While the stories of what happened with the Activities Council for Bradley University (ACBU) shirts for its Spring Fling event April 25 continue to contradict each other, one thing is clear: the shirtless remained shirtless.
ACBU hosts the free Spring Fling event on Olin Quad every year. Each year, a t-shirt is also designed to give to students that attend or walk by. This year’s shirts said, “We’re gonna look so kick-ass when we roll up to Spring Fling,” which is a reference to the movie “Mean Girls.”
This year, however, the organization was advised not to hand out the shirts. Representatives from ACBU and the Student Activities Office (SAO) said they were somewhat unclear about the real reason.
Director of Student Activities Tom Coy said the SAO was made aware of the shirts through a picture on Facebook.
“A couple students came to us and asked if it was funded by [SAO] because they did not like what [the shirts] said,” he said.
After a closer look, Coy said it was the Bradley wordmark that prevented ACBU from giving them away. The vendor used to print the shirts was not licensed with the university and therefore was using the wordmark illegally, he said.
“[Junior public relations major and president of ACBU] Erin [Guth] thought that the shirts only had the ACBU logo on them,” Coy said. “But once you start using our official [logos], you have to follow our licensing … In the end, it wasn’t about censorship, it was about [licensed vendors].”
However, many students, including junior photography major Krysta Schauer, said they believed they weren’t allowed to give them out was because of the message on the shirt.
“What started it all was that a [Resident Advisor] went to Tom Coy and said they were offended that the shirts said ‘ass’ and ‘Bradley’ on them,” Schauer said.
Guth said the students came to her as well.
“A few students who were concerned brought the issue to me,” she said. “My advisor came to me and told me we needed to consider our reputation on campus before we handed them out.”
According to Guth, the “strong advisement” not to hand out the shirts came through her advisor from above the Student Activities Office. She said members of the administration had sent the suggestion.