Float Carried Figure Mocking Gays
FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) _ Colorado State University officials are investigating how a scarecrow that mocked homosexuals showed up on a homecoming parade float while a gay man lay dying in a local hospital.
The parade took place Saturday. That same day, a gay University of Wyoming student lay dying in Poudre Valley Hospital five miles across town after an attack being denounced as a hate crime.
Matthew Shepard died Monday, six days after he was lured from a Laramie, Wyo., campus hangout, beaten and lashed to a split-rail fence.
The bicyclists who found him at first mistook him for a scarecrow. Two men arrested in the attack face murder charges.
The scarecrow appeared on a float sponsored by Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and Alpha Chi Omega sorority.
Nicholas Haws, homecoming chairman for Pi Kappa Alpha, said the scarecrow was supposed to be in the uniform of the Tulsa University’s Golden Hurricane, Colorado State’s opponents in Saturday’s football game.
He said someone vandalized the float Friday night, pinning a sign saying ``I am Gay″ and an anti-gay epithet on the figure. He said the scarecrow was removed but someone placed it back on the float prior to Saturday’s parade.
Nathan Stanley, president of the Fort Collins chapter of the fraternity, said the appearance of the scarecrow was inadvertent.
``The fraternity does not promote any kind of stuff like that,″ he said.
The sorority did not immediately comment.
University President Albert C. Yates said appropriate disciplinary action will be taken once an investigation is complete.