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By Gus Bode

An SIU junior created a Facebook group to protest a banner outside a house on Mill Street that read, “Fathers, thank you for your daughters.”

The sign belongs to Matt Woike, a senior from Lemont who lives at the house along with other members of the SIU rugby team.

Jasmin Creek, a junior from Johnston City studying sociology, created the group Friday titled, “Take down the threatening sign on Mill Street, Carbondale!”, after she said she became angry when she saw the sign for the first time.

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“It made me feel very uncomfortable, kind of like I was being objectified like every other woman at SIU,” Creek said. “To me, it read, ‘Hey dads, thanks for sending your daughters to school so we can have sex with them, because that’s all they’re worth anyway.’”

The tenants took down the banner after the Facebook group referred to it as sexist.

Woike said he was not happy with the way the page bashed the rugby team.

“The group said a bunch of terrible things about us without knowing us,” he said. “They were saying that we’re promoting rape culture, but I don’t even know any of them.”

Woike said when he saw what the group had said about the banner, he knew it had to be taken down.

“We took it down because we felt like we don’t need that kind of bad image on us,” he said.

Woike said girls come over to hang out at the house all the time and usually get a laugh out of it.

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Woike said the sign was hung on the house last year as well, but the Carbondale police left a note on his door to say if it was not removed by 4 p.m. the next day, there would be a court date. Woike and his roommates took the sign down, but he said there were no complaints from the city when he put it up again this year.

Creek said the sign faced toward campus and located close to The Women’s Center.

Creek said she started the Facebook group in hopes of peacefully asking the men to take down the sign.

“At first, the response was overwhelmingly positive,” she said. “It was mostly my friends who also had gotten similar meanings from the sign.”

Ben Cybulski, a senior from Downer’s Grove who also lives in the house, said he thought it was a stretch to say the sign promoted rape culture.

“The sign was never meant to be offensive,” he said. “It was just something we thought was funny to have up for the move-in weekend. The moment we found out people were offended, we took it down.”

He said he wished Creek and her friends would have approached him first before they created a public group.

“They clearly took it the wrong way and put a bunch of slander about us on Facebook,” Woike said.

Creek said the group planned to ask those who lived in the house to take the sign down in person, but if that did not work she and her friends would go to SIU judicial affairs. She said she believed the home’s tenants were breaking the university’s codes of conduct.

She referred to one section that states, “A student has the right to be free from discrimination, including harassment, on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, sex …”

The code of conduct also states, however, that misconduct is punishable only if it happens on university-owned or controlled property, or at an off-campus university-sponsored event.

The code of conduct defines harassment as, “knowing conduct that is not necessary to accomplish a legitimate purpose, would cause a reasonable person emotional distress, and does cause another person distress.”

“The code of conduct is pretty vague, so it can be hard to say (the sign) does violate code, but from the way I read it, it does,” Creek said.

If that plan failed, she said she would have reported noncertified signage to the city. She said political signs are allowed in yards, but any other large sign without a purpose must be certified and approved by the city before it can be hung.

“Suddenly three hours after the group was made, people took over the group and started talking crap about everybody that wanted the sign taken down,” she said. “The group lasted for about 12 hours before it was deleted.”

At time of press Monday, Sandra Ursini, development specialist at The Women’s Center, could not be reached for comment.

Tara Kulash can be reached at 

[email protected] 

or 536-3311 ext. 273.

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