Fraternity at LSU displays offensive sign about KSU

Julie Myers

Photo courtesy of Chandler Rome.

Updated: 12:43 a.m.

The brothers of Delta Kappa Epsilon hung a sign over the entrance of their fraternity house Saturday in Baton Rouge before the LSU-Kent State football game, mocking the 1970 massacre at Kent State University. The sign read, “Getting massacred is nothing new to Kent St.”

The sign referred to the May 4 tragedy when approximately 2,000 students were shot at by the Ohio National Guard while protesting the Vietnam War.

University spokesman Eric Mansfield responded to the sign Sunday.

“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.”

Delta Kappa Epsilon has since replaced the sign with a written apology and issued a formal statement.

Some Kent State students are still reacting to what they view as a personal affront.

“That’s not something I would write on a poster. That’s talking about war, basically. It’s like making fun of a death,” said Shantee Trudo, a sophomore special education major. “Nothing was funny about what happened, and I’m not just saying that because I go to Kent State. I’m saying that because that’s just not right at all.”

Connor Lozier, a senior aeronautics major, was involved with a production called “Voices of May Fourth,” which collected interviews from after the shootings from students, guardsmen, townspeople and professors who were present that day. The script for the show was made out of the interviews, and the show was performed in Kent and surrounding areas.

“Doing that show really made you realize how bad that situation was,” Lozier said. “Doing something like that made you understand what people were thinking when that was happening, what was going through their heads.”

“Seeing something like that [sign] over at another university really kind of hurts you, and you feel kind of offended by that because they don’t understand what happened,” Lozier said. “It was just so offensive and so really immature.”

Justin McMonagle, a sophomore construction management major, agreed the sign was in bad taste.

“It’s very appalling that they would write stuff like that because it was a very tragic event that took place here, and it’s not really a matter to joke about,” McMonagle said. “Relating it to football has no connection whatsoever, so it should not have been said like that. That was an event that had to do with the National Guard, not football. It’s very out of line.”

Eddie Hronetz, a junior integrated mathematics major, said that even though it’s in the nature of athletics to post signs, chant and try to psych the other team out, the fraternity took it too far.

“I played sports in high school, so I understand the whole competitiveness thing and wanting to trash-talk a little bit to the other team, but I think what the LSU fraternity did was way over the line,” he said. “There’s a certain level of trash-talk where you can take it to before it gets to very unacceptable, especially coming from a situation that Kent State had. I feel like if I went to a different college, I’d probably feel the same way.”

Corey Bauer, a senior political science major, serves as the recruitment chair for the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity at Kent State. Bauer made a statement from the perspective of a member of the Greek community:

“The fraternity at LSU is the epitome of the stereotype that Greek organizations everywhere are trying to defeat,” Bauer said. “What they said was tasteless, disrespectful and a slap in the face to, not only Kent State and those who are Greek here, but to every fraternity and sorority at every university in the world. I’d be ashamed to call myself a member of that chapter.”

Steven London, a senior physics major at Kent State and a member of Alpha Epsilon Pi, adds a different perspective. “I think it’s funny. It’s a little joke,” London said. “It’s not a personal attack. They’re just trying to get under our skin.”

Mansfield encourages the brothers of Delta Kappa Epsilon to visit Kent State.

“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,” Mansfield said. “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.”

Contact Julie Myers at [email protected].