“Vick ‘Em” t-shirt scandal at Texas Tech; Texas A&M lets students respond on video

October 10, 2007

vickem.jpg

Another campus flare-up is keeping a college public affairs department very busy this week, this time it’s Texas Tech. A fraternity member created t-shirts playing off the Michael Vick controversy to rile up longstanding football rivals Texas A&AM.

This story spun out very quickly on blogs (Deadspin got it extremely early), and on the wires, creating a wave of bad press. It’s likely to be on cable shows tonight.

PRNewser spoke to Sally Louge Post, Texas Tech’s Director of Communications to find out more about their response and how often the phone is ringing, and who’s calling for comment. Post declined to answer and referred us to the school’s statement on the matter (after the jump) but did say the university is working to improve response mechanisms online.

Texas A&M showed savvy by putting out a video of their students’ responses, albeit difficult to find.

For other examples of how quickly the media hops on college stories, see Columbia, University of Florida, and one we didn’t post, the uproar over a two-word editorial published in the Rocky Mountain Collegian directed at George Bush simply stating F%&* YOU.

University PR people have many stakeholders to appease and very old reputations to protect. The upside is they have a wealth of experts at their disposal for NPR and on the op-ed pages.

Texas Tech’s statement on the t-shirts:

Texas Tech Statement on T-Shirt

Texas Tech University has issued an official statement concerning an offensive T-shirt designed by a Tech student who, through a campus organization, attempted to sell the shirt on campus.

President Jon Whitmore said, “Texas Tech University is an institution of higher learning where values such as respect for others and civility are both taught and practiced. We will not permit individual students or any student organization to profit from selling merchandise on campus that is derogatory, inflammatory, insensitive, or in such bad taste that it reflects negatively on this fine institution, its students, athletic teams, alumni or faculty.

Vice President for Student Affairs Michael Shonrock stated that the student group that attempted to sell the T-shirt representing a football player holding a dog by a noose around its neck with the caption “Vick ‘Em” had been placed on temporary suspension and would face charges of violating the solicitation section of the Code of Student Conduct. He said that the firm producing the T-shirts had ceased production on Oct. 8 and apologized to the university.

Athletic Director Gerald Myers applauded the university’s efforts to uphold good sportsmanship and said, “Texas Tech welcomes our annual football competition with the Aggies, but that competition should in no way encourage behavior that reflects poorly on all of Texas Tech.

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