Last Friday was move-in day for almost 2,500 incoming first-year students at the University of Maine in Orono. Some new students and their parents were greeted that day with a couple of large, spray-painted banners hung on private off-campus residences that read “Honk if she’s 18.” and “Mother and Daughter Drop Off.”
Robert Dana, UMaine vice president for student life, says he heard about the banners late Friday morning. He says he visited both locations, spoke with those involved and the banners were then taken down.
“We asked that the banners be removed because they are completely antithetical to who we as an institution stand for, what we believe in. They were part of horrific treatment of women around the country, in this state and globally, and we wouldn’t tolerate it,” he says.
Dana says four students have been referred to the university’s conduct office and are meeting with the school’s Title IX coordinator, who is responsible for sexual assault and violence prevention.
“The students will be educated and involved in our sexual assault and relationship violence program, but they’ll also be attended to by the conduct office, which will result in some sanctions,” he says.
Dana says the students he has met with are extremely apologetic, ashamed and embarrassed. They thought the banners would be funny. Instead, they’ve been universally criticized on campus and in social media.