On April 6, Tiger Stadium lit up with bright teal lights. On April 7, the University got roasted on social media for it.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and teal is its official color, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. The University posted to Instagram about its performative activism with the short and emotionless caption, “Last night, Tiger Stadium went teal to honor Sexual Assault Awareness Month.”
It didn’t take long for students, alumni, fans and others within the community to take to social media to express their anger and frustration with the University.
Some Instagram users remarked on the University’s hypocrisy and performative activism — one user commented, “Yes flagship university give us nothing!!!” or another wrote, “We want consequences, not performative crap like this’ [But the most recent surge of comments have been ridiculing the University for posting about its colored lights after freshman Kori Gauthier has been missing since April 6.]
The University’s social media presence would seem to suggest that it cares deeply about the problems facing its students, but its actions reveal that the opposite is true. In the wake of the Husch Blackwell report, students expected to see real change, but the University chose simply to suspend two athletic officials instead — no one was fired, no justice was received and our University remains as dangerous and unsympathetic as before.
Showing support for a cause, whether it’s pink lights for Breast Cancer Awareness Month or teal lights for Sexual Assault Awareness Month, is not inherently performative or insensitive — but directly following the University’s inaction regarding administrators who covered up rape allegations, the teal stadium lights were tone-deaf and frankly hypocritical.
To echo the sentiments of many Instagram users, the University really gave us nothing. It decided to add some color to the lights it already leaves on every night (really, how could you put less effort into something?) and then post it to social media as a PR stunt. It was a completely empty, useless move on its part.
The University has 238,000 followers on Instagram, not including all of the other official accounts for specific academic departments, athletic teams, clubs, campus resources, etc. That’s a massive social media presence and it chose to post meaningless PR pictures instead of real information.
The University should have done more in the wake of the Husch Blackwell report but it didn’t. It now needs to make up for it. It needs to be using its platform to make a difference, to spread awareness to the real problems plaguing students, to recommend students to resources on and off campus and overall to do better.
The administration apparently listened to concerned student voices and posted about missing freshman Kori Gauthier to its Instagram story on April 9, but like that Instagram story, its concern seemed to disappear after 24 hours.
Kori Gauthier is still missing, and the University can’t do more than post a temporary flyer to its Instagram account. Where’s the concern, LSU? Where’s the justice? Do better.
Kori Gauthier is 18 years old, 5-foot-5-inches and 115-120 pounds with dark brown hair and brown eyes. If you have any information about the disappearance of Kori Gauthier, contact LSUPD at 225-578-3231 or BRPD at 225-389-2000.
Marie Plunkett is a 22-year-old classical studies senior from New Orleans.