- On Feb. 13, a gunman shot and killed 3 people on MSU’s campus and injured 5.
- In the aftermath of the shooting, the MSU community joined together to support.
- “Unscrupulous businesses” are accused of selling unlicensed MSU items possibly under the guise of donating proceeds.
The Michigan State University is still reeling from an on-campus mass shooting just last month, and the university is warning the community about scammers capitalizing on the tragedy.
Lisa Parker, senior director of alumni engagement at MSU, blamed “trauma entrepreneurs” in a tweet claiming a photo of two of her friends had been edited to look like they were wearing an “Always a Spartan” sweatshirt design.
—Lisa Parker (@MSULisaP) February 20, 2023
In her tweet, Parker urged users not to buy the sweatshirt as it wasn’t the design her friends actually were wearing in the photo, which was taken at MSU’s “Spirit Sunday” when the university came together for emotional support following the shooting that left multiple people dead.
“They were NOT wearing this sweatshirt design. The company altered the photo,” Parker wrote.
According to the Detroit Free Press, the original sweatshirt design was that of MSU donor recognition coordinator Andersen Herminia Boyer, who made sweatshirts for herself and other members of her alumni group. But the edited photo was being used to sell another design.
While neither design was authorized by MSU to be sold, Detroit Free Press reported that the brand promoting the edited design is “Love MSU,” and its Facebook profile picture was reportedly changed to Oxford High School shooting survivor Emma Riddle following the tragedy at MSU.
—Detroit Spartans (@DetroitSpartans) February 20, 2023
“It’s unconscionable. It’s like soulless. I don’t understand how anyone can live with themselves profiting off the death of three kids, injuring so many more and the ripple effects into their families,” Boyer said, per the local publication.
Boyer’s design isn’t currently for sale, but an MSU alumni group told followers that she was working with the university to make the sweatshirt available for purchase.
In a statement on February 21, MSU warned its community of potential scammers selling merchandise under the guise of donating to the school’s “Spartan Strong Fund.” The university also provided a list of approved vendors; Love MSU was not among those.
“Unscrupulous businesses and individuals have engaged in selling unlicensed apparel and other merchandise. The university cannot verify that proceeds from the sales of these unlicensed products will be donated to the Spartan Strong Fund,” the university said in a statement, according to CBS News.
Michigan police identified 43-year-old Anthony McRae as the suspect responsible for fatally shooting three people and injuring five more before taking his own life on February 13 on the campus of MSU.