spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Athletics has not yet responded to a request for comment.