University of Alabama and Louisiana State University have a long-dated rivalry. And it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. However, Alabama students may have taken things too far with one of its recent banners.
According to College Spun, an Alabama fraternity allegedly hung a banner from an apartment building off-campus. The banner read, “Finish What Katrina Started.”
Shots fired… pic.twitter.com/waBhcXmf4Q
— Old Row (@OldRowOfficial) November 6, 2015
While this was extremely distasteful, some campus students set out to find answers regarding “why” and “where.”
Sean Laundry, editor-in-chief of the university’s newspaper, The Crimson White, mentioned via Twitter that the paper contacted administration for a comment on the issue. From certain comments left underneath his tweet, some people felt that school contact was irrelevant and useless.
One commentator, Riley McMichen, felt that the paper was simply blowing the situation out of proportion.
— Riley McMichen (@rileymcmichen15) November 6, 2015
Another commentator, Bryant Powers, mentioned that the university has no control over the actions of the fraternity. He also added that University of Alabama would only end up giving a stereotypical, politically correct response anyway.
The university did respond to the banner issue in a short and immediately dismissed manner. It’s shown in the following tweet.
UA response to off-campus banner: “UA is appalled that anyone would display a banner with such an inappropriate and offensive statement.”
— The Crimson White (@TheCrimsonWhite) November 7, 2015
While Bryant Powers’ comment appeared antagonistic to Sean Laundry’s attempts, it seems that he might have been right about the university’s “PC” candor. Yet Laundry makes a valid point. Although the incident happened off-campus, the fraternity still represents the school. So from public view, it’s almost as if the university hung the banner itself. The organization is part of the educational entity and so are the organization’s members.
If an off-duty police officer is filmed while engaging in acts that go against the department’s morals and policies — while he isn’t in uniform — he still stands for and is attached to something greater than himself. Sure, the public will look at the individual, but it’ll also look at the organization.
However, there is no evidence to suggest that University of Alabama‘s fraternities are to blame for the incident. It’s possible that the banner was hung by non-fraternal students. In a Crimson White article, Erin Mosley mentioned that many of the university’s students have a lot of growing up to do. After talking about other issues with which the Student Government Association has to deal, she states, “There are also students facing oppression at the hands of many of these ‘childish’ organizations which have existed for too long on campus.” Could she have been addressing childish Greek organizations?
Although sources have kept the specific location quiet, some did recognize and were seemingly aware of it, regardless.
@butchworley don’t want to put exactly where but that general vicinity
— Sean Landry (@LandrySean) November 6, 2015
So, it could bring to question the frequency by which these types of nuisances misrepresent the university and its students. Obviously, from Mosley’s article, things like this happen more often than the public is aware.
Unfortunately, the only confirmed detail about the story is that — once the banner went viral — whoever was responsible removed it from the apartment’s balcony, as reports WBRC-6 News.
The source also elaborated on the banner’s use of the weather anomaly from August 2005.
“It’s a reference to Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the Gulf Coast, including Louisiana, in 2005, killing nearly 2,000 people and displacing thousands more.”
Accordingly, as aforementioned, many students have tweeted and expressed that the banner was distasteful at the very least. Even in a beautiful apple tree, there are a few who still end up bad apples, yes? But that doesn’t mean the entire tree is bad. Luckily, this isn’t the PR nightmare it had the potential to become.
What are your thoughts about the “Finish What Katrina Started” banner? Were you affected by Hurricane Katrina? Feel free to express your comments below.
[Photo by Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images Sport]