These sexist welcome banners got one frat suspended
With fall just around the corner, school is officially back in session and millions of students are heading to college campuses for another year of learning, and let’s admit it, partying. That’s half the fun of college, after all. But, unfortunately, the Sigma Nu fraternity at Virginia’s Old Dominion University was quick to remind us of the dark side of college party culture, hanging shoddy, sexist banners from railings on the frat’s private off-campus house. The signs read: “Rowdy and Fun Hope Your Baby Girl Is Ready For A Good Time,” “Freshman Daughter Drop Off,” and “Go Ahead And Drop Mom Off Too.”
While some are saying the banners were a harmless prank, most, including the university’s administration, see the banners as yet another example of the disturbing rape culture that afflicts college campuses and so often results in the sexual assault of young women just as they’re getting their first taste of true independence. “While we constantly educate students, faculty and staff about sexual assault and sexual harassment,” said ODU president John Broderick in a statement, “this incident confirms our collective efforts are still failing to register with some.”
President Broderick was joined in his condemnation of the fraternity by Sigma Nu’s national president, Brad Beacham, who in his own statement characterized the banners as “derogatory and demeaning.” As a result, ODU’s Sigma Nu chapter has been suspended pending a university investigation. Still, to be honest, it doesn’t serve to single out this one frat as if this were an isolated incident. It’s not. Earlier this month, members of another Sigma Nu chapter at the University of Central Florida were caught on tape shouting “Let’s rape some bitches,” while it was reported Monday that an off-campus house of senior men at Ohio State University hung banners of their own, reading “Dads We’ll Take It From Here” and “Daughter Daycare 2.0.”
It all makes for a really disappointing realization that the recent movements to address and put an end to campus rape culture aren’t getting through universally — but that doesn’t mean we should stop trying. In all these cases, the young men at fault have been told in pretty clear terms — by the administration, other students, or both — that their actions won’t be tolerated and that’s a very positive step in the right direction. It’s up to all of us to continue to put down rape culture where and when we see it no matter how small or “harmless” it may seem.
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