WVU and city remove offensive ‘Welcome Week’ banners

MORGANTOWN — Welcome week banners are a tradition on college campuses across the country, but they’re not allowed in Morgantown’s residential neighborhoods, Morgantown Police Chief Ed Preston said.

The banners range from funny to offensive and often somewhere in between, but Preston said the city ordinance doesn’t regulate what’s on them — just the banners themselves. On move-in weekend the banners could be seen in neighborhoods where students are known to live, such as Sunnyside.

“For me the big thing is it doesn’t reflect highly on those that are doing it and it’s embarrassing for all of us,” WVU’s Dean of Students Corey Farris said Wednesday.

He said offensive banners do not display the kind of attitude WVU tries to foster and are disrespectful.

“It’s not a welcoming environment when someone is coming to town to see offensive banners like that,” he said.

The university took proactive steps. Farris said the university reached out to several area landlords and asked them to keep an eye out and to help stop their tenants from hanging banners, but there’s little WVU can do beyond that.

He said if an offensive banner was hung on university property it would be removed.

Farris said that he’s seen offensive banners on two other college campuses that he’s worked on and that year-to-year the number ebbs and flows, but said social media has certainly increased the exposure the banners get.

Preston said the fine for having a banner can be up to $500, but the municipal court has discretion in that.

No citations were issued because everyone voluntarily removed banners after police informed them of the regulation he said.

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