Rock painted 'Frat Lives Matter,' then repainted, after student arrests related to Jeffny Pally case

The rock near North Garage on the University of Connecticut’s campus, known for being painted by student clubs, read “Frat Lives Matter” on Monday morning.

The rock beside North Garage was painted "Frat Lives Matter" on the night on Feb. 27, 2017, a few days after several members of Kappa Sigma fraternity were arrested for serving alcohol to minors in the case of Jeffny Pally. (Contributed Photo/The Daily Campus)

The incident comes on the heels of the arrest of six members of the Kappa Sigma fraternity in connection with the death of student Jeffny Pally. Kappa Sigma recently lost its university recognition due to incidents unrelated to Pally’s death.

A smaller rock near Oak Hall and the Monteith Building was also painted with the slogan.

Patrick Callahan, 21, Matthew Moll, 21, Dylan Morose, 22, Jonathan Polansky, 22, Dominic Godi, 21 and Austin Custodio, 21, were arrested Friday for providing alcohol at the party Pally attended the night of her death.

Pally died after being hit by a UConn fire department vehicle on Oct. 16. Pally was leaning on the garage door of the fire department and fell backwards when it opened up for crew to respond to a call. Her blood alcohol content was .25 percent.

Members of UConn’s recognized fraternities painted the message over around 11a.m. UConn’s Interfraternity Council wrote a Facebook post condemning the phrase.

“The wildly inappropriate and insensitive messages of ‘Frat Lives Matter’ painted on rocks throughout our campus this morning do not in any way reflect the values or beliefs of the UConn Interfraternity Council or any of our 12 recognized member fraternities,” the post read. “UConn fraternity men have always, and will always, continue to hold themselves to highest moral standards and strive to be leaders and role models within the community.”

UConn spokeperson Stephanie Reitz provided the university’s policies for painting the rock Monday morning.

According to the policy, the rock is painted “to foster pride within student groups” and “to keep the campus beautiful and environmentally sound, and to protect investments in new and renovated facilities.”

Futhermore, “enforcement of the policy and rock painting guidelines will be coordinated by Student Activities and associated staff, as well as University law enforcement personnel and Community Standards.”

Students painted over the rock with the words "We are UConn" around 11 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 27, 2017. (Olivia Stenger/The Daily Campus)

Holden Powell is an eighth-semester UConn student who is the vice president of UConn’s chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and a member of UConn Sankofa, an association created to bring awareness to African-American studies and the black experience in America. Powell said he is a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement, and the phrase “Frat Lives Matter” is problematic to the movement’s principles.

“The creation of ‘Frat Lives Matter’ was made with the intention of disrespect,” Powell said.

Powell also said the phrase was “created out of ignorance,” to the true meaning of the Black Lives Matter movement and message.

A WFSB article was posted on the UConn Buy or Sell Facebook page the day of the six students’ arrests. Some comments showed that several students felt the arrests were unfair.

“It's not right for their names to be associated with her death…  These guys are not the cause of her death, so they [UConn Police] shouldn't be making it out to sound that way,” Lauren Marullo said.

Piotr Wilbik said the article said Pally had drank with her sorority sisters before the party as well.

“[Y]et zero liability has been placed upon [her sorority sisters.] All the charges placed upon the guys can be put on her sisters yet none of them have received them. This all just seems to be an effort by the university & state police to further discredit this chapter of the fraternity,” Wilbik said.


Schae Beaudoin is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at schae.beaudoin@uconn.edu.