This year’s South Quad T-shirts, which reference the popular Soulja Boy song “Crank That,” are provoking outrage from some campus groups.
The T-shirt, which South Quad residents designed and voted to distribute, has the Superman logo on its front and the phrase “Superman that . ” on its back, referencing the song’s chorus, which includes the phrase “Superman that ho.”
There are many definitions for the questionable phrase. Urbandictionary.com, a website that compiles user-created definitions to slang words or phrases provided 15 different meanings. Most of the meanings, however define the phrase as a sexual act involving a man ejaculating on a woman in a demeaning fashion.
The South Quad Hall Council began selling the T-shirts in December for $2 each, but halted sales a week later when members of the University’s Sexual Assault Prevention Awareness Center told Hall Council representatives they thought the T-shirts were demeaning to women. The F-word, a campus feminist group, also decried the T-shirts.
At the beginning of winter semester, the Hall Council sent an e-mail apologizing to all South Quad residents, and to SAPAC.
University Housing spokesman Peter Logan said in a statement yesterday that University Housing doesn’t condone the T-shirts.
“University Housing considers the South Quad t-shirt message inappropriate and unsettling,” he said. “The message is contrary to our mission and values for developing inclusive and respectful communities within University residences.”
LSA sophomore Richard Fernandez, a member of the Hall Council, said the Council didn’t know how many T-shirts were printed or sold, but said they cost about $3 each to make.
The South Quad Hall Council hosted a forum Monday night to address concerns about the T-shirts.
Many students walked away from that event feeling underwhelmed with what took place, though.
LSA and School of Education junior Erika McCollum, who works for University Housing and is a member of SAPAC and the F-word, said she was just as upset about the forum as she was the T-shirts themselves, because the event didn’t focus on the T-shirts.
“I actually felt less safe walking out of the forum than I did walking in to it,” she said. “It’s really upsetting to me that my employer would put this shirt on and then allow students who put the shirts on to maintain this power within the community and to not take accountability for what they have done.”
LSA junior Amanda Grigg, a member of the F-word’s governing board, agreed.
“The fact that the forum was about hip hop was scapegoating and almost racist,” she said. “The forum blamed hip hop for the fact that people feel unsafe, when the problem was that the Hall Council members allowed these shirts to go through.”
The South Quad Hall Council said it a written statement yesterday that it regretted for its decision to print the T-shirts.
“Our decision to include the text was wrong, and, for this reason, we stopped sales a week after they began and have not sold one since,” the statement read.
Grigg said she didn’t think halting the sale of the shirts violated free speech.
“I think that to stop Soulja Boy from singing the song would be a violation of free speech,” she said. “The problem is that this isn’t about someone’s free speech, it’s about Housing condoning sexual violence.”
LSA sophomore Bonita Goh said she doesn’t understand the reason for the outcry.
“I don’t know what the brouhaha is about,” she said. “I’ve heard that the song is degrading, but I would assume there were women on the committee who voted to approve the T-shirts. Maybe this is a reflection that a select group of women are offended.”
Grigg said the shirt’s message might have garnered more criticism if it had been slightly more overt.
“If the shirt said ‘Rape that whore,’ I think there were would be a very different response,” she said.