JMU responds to degrading College GameDay signs

Photo of banner submitted to WHSV by Charles
Photo of banner submitted to WHSV by Charles(WHSV)
Published: Oct. 17, 2017 at 5:29 PM EDT
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Among all the excitement for ESPN's College GameDay at James Madison University, hundreds, if not thousands, of signs were created by students and community members. Many were hoisted in the background of the show on ESPN.

But some that went up on houses around the city were degrading, and explicitly so in some cases, towards women.

In light of the recent

that's highlighted just how many women experience sexual assault and harrassment, a number of people say the signs show the problem is prevalent here in the Valley.

Pictures were sent to WHSV of signs hanging outside of Harrisonburg homes, some of which were displayed on buildings known to have previously housed JMU Greek Life organizations.

The university is working with the City of Harrisonburg to get the banners down, since there have been several complaints about the messages. Already, there have been around a dozen posters removed.

Since the buildings are off-campus, the school cannot take action on them without partnership from the city.

Michael Davis, Executive Advisor to the President of James Madison University, told a community member via e-mail that the city is now reviewing the language of their sign ordinance to give them more flexibility to respond.

He also said the university is considering working with Madison Collaborative to educate students about "the proper way to be better citizens."

Director of Communications and University Spokesperson Bill Wyatt says the university does not condone the messages on the banners. He believes it is an unfortunate result of some students during GameDay.

"There were a few, few hiccups and these vulgar banners were one of them. We wish that hadn't happened, but overall, it was a great community event and everyone had a good time and represented the university well with few exceptions," Wyatt said.

JMU works to bring community engagement to Harrisonburg and, moving forward, is working on getting students who live off campus to be good neighbors.