Clerical error blamed for offensive sorority T-shirt

A T-shirt printing company haphazardly printed 300 shirts with a racist image on them for a sorority at Samford University.

South by Sea, a vendor used by Alpha Delta Pi sorority, apologized for accidentally printing the shirts which included a map of Alabama with an inset image of a black man eating a watermelon. The design was submitted and rejected by school officials, according to AL.com.

"We received notice from Samford University that this design was rejected preproduction, and we incorrectly entered it in our system as an approval, a clerical error on our part," the company said in a statement, according to AL.com. "We sincerely apologize for this mistake and the mistake was ours, the vendor stated. It is against our principles as company and as people to support racially insensitive material of any kind. We are all personally embarrassed that we would allow this shirt to be designed or produced."

The shirt was produced for the Alpha Delta Pi sorority spring formal, according to AL.com. But the design was denied by school officials.

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"Our staff definitively disapproved the shirt design on the grounds that it was racially insensitive and communicated these instructions to the vendor," Samford president Andrew Westmoreland wrote Monday, according to AL.com. "The shirt should never have been produced. Approximately 300 shirts were ordered for delivery. The shirts arrived on May 6 and were then made available to the membership, without recognition of the racially-insensitive imagery on the shirts.  This lack of perception does not excuse the offense that it caused."

The Alpha Delta Pi did not notice the racist image and were not notified that the design was rejected, according to AL.com.

"Clearly the responsibility for this grave situation lies first and foremost with the chapter; they have readily taken responsibility for their role," The sorority governing body said in a statement, according to AL.com. "Alpha Delta Pi will continue to investigate and provide updates as they become available, and will take appropriate actions at the conclusion of our investigation."