The Curious Case of Edward Manigo
1 year ago
From racial invective to rape charges, one man’s story of his time at Penn State University
It seems that reports of racism on the campus of Penn State University are so commonplace that it’s hard to talk about them without resorting to clichés: There truly is nothing new under the sun. They definitely don’t surprise Edward Manigo. At 53 years old, he’s the Forrest Gump of State College, Pennsylvania, popping up throughout Happy Valley’s history with matter-of-fact stories about how the town’s seemingly persistent racism has touched his life. Here, he relays his story.
Joining The Fleet at Penn State
It all started when he met Nittany Lions coach Joe Paterno in 1982. He was working in a nursing home near the university, and was taking care of JoPa’s mother. He confided in her that he wanted to work at the university, and the coach helped him get a job on campus just a few weeks later. “He was a good man,” Manigo says of Paterno. “It hurt me and my family when they fired Joe Paterno. That let me know they would do anything to hurt anyone,” Manigo says.
He was working with “The Fleet,” as the maintenance department was known to its workers. “I found it strange that out of the 2,000 people who worked there, there were only two African Americans. We were being harassed, and being called the n-word,” he says. Soon after he started, he repeatedly returned from his shift after a long day at work to find scratches on his car. After holding an impromptu stakeout in the other black worker’s car, he saw one of his white coworkers run his key across the car’s paint. When he confronted the man, he says he was called a nigger, and otherwise shrugged off. Manigo says he reported it to his supervisor and the Penn State police, but nothing happened. The next time he saw the coworker, the man spit in his face. They got into a fight, and he says that no one in the room — except the other black man — would tell the truth about what had transpired. It was just the beginning of his troubles in the tiny town, where the black population is just 3.8% of the total 42,000.
Reporting Jerry Sandusky
Manigo was transferred to the janitorial team, working nights cleaning the bathrooms in the gym. He believes this was the result of the altercation with his coworker. One night soon after he took over the new shift, he saw an unexpected vehicle outside the gym at 10:30 p.m. His supervisor dismissed his concerns when he called to report it. He entered the shower area and encountered the assistant football coach, Jerry Sandusky, who said he was there with his “son.” Per protocol, Manigo filed a report to alert the school that someone was in the building after-hours. When it happened again the following week in the football stadium shower, he says Sandusky claimed, “Me and my son were lifting weights, we’ll be about 15 to 20 minutes.”