As the Michigan football team prepares to take on the Spartans
on Nov. 1, three Michigan State seniors continue selling T-shirts
that have offended members of both college communities.

The green T-shirts have an explicit drawing of two wolverines
wearing athletic jerseys that boast the phrase “Wolverines Pack
Fudge.” The students advertised the shirts last week with flyers on
the Michigan State campus and are selling the shirts for $10
through their website.

Many students and staff at the University of Michigan have taken
offense to the shirts.

“I’ve seen things like this before, but this is out there,” said
Kelly Garrett, assistant director of the Office of Lesbian, Gay,
Bisexual and Transgender Affairs. “That’s pretty blatantly – I
don’t see how anyone can see this in a positive way.”

“There’s a lot of homophobia surrounding sports,” she said.
“It’s very common to see homophobic words and images in sports
because it’s easy to insult someone by insinuating they’re
gay.”

T-shirt makers referred media to a website, which has a
disclaimer from the students that states, “Our shirts DO NOT target
any specific sexual orientation whatsoever … Please do not take
these shirts the wrong way.” The disclaimer adds, “We are NOT
trying to discriminate against any type of person, except people
who like U of M of course.”

But LSA junior and Michigan Student Assembly LGBT Commission
Co-Chair Jeff Souva took issue with the usage of “pack fudge.” “The
terminology is often used derogatorily,” Souva said. “They claim to
use the term not for our community but for everyone at Michigan,
but the fact that they have a disclaimer on their website shows
they’ve had to think about the derogatory usage.”

“The root of it is that the term was created as a derogatory
term against homosexuals,” Souva added. “It’s hard to separate the
use of the term against everyone or against the LGBT
community.”

The sale of the shirts capitalizes on the intense rivalry
between the two schools. LSA junior and Maize Rage secretary Ryan
Shinska said he hopes students at the University don’t stoop to
such a low level as they root for the Wolverines.

“As a fan, I prefer cheering for my own team rather than
knocking the other team,” Shinska said. “When you’re Michigan,
you’ll get that wherever you go. We’re a renowned program and
people are jealous of us.”

Though insulting shirts are also sold across the Michigan
campus, they use less offensive phrases, and other rivals that bash
Michigan on T-shirts are more tasteful, Shinska said. “It seems
they’re doing this not for the money but to spite us,” he said.

While many students and faculty at MSU have condemned the
shirts, students at the University feel little can be done to
prevent their sale.

“I am not sure what students at U of M could do,” Souva said.
“From their website, it seems they don’t care about what Michigan
students think.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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