The Alpha Delta Pi sorority at Samford University in Birmingham created an uproar when it printed racially offensive T-shirts displaying a map of Alabama that included an image of a Black man eating watermelon and a slave picking cotton.
A Twitter message from the school said the sorority used a design that school officials rejected. Student affairs vice president R. Philip Kimrey tweeted this statement on Friday:
“Samford University apologizes for the offensive image that appeared on T-shirts produced by the Kappa chapter of Alpha Delta Pi sorority. This is completely inconsistent with the university’s mission and values. We are addressing the issue with our Alpha Delta Pi chapter and the international organization and with the vendor who produced the shirt….We will be following our procedures as quickly as possible to address this violation of Samford’s values community.”
Meanwhile, sorority officials spent Friday also apologizing and expressing regret. Stacy Bruton, international president of Alpha Delta Pi, released this statement:
“The shirt design absolutely contradicts the values of respect and dignity that our organization prides itself on. We do not tolerate, and would never intentionally approve any design with racial stereotypes/overtones or any other offensive images or language. This situation highlights for all our chapters the importance of attention to detail. We are working on proposed enhancements to our chapters’ design approval processes to prevent this kind of oversight from ever happening again, and hope that this will serve as a learning opportunity for all our members.”
Samford President Andrew Westmoreland said the shirt “repulsed” him, according to NBC News.
He shared his “personal embarrassment” in a note to employees and students of color on campus. Westmoreland added: “I lack the words to express my own sense of frustration.”
According to CBS News, school officials are investigating the situation to determine if discipline is necessary.