For Freshmen. By Freshmen.
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Mar 02 2017
by Katie Czerwinski

The Message 'Frat Lives Matter' Appeared on UConn's Campus Following the Arrest of 6 Fraternity Members

By Katie Czerwinski - Mar 02 2017

Last week, six students from the University of Connecticut were arrested with charges related to the death of Jeffny Pally in October. Pally had attended a party at an off-campus house affiliated with Kappa Sigma fraternity before she was struck by a fire department vehicle. Each student who was arrested was either charged with purchasing alcohol for a minor or permitting a minor to possess alcohol. Soon after the students were charged, the phrase “Frat Lives Matter” was spray-painted on UConn's spirit rock.

Eeman Abbasi, a junior at the University of Connecticut, documented the “Frat Lives Matter” display on Twitter. In a statement to The Tab UConn, Eeman discussed her reaction to the recent campus events.

“The fact that a group of men co-opted the language of Black Lives Matter on the 5-year anniversary of Trayvon Martin’s death indicates how little progress has been made across America, but especially in Greek communities, in recognizing the humanity of black Americans,” she said in her statement. “Their words also minimized the gravity of the death of an individual, by identifying themselves as victims. Greek life at UConn must take direct action in confronting their long history of exclusion, intimidation, and racism.”

Kappa Sigma is no longer recognized by UConn and the group lost its housing based on events unrelated to Pally’s death. That hasn’t stopped people, including Eeman, from calling for fraternities to be held accountable for their actions.

“The sentiment throughout campus was that their behavior was unacceptable,” Eeman told Fresh U. The disapproval was also reflected by Twitter users who saw the spray-painted message.

The UConn Interfraternity Council has since condemned the incident in a statement released on the group's Facebook page:

"The wildly inappropriate and insensitive messages of “Frat Lives Matter” painted on rocks throughout our campus this morning do not in any way reflect the values or beliefs of the UConn Interfraternity Council or any of our 12 recognized member fraternities. We unequivocally condemn these messages, as well as those who painted them. UConn fraternity men have always, and will always, continue to hold themselves to the highest moral standards and strive to be leaders and role models within the community. The IFC fully stands behind UConn’s commitment to make this campus a home to all students. When this issue was brought to our attention, brothers from every fraternity on campus came together without hesitation to repaint the rocks with a message of unity, in an effort to show the campus what we as fraternity men stand for."

Authorities have not yet found those responsible for spray-painting the spirit rock, but the rock has since been repainted with messages like "UConn Nation" and "#WeAreUConn."

Lead image credit: Twitter

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Katie Czerwinski - Syracuse University

Katie Czerwinski is a senior at Syracuse University studying magazine with a minor in psychology. She is obsessed with pineapples, long naps, and cooking shows. Follow her on Instagram @katie.czerwinski or on Twitter @katieczerwinski

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