The University’s Delta Kappa Epsilon chapter has been under scrutiny since alleged hazing events came to light, prompting the fraternity to be kicked off campus. While this has been the most intense situation the University has dealt with from this Zeta Zeta chapter, it is not the first time DKE has been the subject of controversy.
“The DKEs were legit insane,” an anonymous LSU Greek member said. “They in no way represent Greek life. I stayed away from them as much as possible.”
Founded on the University’s campus in 1923, DKE is known for its controversial football gameday banners.
The first notable banner to turn heads in recent memory was in 2011, which read, “The only winner from Florida is Casey Anthony,” referencing the mother, Casey Anthony, who was found not guilty of first degree murder, aggravated child abuse and aggravated manslaughter of a child.
In 2012, a banner that read “Like the Batman premiere, we’re starting off with a bang!” referencing the shooting in Aurora, Colorado, before a midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises."
While many of these banners poked fun at the opposing football teams, DKE made national news with a banner that read, “Getting massacred is nothing new to Kent St.” ahead of the 2013 match-up.
Eric Mansfield, the executive director of University Media Relations for Kent State, released a statement to FOX 8 where he condemned DKE for making light of a “watershed moment for the country and especially the Kent State family.” He went on to say Kent State was offended by the banner.
After the intense scrutiny, DKE put up a banner that said, “We would like to apologize to Kent State for our inappropriate sign” the following day.
After the Kent State banner went public, it started bringing to light many previous banners DKE had put up, along with putting an eye on what would come in the future.
When the University opened the home season in 2014 against Sam Houston State, DKE’s banner read “Michael isn’t the only Sam getting the D tonight,” referencing the openly gay football player Michael Sam.
The banner was widely publicized enough to catch the attention of the Huffington Post, with a simple headline of “This LSU Fraternity Has a Terrible Sense of Humor.”
The LGBTQ group on campus, Spectrum, openly criticized the banner and said it created an “unwelcoming environment” for LGBTQ students at the University, along with calling the University to take action.
After the criticism (again) from the national media, the DKE sent an open letter to LSU President F. King Alexander:
“It was never any member of our fraternity’s intention to offend others. Zeta Zeta is a chapter full of rich traditions, one of them being our game day banners. Though satire is sometimes the goal, crossing the line and causing offense to others is never the intent. We truly apologize to you and all other members of the LSU community who have had to deal with the effects of this banner.”
In 2016, after Colin Kaepernick famously kneeled for the National Anthem before an NFL game, DKE put up a banner riffing off the viral moment, stating, “Oh say can you see Kaepernick sits when he pees.” This banner prompted the Coalition of LSU Student Organizations Committed to Community, a coalition including nine different student organizations, to write a response to The Reveille, arguing the banners were a violation of all elements of LSU’s Code of Conduct Section 1 Commitment to Community.
“DKE has repeatedly displayed language and imagery on campus that many in the LSU community consider highly offensive, racist, misogynistic, and homophobic,” the letter said. “While we acknowledge their first amendment right to free speech even when that speech expresses unpopular ideas, we believe it’s highly important to formally state that such behavior fosters a hostile campus environment for a large number of students.”
The last notable banner before DKE was kicked off campus was before the Oct. 13 contest of LSU and Georgia, when the banner put up said, “What do Mike + Asia have in common? Dawg 4 Dinner.”
“The University has now received several complaints about this banner,” LSU Director of Greek Life Angela Guillory said in an email to the DKE alumni representatives in charge of approving the banners. “Please let us know how the DKE alumni and National Organization choose to move forward. I’d like to suggest that the chapter not be allowed to hang a banner for the rest of the semester.”
DKE has released numerous offensive banners throughout the years dating far back, but now with them banned from campus, students can enjoy their gamedays without being offended.