Our View: Don’t disguise ignorance as school spirit

DKS Staff

There’s no shame in showing team spirit and participating in some good-natured bashing of the rival team on game day. The operative phrase here being “good-natured” because, no matter how much you love your team, there is no excuse for outright insensitivity and ignorance in your game-day display.

On Saturday, Sept. 14, the Flashes played the LSU Tigers in Baton Rouge, La. Prior to kick-off, brothers from LSU’s Delta Kappa Epsilon hung a sign over the door of their fraternity house reading, “Getting massacred is nothing new to Kent St.”

A witness reported the sign to KWKT in Central Texas, calling the display “inappropriate.”

We have to agree with this unnamed witness, who put it mildly. At Kent State, we haven’t forgotten May 4, 1970, and we’d like to think that this country hasn’t either. That day, we lost four young members of our Kent State family when troops from the Ohio National Guard fired upon students protesting the Vietnam War. At least nine others were wounded.

The Kent State “massacre” sparked protests at hundreds of campuses across the country. On May 6, 1970, police wounded four students at the University of Buffalo who staged a protest in support of Kent State. Four days after our shooting, the New Mexico National Guard bayoneted eleven students at the University of New Mexico during a similar protest.

The events of that May 4 changed U.S. history — and countless American lives — forever.

Eric Mansfield, Kent State spokesman, issued the following statement to the media following WKYC’s report.

“We take offense to the actions of a few people … 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 and learn more about the event which forever changed Kent State and America.”

Delta Kappa Epsilon has since replaced the offensive sign with an apology and issued a written statement of remorse to the Kent State community. In the statement, the fraternity expressed that its members were too young to understand the impact of the massacre.

Although the apology is appreciated, we hope that you, the brothers of Delta Kappa Epsilon, use this as a learning opportunity, and in the future, educate yourselves about the importance of our nation’s history.

As college students, the tragedy that unfolded on Kent State’s campus in 1970 hits especially close to home. Jeffrey Miller, Allison Krause, William Schroeder and Sandra Scheuer were college students — your age — who died because of the horrible tragedy you decided to mock and belittle over a football game.

Hopefully you’ll reconsider your words next time and learn to think before you write.

— The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board