Banner an unwelcome message at UW-La Crosse

Banner an unwelcome message at UW-La Crosse

Tuesday marks the first day of classes at UW-La Crosse, but an unofficial welcome back message from a group of students is getting pushback.

Photos of college-aged men hanging a sexually suggestive banner outside their off-campus is upsetting a number of students.

An offended student shared the images on Facebook Sunday, and the post had over 1,700 shares by Tuesday afternoon.

Other students shared her opinion.

“I thought it was really sad, especially with everyone moving in this week, especially the freshmen and that was one of their first experiences of La Crosse,” Rebekah Bain, a junior at UW-L said.

These signs were hung just a couple blocks off campus.

“It’s terrible for freshman girls, freshman guys even,” said Peter, a UW-L senior. “You’re terrifying them to be honest. That’s scary.”

Some students say the sexually suggestive message feeds into rape culture.

“I thought it was really disgusting and with all the rape culture awareness that’s been going around with Brock Turner case I thought maybe people would’ve gotten the idea by now, but obviously not,” Katrina Bjornstad, a UW-L junior said.

A number of students brought the pictures to administrators’ attention, and they’re happy students are speaking out.

“This is free speech, even stupidity is protected under free speech, but we also can critique it with our free speech,” said Chancellor Joe Gow. “It’s good to be seeing that happening in the UWL community.”

Although the banner isn’t a crime and Gow said it’s not against the school’s code of conduct, school officials want to start a conversation with those involved.

“It’s kind of like helping students understand, yes you have the right to say something that doesn’t mean you should, that it’s the ethical thing to do, and to think about the impact that it has on someone else,” Ingrid Peterson, violence prevention specialist at UW-L said.

Though the intended impact may have been to get a laugh, many students say the banner’s just not funny.

“I think it’s one of those things a lot of people sweep under the rug and don’t really see it as a big deal, but it’s just it’s something that women should not have to deal with,” UWL senior Megan Kautz. “It’s just one of those things we just shouldn’t.”

Chancellor Joe Gow sent out an email to students condemning the banner Tuesday afternoon.

University administrators are planning on bringing in the men who hung up the sign to have a conversation with them about how it affected many students.