The university received numerous complaints about T-shirts sported by students at Saturday’s football game.
While some students at the football game against Penn State on Saturday, Sept. 17, basked in outrage and general upset after Temple’s loss, others took issue with the T-shirts worn by fans in the audience.
A number of complaints were sent to the university in relation to the high visibility of T-shirts worn at the game that included vulgar remarks. Similar shirts received critical attention at the Sept. 8 Villanova game, as well.
At yesterday’s Temple Student Government General Assembly meeting, Student Body President Colin Saltry addressed the T-shirts and expressed disappointment in the students who chose to wear them.
“They created an environment of intimidation,” Saltry read from one complaint emailed to President Ann Weaver Hart’s office.
“I am a Penn State alumni who looked forward to the game until I had to walk with my grandson past those students,” Saltry read from another.
An alumnus said in a complaint that he would not provide any funds for scholarships for Temple, after seeing the shirts, Saltry said.
One of the explicit messages on shirts read “we are” across the chest, and, on the back, featured an owl with its middle finger pointed up, replacing the first ‘u’ in “F*** You.”
A Facebook event titled “Temple/PSU shirts,” started by students Cameron Crossley and Felix Munezero, used to promote the sale of the most recent T-shirts, garnered more than 1,000 “attendees.”
Crossley, a sophomore management information sciences major, said the sale was a part of an ongoing T-shirt fundraiser by his fraternity, Phi Kappa Theta.
PKT sold about 700 shirts in about four hours, Crossley said.
“It’s pretty crazy how many people wanted that shirt,” Crossley said. “We didn’t have it designed [until last minute]. Everyone kind of loved it, it was simple.”
Crossley also confirmed that his fraternity sold T-shirts for the Sept. 8 football game against Villanova. In addition, he said the brothers also sold shirts for St. Patrick’s Day and Spring Fling last year.
“It’s the easiest way to make money, the fastest too,” Crossley said.
Crossley said proceeds benefit the fraternity and its philanthropy efforts. He added that it is considering selling shirts during Breast Cancer Awareness month and donating 25 percent of the proceeds toward the cause.
As fraternities and sororities prepare to take on new pledges, the T-shirts have also helped draw attention to PKT.
“The shirts helped with rush, [it was] a perfect segue,” Crossley said. “This is kind of a critical year for us in terms of us bringing in guys.”
Crossley said a father of one of the brothers works for a screen printing company, which helps their makeshift business.
Stephanie Ives, dean of students and associate vice president for student affairs, confirmed that her office received email complaints and issued a statement to The Temple News regarding the situation.
“The school spirit demonstrated by Temple students at the first two home games was tremendous and I’m happy to see them supporting our athletic teams with zeal and energy,” Ives’ statement read. “However, I am disappointed that some students also chose to wear high-profile offensive T-shirts and engage in certain unruly behaviors against the opposing fans at both football games that depicted our school spirit in a negative fashion.”
“I have confidence that from this point forward, our students will engage in an extraordinary show of school spirit that will be characterized by civility and respect,” Ives statement reads.
Ives did not elaborate on how the university deals with these complaints.
The university Student Code of Conduct prohibits “any lewd or indecent act, including public urination, which the student knows is likely to be observed by others.” Yet, the Code does not specifically prohibit students from wearing potentially offensive clothing to university-sponsored events.
In recent weeks, West Virginia University requested its student football fans retire similar shirts that contained a curse word.
Freshman English major Anastas Duka said the shirt gives confidence to fans at the football games.
“A sort of unity. Kind of. The football games in the past were nothing. I’ve been to one with family, you know there weren’t Temple fans there at all,” Duka said. “I’m not offended by that at all. The [‘u’ is] not even there, it’s an owl. But no, honestly, we’re adults, you know? If you’re offended by it, you’re offended by it. Look away.”
This isn’t the first time Temple students’ T-shirt businesses have been the subject of university scrutiny.
Last spring, after The Temple News featured Greg Gant’s T-shirts, known for his “Thug Life,” designs that utilized Temple’s trademark “T,” the university issued a cease-and-desist notice to the now-alumnus.
“We want to make sure that our marks are used appropriately and that they’re not defaced in anyway … and the products that they’re being used on are being produced with fair labor,” Linda Frazer, director of Business Services, told The Temple News [“’Thug Life’ T-shirt creator receives cease-and-desist order,” Angelo Fichera, Nov. 15, 2010]. “It’s not really a profit issue. It’s really the mark itself.”
Crossley said he isn’t concerned about receiving such notices because his fraternity is careful to stray away from using university marks on its products.
The owl used on the shirts sold for the game against Penn State was an image found through Google, Crossley said.
“That was not Hooter,” he said.
Angelo Fichera and Alexis Sachdev can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Correction: In the original article, Phi Kappa Theta was incorrectly identified as Kappa Delta Rho due to confusion regarding the past and current addresses of the two fraternities.]