The Kappa Alpha Order at Tulane University has come under fire since constructing a wall of sandbags around its frat house last Thursday, boasting pro-Donald Trump slogans like “Make America great again,” USA Today College reports.
According to the report, the wall was dismantled Tuesday, with the fraternity insisting that the wall was meant as a joke.
“Our chapter takes KA’s values of gentlemanly conduct very seriously. This respect extends to every student of Tulane and every member of the broader community. The comment was written on a makeshift wall on our private property, normally used for a game of capture the flag, to mock the ideologies of a political candidate. This had an unintended negative effect and as such it has been dismantled,” the chapter said in a statement to USA Today College.
Building a wall, the report notes, is part of the frat’s yearly tradition of having pledges erect a barrier.
However, many students did not find the humor in the display, and denounced the act as offensive.
“This really pushed it overboard for students of color on campus,” Tulane freshman Khristyan Trejo, a member of Students Organizing Against Racism, said. “It’s one thing to see an endorsement of Trump on campus—that’s freedom of speech—but it’s another to see the wall when it’s a symbol of racism and oppression. As someone with family across the [Mexico-United States] border and knowing people are murdered at the border every day, for [K.A.] to treat it as a joke and try to justify their actions with satire—well, it’s not a joke to students of color.”
“It’s all just plain disgusting to see this happening in the U.S., the ‘melting pot’ of the world,” Tulane freshman Claire Cruz added. “As a Latina on a mostly all-white campus, I am constantly seeing little acts of racism and white privilege, but this huge act was a slap in my face. Not only do I feel as if my safety has been threatened, but also my humanity is being completely written off.”
Outrage about the wall even prompted a Change.org petition, stating, “This wall, although a tradition carried on by Kappa Alpha for many years, has been a source of aggression towards students of colour on this campus, and this year, with the addition of the labels “Trump” and “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN,” has become overtly threatening towards Muslim and Latino students.”
Read more at USA Today College.