College students' signs spark controversy

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MANHATTAN, Kan (WIBW)--- On Saturday afternoon, incoming K-State students and their families were greeted by controversial signs posted by fellow students. One sign read “Hope You’re 18” and the other, “Freshmen Girl Drop-Off”.

Jen McFarlin took a picture of one of the signs and posted it on social media. Her post was shared hundreds of times prompting some residents to reach out to the property's owners to take the signs down. Hours later both signs were gone.

"Saying ‘hope you’re 18’ implies that they don't care that you aren’t (18),” said McFarlin.

"It's not funny to me, I am sure that they were trying to make a joke, but I think for anyone who has been raped and anyone who knows someone that has been raped... those jokes are really not that funny,” said Interim Department Head of Gender, Women, Sexuality Studies, Dr. Angela Hubler.

Hubler says in the past, multiple students have come up to her saying they've experienced sexual assault their first week of school. She adds that one in five women will become a victim of sexual violence during their college years and 80% of all women are raped before the age of 25.

"What research tells us is that the way we talk about rape and the way rape is represented actually influences the way people think about forced sex,” said Hubler.

"It’s not funny and it makes people scared, can you imagine how parents felt dropping off their girls yesterday?” said McFarlin.
We reached out to the students who posted those signs, but none could be reached.

"This is a good opportunity to think about what kind of values those statements and values communicate,” said Hubler.

In a statement to 13 News, K-State Vice President of Communication and Marketing Jeff Morris said:

“The inappropriate signs serve as a reminder that words matter and messages can be hurtful. We want our incoming students to feel welcome and ask that all follow our Principles of Community”.