LSU fraternity apologizes for offensive banner

Published: Sep. 16, 2013 at 12:43 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 16, 2013 at 9:54 PM CDT
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Source: Busted Coverage
Source: Busted Coverage

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - LSU may have clobbered Kent State on the football field Saturday, but it's what happened off the field that some say made LSU look like the losing school.

The Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity hung a banner from their house on Dalrymple Drive that read, "Getting massacred is nothing new to Kent State." The statement is a reference to the infamous 1970 shootings on the Kent State campus.

The Ohio National Guard opened fire on a group of unarmed students protesting the Vietnam War. Four were killed and nine others wounded.

The picture quickly spread on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, prompting a response from Kent State spokesman Eric Mansfield:

May 4, 1970 was a watershed moment for the country and especially the Kent State family. We lost four students that day while nine others were wounded and countless others were changed forever.

We take offense to the actions of a few people last night who created an inappropriate sign and distracted from the athletic contest on the field.

Our new May 4 Visitor Center, which opened less than a year ago, is another way in which Kent State is inviting the country to gain perspective on what happened 43 years ago and apply its meaning to the future.

We would invite those who created the sign to visit our campus to visit the May 4 Visitor Center and learn more about the event which forever changed Kent State and America.

LSU spokesman Ernie Ballard said the LSU Police Department was notified of the banner Saturday and asked the fraternity to remove it. It was taken down without incident, Ballard said.  Ballard says new LSU System President and Chancellor F. King Alexander also saw the banner and has said the fraternity could face disciplinary action from the university.

A new banner was hanging in its place Sunday. That one reads, "We would like to apologize to Kent State for our inappropriate sign."

The Zeta Zeta DKE chapter also issued a written apology to Kent State:

To The Kent State Community, We, the men of Zeta Zeta, formally apologize to your entire community for the banner that was hung from our house this past weekend. The sign was inappropriate and should never have been hung in the first place. We hope that the Kent State community can forgive our action and accept our sincere apologies. We apologize not only to the community of Kent State, but also to those who were personally affected by this tragedy in American history. Hanging the banner was a poor attempt at humor. We, as young college students, did not grasp the full scope of the tragedy and its long lasting effects. This is not how we would like to represent our fraternity as well as our school, and we certainly hope we did not put a negative spin on your school's visit to Louisiana State University.

On behalf of our chapter, Zeta Zeta, we apologize. We hope to host Kent State on our campus again in the near future and to help make your next visit a positive one.

Sincerest apologies,
The Men of Zeta Zeta - LSU

Ballard said LSU has not taken any action against the Zeta Zeta chapter, but added the university does not condone such behavior.

"Our Dean of Students Office and Student Life are aware and are looking into the matter," he said.

Ballard says this is the first time the fraternity has received this kind of attention, due to their banners.

The previous weekend when LSU played the University of Alabama - Birmingham, the fraternity hung a banner making light of the chemical gas attack in Syria. That banner read, "LSU vs. UAB It's gonna be a gas. Syriasly."

Last year a sign that read: "Like the Batman premiere, we're starting off with a bang!" The sign, referring to the shooting at a Colorado movie theater where 12 people were killed.

In 2011, following the trial of a Florida woman acquitted of murdering her child, there was a sign hung from the fraternity house that read: "The only winner from Florida is Casey Anthony."

Monday, the university issued this statement:

"LSU certainly does not condone this insensitive behavior and poor judgment by the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity.  LSU officials have spoken with the fraternity and believe that the students now understand the gravity of their actions.  The students have issued a formal apology to Kent State University.  LSU is also working with local and national DKE leaders in an effort to prevent this type of behavior in the future."

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