- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A fraternities at a Virginia university has been suspended after members hung sexually-crass banners from the balcony of an off-campus house “welcoming” freshman women to the school.

The signs, purportedly made by members of Old Dominion University’s Sigma Nu chapter surfaced in photos on social media at the weekend, prompting widespread criticism.

The signs 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, to represent the school’s colors.

It’s unclear who the house belonged, too, but according to Jezebel, several members of the fraternity 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 chapter has been suspended by the national fraternity while the school investigates the incident, Mr. Beacham said, adding that “any fraternity member found to be responsible for this reprehensible display will be held accountable by the fraternity.”

ODU spokeswoman Giovanna M. Genard praised the national fraternity’s actions and its continued cooperation with school investigators.

“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,” Ms. Genard said in a statement.

The banners sparked outrage both on campus and on social media with many feminists calling the signs an example of “rape culture” on college campuses. School administrators and student organizations have since released statements condemning the banners.

University President John R. Broderick said the campus, community and alumni have been “offended” by the signs. 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.

The school’s Sigma Nu chapter has declined to comment.

The ODU Sigma Nu suspension comes just one week after Central Florida University placed its chapter of the same fraternity on emergency suspension after video surfaced of a member of the fraternity exhorting men to rape and using derogatory terms for women.

• Kellan Howell can be reached at khowell@washingtontimes.com.

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