John Vestevich’s editorial comic featured a drunk sorority girl on the floor, leaning over the toilet, sick.
The back of her shirt read “Fall Sorority Recruitment-We didn’t invent class-We perfected it” and on the floor next to her were empty bottles.
The black an white comic was for Ferris State’s weekly newspaper, The Torch, and Vestevich wasn’t sure if editor in chief Antonio Coleman, a fraternity member, would let it run.
Little did Vestevich know, the comic would get published and ignite a firestorm of controversy not just at his school, but on social news site Reddit, a site that sees 1.2 billion page views a month, mostly from men.
The comic ran Wednesday and was posted on the newspaper’s website where it collected more than 17,000 pageviews (beating the schools all-time monthly record of 11,000) and 558 comments, Coleman said. On Thursday the Reddit post reached that site’s front page with 4,500 upvotes and 877 comments Thursday.
“I’m just surprised,” Vestevich told the Daily Dot. “It’s just an obvious thing and I think this is the first time that really anyone has called them (sororities) to task, so to speak.”
Vestevich has received some hate my from people calling him a “tool” and asking him if he hates Greek life “because we have more friends and you can’t hook up with your girls?”
At the University Advancement and Marketing office where he works as a student graphic designer, Vestevich also heard some of he colleagues answering calls about the comic.
Not to mention, the hundreds of people on the newspapers website who took great offense to the comic.
“Not only do Greek students have a higher GPA than non-Greeks, but we do more volunteer hours are more involved on campus as students, give more money as alumnae and have a higher graduation rate than non-Greeks!” Recruitment Chair 2011 wrote on the newspapers website. “This is the most offensive thing I have ever seen in the Torch. GO GREEK!!!”
On Reddit, hundreds of people, including former fraternity members, came to Vestevich’s defense against the people chastising him on the newspapers website. (Which is not all that surprising since most of Reddit’s members are in college and male, according to a volunteer demographic survey launched in July.)
“Honestly, the Greek community's behavior over this single cartoon just solidifies some of my beliefs in the Greek system,” wrote SteakSauceBigBoss. “It's an indoctrinating, minor-brain washing that makes people behave in a similar way to Nationalism.”
“I'm currently in a sorority, I definitely can't say I've never been in her position, and I find this cartoon funny,” wrote neketa1. “People should learn to lighten up a bit. If you can't laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at?”
Vestevich has taken the criticism in stride and has actually received a good amount of positive feedback regarding the the comic.
“I just see things that strike me as offensive or absurd and I kind of try and spell that out in the comics,” he said. “My goal is to get college kids to get a new different perspective and see themselves from the outside, so to speak.”