Even in the best of situations, dropping off a child at college can be a stressful experience.
But some students at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, apparently decided to make "welcome week" a little worse for parents and arriving freshmen. Banners hanging from a private off-campus residence welcomed the delivery of a new class of young women with spray-painted slogans like "Rowdy and fun. Hope your baby girl is ready for a good time," "Freshman daughter drop off" and "Go ahead and drop off Mom too."
Jezebel reports the three signs appeared at a house where several members of the ODU chapter of Sigma Nu live, providing a photo from the chapter's official Twitter account as evidence.
The banners quickly earned the condemnation of university staff, including president John R. Broderick, who posted the a statement to Facebook promising the incident will be "reviewed immediately" and "any student found to have violated the code of conduct will be subject to disciplinary action."
The statement read:
I am outraged about the offensive message directed toward women that was visible for a time on 43rd Street. Our students, campus community and alumni have been offended.
While we constantly educate students, faculty and staff about sexual assault and sexual harassment, this incident confirms our collective efforts are still failing to register with some.
A young lady I talked to earlier today courageously described the true meaning of the hurt this caused. She thought seriously about going back home.
But she was heartened, she explained, when she saw how fellow students were reacting to this incident on social media. She realized this callous and senseless act did not reflect the Old Dominion she has come to love.
The Student Government Association has recently developed the "Monarchs Raising Up" campaign educating our students on prevention of sexual and relationship violence, bystander intervention, and off-campus responsible behavior. Through video, online and in-person content, we layer education on these topics for all of our students throughout the year. All new freshman just received education this weekend on preventing discrimination and sexual assault in sessions we call "First Class."
Here is a link to a video from our student leaders responding to this event--just one example of how Old Dominion University students take a stand every day in regards to respecting each other and promoting responsible behavior: https://youtu.be/NC72ruvRtdY
I said at my State of the University address that there is zero tolerance on this campus for sexual assault and sexual harassment. This incident will be reviewed immediately by those on campus empowered to do so. Any student found to have violated the code of conduct will be subject to disciplinary action.
John R. Broderick
Another Sigma Nu chapter at the University of Central Florida recently found itself in hot water after a student videotaped members of the frat, including a man accused of sexual assault, chanting "let's rape some bitches" at an off-campus party.
The signs that appeared at ODU aren't the only ones popping up on the nation's campuses. Total Frat Move posted a few other photographs apparently showing similar incidents at other colleges, describing them as "hilarious."
The signs are a tone-deaf message to send at a time when fraternities are coming under fire for numerous documented incidents of racist and misogynist behaviors.
The Guardian wrote last year that fraternities' contribution to rape culture is significant, noting "numerous studies have found that men who join fraternities are three times more likely to rape, that women in sororities are 74% more likely to experience rape than other college women and that 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted in four years away at school."