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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Vulgar basketball chants spur university response

Photo by Austin Anderson
During National Marquette Day, students in the BMO Harris Bradley Center chanted vulgar remarks as the Marquette Golden Eagles battled the Xavier Musketeers.

During National Marquette Day, students in the BMO Harris Bradley Center chanted vulgar remarks as the Marquette Golden Eagles battled the Xavier Musketeers.

An email sent Feb. 22 by notable members of Marquette’s administration reprimanding the student section. After the Golden Eagles had built a considerable lead over the Musketeers, students began to chant, “F— you Xavier!” The chants were started by unidentified students within the section.

These isolated incidents spurred Vice President of Student Affairs Xavier Cole, Vice President and Director of Athletics Brian Scholl and Marquette University Student Government President Adam Kouhel to write the email about representing Marquette with passion and respect.

“Profane chants don’t reflect our values,” the email said. “They don’t show support for our student athletes on the court, or respect for our opponents. And they don’t send the right message about who we are to families sitting nearby, visitors from a fellow Jesuit institution or to the rest of the country watching on television.”

Cole and Kouhel were both present at the Xavier game, and witnessed the chants firsthand.

“I know that I am one of the many students and alumni who feel that we are better than the profane chants we heard,” Kouhel said. “While major collegiate athletic programs across the country experience similar challenges, we don’t shy away from holding ourselves to high standards.”

According to Cole, fans at the game approached him with concerns.

“There were formal and informal complaints lodged by Marquette community attendees, as well as Xavier University visitors,” Cole said.

In addition to these complaints, the volume of the chants was a major factor in addressing the issue.

“While there may have been some negative examples of fan behavior earlier in the year, the profane chants during National Marquette Day were significantly louder than at other games, which is why we sent the letter to our student body,” Kouhel said.

The chants are not new to the student section. Thomas Inda, a freshman in the College of Health Sciences, and Daniel Matheson, a freshman in the College of Business, said they have both heard these chants before.

“The chant’s been used at the Wisconsin game and the Villanova game, but this was the first time we’ve been reprimanded for doing so,” Matheson said.

Matheson and Inda both recognize that the chant does not happen frequently, but said there is a pattern for when it appears.

“It’s usually close games with rivals,” Inda said.

The Xavier game, was not close, though. The Golden Eagles maintained a double-digit lead for the majority of the game. However, Matheson believes that National Marquette Day contributed to the high tensions.

“The fact that it was a high-profile game also played a factor,” Matheson said.

As an avid fan, Inda said the chants didn’t bother him, but he understands why there may be cause for concern.

“I don’t think it reflects poorly on the program, but it does kind of reflect poorly on the students,” Inda said. “I’m OK with the chants, but it is kind of weird when you see kids around the stadium. It makes you pause twice. The chants are mostly unintelligible, though, so I don’t think they cause much harm.”

Concerns have also been raised about how late in the season the reprimanding occurred. With only one home game left, Matheson said he wondered why the university didn’t address the issue sooner.

“I understand the reasoning behind it, but I feel like it should’ve happened after one of the earlier games rather than one of the last home games of the season,” Matheson said.

Cole said the information was presented to him after the Xavier game, and he would have addressed it sooner if he were made aware.

“It matters not the time of the year or how late it is in the season,” Cole said, “I was responding to information when I knew it.  We will continue to educate around issues of civility regardless of the context.”

While the chants were seen as a blemish of an otherwise successful game, Kouhel does not believe that they ruined the spirit of National Marquette Day.

“I do have to say that we recognize that this took place in what amounted to a very small portion of the game and the overall experience was an amazing game-day atmosphere,” Kouhel said.

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