LAWRENCE (KSNT) – Members of the Lawrence community are rallying around a local fraternity after it was the subject of a possible act of hate earlier this week.
KSNT 27 News spoke with members of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity at the University of Kansas (KU) on Nov. 6 shortly after it was reported that the fraternity’s Israeli flag was vandalized. The Lawrence Kansas Police Department confirmed the incident is under investigation.
Douglas Girod, KU’s chancellor, released a statement shortly after the incident was reported, denouncing the alleged, “act intended to intimidate members of our Jewish community.” While the incident was shocking to the members of the fraternity, it didn’t stop members of the Lawrence-Douglas County Fire and Medical Department (LDCFM) from stepping up to make the situation better.
On the morning of Thursday, Nov. 9, the LDCFM helped the fraternity put up a new flag in a show of solidarity with the local college students. LDCFM Chief Rich Llewellyn told KSNT 27 News this was done as part of his organization’s dedication to serving the community.
“Lawrence-Douglas County Fire and Medical (LDCFM) was requested for a task that is atypical for the agency earlier this morning at the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity at the University of Kansas. There was a report of damage to an Israeli flag and components of the flagpole. During the police investigation, they discussed how to repair and rehang the flag. LKPD Police Chief Rich Lockhart reached out to Fire Chief Rich Llewellyn and a plan to assist was made. Quint 3, an aerial suppression apparatus was requested, and the repairs to the flagpole were made along with rehanging the flag. Although an atypical call for assistance, LDCFM was happy to assist and prevent any possible injury that could have occurred while trying to make the repairs themselves.”LDCFM statement
“We are immensely proud of the collaborative efforts demonstrated by the Lawrence-Douglas County Fire and Medical officers, alongside the Lawrence, KS Police Department, in assisting the AEPi Fraternity members to reinstate the Israeli flag on their flagpole. The City of Lawrence remains committed to fostering a welcoming environment for all its residents. In alignment with this ethos, our departments not only aided in reinstating the flags but also shared crucial preventive measures to ensure such incidents are less likely to occur in the future. We stand together in upholding the values of unity and respect within our community.”City of Lawrence statement
This comes as students at colleges across the country rally in support of one side or the other in the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict that started in early October. A teacher’s union at KU recently took a controversial stance on the conflict, prompting the American Federation of Teachers to distance itself from the union.
The Israel-Palestine conflict has even reached the Capital City. The Kansas Attorney General issued a statement on Nov. 9 after someone stole blue lights outside Memorial Hall which were placed in a show of solidarity with Israel.