Zeta Psi asked to remove Brown sign
Published: Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, November 7, 2012 08:11
Zeta Psi fraternity on Monday was forced to remove a sign outside its house in support of Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass., LA ‘81) due to a university policy on banners.
According to Zeta Psi President Luke Sutherland, Tufts Republicans had contacted him and the fraternity over the weekend about hanging up a sign in support of Brown, who was a member of the fraternity while at Tufts. Tufts Republicans provided the group with the sign to coincide with the article about Brown published in the Daily on Nov. 5, titled “The long shot: Alum Senator Scott Brown reflects on Tufts experience.”
Sutherland, a junior, explained that he was receptive to the idea.
“I said we’d love to do it to support someone from our fraternity,” he said.
The sign was posted on the side of the house Sunday evening, according to Sutherland. Around 11:30 a.m. on Monday, a Tufts University Police Department officer asked the fraternity to take the sign down, he explained.
Co-President of Tufts Republicans Bennett Gillogly, who gave the fraternity the sign, was made aware of the situation.
“The Inter-Greek Council director got a call early in the morning by a student who complained about the sign for political reasons,” Gillogly, a junior, said.
Sutherland said the fraternity later received a call at around 4 p.m., after which the fraternity removed the sign. He said that the brothers were unaware of the banner policy beforehand.
“Even the guys who hadn’t been in support of putting up the sign were confused,” Sutherland said.
Gillogly added that Judicial Affairs Officer Veronica Carter also received calls about the sign. Gillogly said that the decision to take down the sign had been made by Carter based upon the school’s banner policy.
The rule is explained in the Tufts University Policy on Advertising/Posting/ Solicitation/Vending and Distribution section on the Office for Campus Life’s website. The relevant portion of the policy reads, “No banners may be posted on the exterior of any university buildings, including residence halls and fraternities and sororities.”
Carter was unavailable for comment.
Matt Berger, a Zeta Psi brother, said that he felt the decision was unfortunate in light of the upcoming election.
“We felt that it sent the wrong message that during the political election they would try to stifle political discourse, especially since the candidate is our brother,” Berger, a junior, said.
Sutherland said that a brother coming home from the library Monday evening found another sign in Zeta Psi’s front yard. The sign was previously used for a local ballot initiative but had been spray-painted on the back with the words “Scott Brown is Satan” and the number “666” in the middle.
Sutherland said his brothers were bothered by the sign.
“Everyone was upset because we were told we couldn’t put a sign up on our house and we broke a rule, and we complied with everything the school asked for,” he said. “It was very discouraging that someone would put that on our lawn.”
The fraternity is currently considering its next course of action with regard to the sign, such as submitting a bias incident. Sutherland believes that if they do submit a bias incident, it could be among the first bias incidents based upon political discrimination. Sutherland said that the decision will be made when the brothers have the chance to meet after the election.