The Kappa Alpha fraternity at Tulane University, Andrew Breitbart’s alma mater, sparked outrage this week after they erected a wall made out of sandbags with the words “Make America Great Again” emblazoned across it.
Building a wall around its private property is a long-standing tradition of the local chapter, however it has now come under fire for what some students deemed as ‘messages of hate and ignorance.’
The wall has now been torn down. A video posted on YouTube shows people, allegedly footballer players at the university, tossing the sandbags aside as one member protests, “This is a private property.”
“These connotations most directly mocked the experiences of Latino immigrants and workers throughout our nation,” a Facebook post from a member of Tulane’s Generating Excellence Now & Tomorrow in Education (GENTE), a group described as “geared towards creating a more welcoming environment both socially and academically for students at Tulane,” declared.
“By writing Trump in large, red letters across the ‘wall,’ KA changed what was a tradition of building a wall into a tradition of constructing a border, symbolizing separation and xenophobia,” she continued. “This issue not only affects Latinos but all other marginalized immigrant groups in this country.”
Tulane’s Latino student union also set up a petition entitled “Stand against the wall!” It condemned the Kappa Alpha tradition as “a source of aggression towards students of color on this campus” and that it fed into the “xenophobic and racist discourse that has surrounded this general election.”
Jesse Lyons, the national fraternity’s assistant executive director, told The Times-Picayune that the words written on the sandbags were intended as satire and were not designed to cause offence.
“Our chapter takes KA’s values of gentlemanly conduct very seriously. This respect extends to every student of Tulane and every member of the broader community,” the statement said. “The comment was written on a makeshift wall on our private property, normally used for a game of capture the flag, to mock the ideologies of a political candidate.”
Tulane University said in a statement that it “encourages and supports the free exchange of ideas and opinions,” but the fraternity’s actions “sparked a visceral reaction in the context of a very heated and divisive political season.”