Kent State University invited members of a Louisiana State University fraternity to visit the Ohio campus’ May 4 Visitor Center after they created a banner referencing the historic campus shootings.
WVLA-TV in Baton Rouge posted a picture of the banner on its website — www.nbc33tv.com — on Saturday. The sign read: “Getting massacred is nothing new to Kent St. ”
The banner was draped outside the fraternity, prior to the Louisiana State University-Kent State football game Saturday in Baton Rouge. LSU beat Kent State 45-13.
On May 4, 1970, Ohio National Guardsmen fired on anti-war protesters at Kent State, killing four students and injuring nine.
A viewer of the Baton Rouge station submitted the picture.
The station quoted the viewer as saying, “I love my [LSU] Tigers, but this is inappropriate.”
After WVLA posted the picture and an accompanying story Saturday, the image was picked up elsewhere on the Internet.
On Sunday, Kent State’s executive director of media relations Eric Mansfield issued a statement that included the invitation to the May 4 Visitor Center, a $1.1 million museum in Kent State’s Taylor Hall.
“We would invite those who created the sign to visit the May 4 Visitor Center and learn more about the event which forever changed Kent State and America,” the statement read.
The statement also said: “May 4, 1970 was a watershed moment for the country and especially the Kent State family. We lost four students that day while nine others were wounded and countless others were changed forever.
“We take offense to the actions of a few people last night who created an inappropriate sign and distracted from the athletic contest on the field.”
WVLA reported Sunday that a representative with Lousiana State University told the station that fraternity members had removed the sign after being asked to do so by LSU police officers.
According to the station, another banner was hanging outside the fraternity on Sunday with a new message: “We would like to apologize to Kent State for our inappropriate sign.”
The fraternity has hung other controversial banners in the past.
The TV station said that in 2012 a sign over the door of the same fraternity read, “Like the Batman movie premier, we’re starting off this season with a bang.”
The sign was a reference to the July 20, 2012, mass shooting inside an Aurora, Colo., movie theater during a midnight screening of the Batman film The Dark Knight Rises. Twelve people were killed and dozens were injured.
Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or firstname.lastname@example.org.