Chalked up

The words “Sigma Chi Derby Days” are written on a car parked in the parking garage on campus. Students’ cars all over campus were written on as part of the predominantly Greek event. 

After a number of cars all over campus were painted on with car chalk, students and Greek Life officials are asking questions of the organizations that participated in Derby Days, an event hosted by one of the fraternities at UNA.

Cars were marked on in locations including the parking garage and near Lafayette Hall.

Campus police have no plans of charging anyone or investigating the matter further, officials said.

“The police department has not commented on the Twitter or Facebook postings,” said UNA police Chief Bob Pastula. “The cars were not vandalized; they were only painted with water-soluble paint that will wash off with water. Vandalism implies that there was damage done to the vehicles, which we have received no reports of. Vandalism is a crime, and if someone is apprehended vandalizing, they will be treated accordingly.”

Sorority involvement was reported to the Office of Student Engagement.

Assistant Director Student Engagement for Greek Life DeAnte’ Smith described the investigations as “on-going.”

“We don’t know exactly how many Greek organizations were involved, though we speculate Pan-Hellenic sororities and one fraternity,” Smith said. “We are doing a lot of assuming, though — it could be only two sororities, it could be more. Those involved really need to make a public apology, but they will receive their due process with judicial action.”

Students spoke out on the incident.

“I’m not even irritated,” said Darien Harris, a first-year whose car was marked. “I just want to know the meaning of it and I don’t want it to happen again.”

Harris, like many other students, wants to know the significance of having  their cars marked on and why not those who affiliate with Greek life.

Social media exploded early Tuesday morning and throughout the day, escalating quickly and spreading across north Alabama. Allyson Sharif, a UNA alumna now residing in Huntsville, received a retweet from @UNAProblems that she quickly retweeted to the police.

“That tweet brought my attention to the whole ordeal,” Sharif said. “Before that, I hadn’t heard anything about it.”

The tweet from Cody Smith, a senior, addressed sorority girls stating, “I hope the Florence Prowler rapes you.” Since the incident, Smith has deleted his Twitter account and apologized profusely.

“I don’t blame anyone but myself — I should have known better,” Smith said. “I didn’t mean for it to offend or upset anyone. I know I should have thought of the women who have been attacked by the Florence Prowler and the fear they are still going through. I’m sorry to them, to the city of Florence, and to the school. I have embarrassed and wronged them all.”

On Facebook’s UNA Memes Page, students have begun arguing over sorority involvement, particularly Alpha Delta Pi and Phi Mu.

“It’s a big deal,” said student Stephanie Green on the Web page. “It’s personal property that sororities vandalized. It doesn’t matter if Alpha Delta Pi weren’t the only ones doing it. If (you were) a part of it, take responsibility.”

Phi Mu President Destin Underwood has already attempted an apology to the community via Facebook comment.

“I apologize on behalf of our organization for any cars that were painted by Phi Mus,” Underwood said. “This was a huge misunderstanding on the rules of a competition for a charity event. Some of our girls did not use their best judgment when participating and are very sorry for their actions.”

Despite social media interference and miscommunication, Smith gave these words to students upset by the behavior: “The campus should know that measures will be taken and people will be suffering the consequences of their actions.”