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Controversy erupted this week on Long Island. What was supposed to be a simple outreach from Traymore State University to a community in need quickly turned to scandal. Now, people are looking to a Traymore State University student for answers.
It all started last weekend when a mixture of heavy rain and a burst pipe flooded the basement at the local senior center five miles away from campus. Phi Kappa Lambda, an on campus fraternity, pledged to help. They immediately donated $10,000 in addition to going to assist in the cleanup Tuesday morning as part of the university mandated five community hours per semester requirement for members of Greek life.
The good deed gesture quickly turned into a problem, though, when Phi Kappa Lambda President Toby Stevens was photographed walking into the senior center wearing Sperry topsider shoes. The Sperrys were an almond colored pair that retail for around $150. Critics where quick to respond with outrage on Stevens choice of footwear by saying it was “rude, embarrassing, and not proper attire for the event.”
Others said Stevens’ shoe choice was a “symbol of elitism that puts him horribly out of touch with the rest of the student body.” Stevens responded that he had no choice. He had originally planned to wear his Gucci loafers to the event, but no longer could, as they still had sand in them from when the fraternity held their formal in Atlantic City last semester.
Reaction was mixed among senior citizens with comments from the residents. Eighty-seven-year-old retired veteran Bill Lombardo said “back in my day, we worried about Pearl Harbor, not damn boat shoes!”
Dean of Student Activities Donald McDermott immediately released a statement. “Diversity and inclusiveness are a part of this university’s core values, and thus we do not approve of Mr. Stevens footwear choice at this university sanctioned public service event. While Mr. Stevens may have believed his shoes where a casual, comfortable choice for that day’s activities, we cannot ignore his reckless disregard for other people’s feelings and are looking forward into investigating into this matter.” Greek Life Supervisor Vincent Modano further commented, “I’m just relieved this wasn’t another hazing scandal for once.”
This is not the first time Stevens is involved with a fashion controversy. Stevens and formal girlfriend Tori Anne Thompson posted an Instagram of them assisting the schools Greek Week Christmas toy drive last year. Thompson, social chair for the school’s Sigma Tau Kappa sorority, caused controversy by tagging all the luxury brands she was wearing in the picture from her Prada dress to Dolce and Gabanna handbag.
Thompson got in a much publicized argument with a middle aged woman in her comment section. When asked for reaction to this, Stevens said he dumped Thompson for a pledge from a rival sorority last semester and hasn’t talked to Thompson since.
The Public Outreach Club has already planned a rally in protest of Stevens’ shoe choice. University officials have declared campus a “Sperry free safe space” and have brought in therapy dogs, grief counselors, and special therapy dogs that double as grief counselors. Stevens posted a picture of him at the event, in the boat shoes, on his Instagram and sources have confirmed rival fraternity presidents have already sent in the picture to the Total Frat Move website’s “Fail Friday” column..