Thursday, January 30, 2003

Company's explicit shirts outrage U of L



By Anabelle Garay
The Associated Press

LOUISVILLE - Credit-card solicitors have been banned from the University of Louisville after two workers offered students racially derogatory and sexually explicit T-shirts during a promotion.

A caricature of a black woman, the Bank One logo and "10 Reasons Why Beer is Better than a Black Man" appeared on the shirts. The shirts were among giveaways offered to students who applied for a U of L credit card backed by Bank One during a campus visit last week.

Representatives from Bank One plan to apologize and discuss the incident with University of Louisville students and faculty at a diversity forum Tuesday.

On Monday, Bank One fired FrontLine Event Marketing, the Philadelphia-based company handling the promotion.

"Bank One is outraged that such a thing could happen," said company spokeswoman Nancy Norris.

"That offensive T-shirt was not approved by Bank One."

Several calls to FrontLine were not returned Wednesday.

University President Jim Ramsey announced the ban Friday, a day after two Indianapolis-based credit card promotions workers were escorted off campus.

Although the solicitors had permission from the school to conduct the promotion, officials did not see the T-shirts until a confrontation between the workers and students ensued.

"I would like to add my own personal apologies to the students, faculty and staff who were appropriately offended by this deplorable incident," Ramsey said in an e-mail.

"What happened was simply not acceptable on our campus or in any community and we must do everything we can to make sure it does not happen again."

Bank One is considering taking legal action against the promotions company, because the T-shirts depicted the bank's logo without permission, Norris said.

Bank One was the only credit card vendor allowed at U of L.




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