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Crass, sexually suggestive banners “welcoming” freshman women to a Virginia college last week have sparked outrage and led to the suspension of at least one of the school’s fraternities.
The white signs draped over the balconies of an off-campus Old Dominion University house read “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.”
The “O” “D” and “U” on the first sign were highlighted in blue, while the other letters were black.
The signs have since been taken down, but a picture of the sign and outrage over the messages circulated on social media.
It’s unclear who the off-campus house belongs to, but Jezebel reported that several members of the fraternity Sigma Nu live there.
Brad Beacham, the executive director of Sigma Nu’s national headquarters said in a statement Monday that “information received by the fraternity today indicates that some chapter members may have had involvement with the banners.”
The Sigma Nu chapter at ODU has been suspended while the school investigates the incident, Beacham said. “Any fraternity member found to be responsible for this reprehensible display will be held accountable by the fraternity,” he added.
ODU praised the national fraternity's actions. "We thank the national organization of Sigma Nu for partnering with Old Dominion University in making a strong statement that the behavior of a few student members will not be tolerated, by announcing the suspension of their local chapter’s activities," said school spokeswoman, Giovanna M. Genard.
School administrators, in two separate statements, condemned the message that was sent as freshmen students arrived to their new school and home.
"Messages like the ones displayed yesterday by a few students on the balcony of their private residence are not and will not be tolerated,” said ODU’s vice president of student engagement and enrollment Ellen Neufeldt in a statement Saturday.
“Our students, campus community and alumni have been offended,” university president John R. Broderick said in a statement the next day. He added that an incoming freshman woman told his she thought about returning home but decided not to when she saw that her fellow students were just as outraged by the gesture as she was.
The school’s Student Government Association also released a video statement over the weekend featuring several students. “Not only do these actions taken by a few individuals undermine the countless efforts at Old Dominion University to prevent sexual assault, they are also unwelcoming, offensive, and unacceptable,” the association said in an accompanying written statement.
A representative for the ODU Sigma Nu chapter declined to comment.