EDIT: FHSU President Mirta Martin has since released a statement condemning the Instagram photo, and eludes to changes in FHSU’s conduct policies.
A private Instagram post from a Fort Hays State University student triggered many in the FHSU community Friday afternoon, including activist group Jana’s Campaign, an organization with the purpose of reducing gender and relationship violence.
The photo displays a group of college aged men in Hays, Kansas sitting on a porch holding a banner with the words “Freshman [sic] Daughter Drop-Off”. The post was captioned with the words “Welcome back to Hays.”
Jana’s campaign took a shot at the students in the photo on their Facebook page, saying “We at Jana’s Campaign have worked a great deal with Fort Hays State University officials to reduce gender and relationship violence on our campus… Obviously, we have much work left to do.”
The post immediately spurred a dialogue between a seemingly divided comment thread, with some calling the photo a consequence of male/rape culture and others claiming it’s just a joke.
Ironically, many women stepped into the conversation defending the men in the photo.
“What’s even more disgraceful is all of you people!” said Brette Wallis. “You don’t even know these guys and you are talking about them and saying things you don’t even know are true! These are my best friends and they have more respect for another human being than obviously any of you ever will.”
“Lol chill and have a laugh,” Ryce Stuckey said aptly.
“Adults bully young people via their accusatory comments on social media that was only meant to be seen by their close circle of friends that know them and their intentions personally… your rush to judgment could have ruined one or more of their lives,” Rosalie Capo said.
Other Facebook commentators were not so quick to dismiss the photograph.
“Embarrassing is an understatement,” Nicole Ottley said, “We have to share things like this to raise awareness and create change and yet I’m so ashamed that I don’t want to.”
It’s still unclear how Jana’s Campaign acquired the photo from @hortiz7 ‘s private account. Fort Hays State University has not made any public statements regarding the incident.
Below are a few excerpts from the Facebook page.
What do you think? Is this Instagram photo supporting sexual violence, or is it just a joke? Let us know in the comment section below.