The Kappa chapter of Alpha Delta Pi at Samford University near Birmingham, AL is in hot water after making shirts for their formal that featured “a black man eating a watermelon plopped under people picking cotton.”
This shirt was made by Alpha Delta Pi Sorority in Birmingham, Al. When y'all see the problem Retweet & Report. pic.twitter.com/at0dCvjDG1
— Welp (@Ya_Hayati__) May 13, 2016
The shirts were made for the chapter’s spring formal and featured a vintage map. The chapter claims that they did not notice the details of the map. According to the chapter’s president, Lauren Hammond, “In selecting the T-shirt, we failed to focus on the specific images in the design. We are horrified by our oversight. Had we recognized what the design details depicted, we would never have purchased the shirts,” Town Hall reports. This sort of doesn’t jive with the university’s story that they denied the shirt design and the chapter made them anyway. A statement from Philip Poole, the university’s executive director of communication:
Samford University apologizes for the offensive image that appeared on T-shirts produced by the Kappa chapter of Alpha Delta Pi sorority. This is completely inconsistent with the university’s mission and values. We are addressing the issue with our Alpha Delta Pi chapter and the international organization and with the vendor who produced the shirt. Despite the university’s denial of the project through our normal review and approval process, the shirts were produced anyway. We are following our procedures as quickly as possible to address this violation.
Whatever happened, everyone is tripping over themselves now apologizing for the shirt during the university’s graduation weekend. The university released a lengthy statement:
An apology to the community pic.twitter.com/Cb8OgS4NKf
— Samford Student Life (@SU_StudentLife) May 13, 2016
And Alpha Delta Pi nationals released a statement that read in part:
The shirt design absolutely contradicts the values of respect and dignity that our organization prides itself on. We do not tolerate, and would never intentionally approve any design with racial stereotypes/overtones or any other offensive images or language.
Sigh. I’d buy the oversight story if the university hadn’t rejected the design in the first place, and the chapter hadn’t gone ahead and made it anyway. So the real question is…WTF were they thinking?.