UMass Lowell Holds 'Harambe Night' | NECN
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UMass Lowell Holds 'Harambe Night'

Event took place during soccer game between Lowell and Brown University

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    The University of Massachusetts at Lowell Athletic Department held a 'Harambe Night' on Wednesday. (Published Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016)

    The University of Massachusetts at Lowell Athletic Department held a 'Harambe Night' on Wednesday.

    The event took place at 7 p.m. during the men's soccer game against Brown University.

    The promotion was based on the silver back gorilla of that name who was euthanized at the Cincinnati zoo earlier this year when a child fell into his enclosure. It was a situation that lead to an outcry from many.

    The UMass Lowell Athletic Department gave out mini Harambe plush dolls to the first 100 people in the gate as a marketing initiative.

    Students were also encouraged to dress up in gorilla suits to be entered in a contest to win various prizes.

    "I wear this thing around randomly sometimes honestly," said a student named Brent.

    He said the promotion spoke to him.

    "I was thinking of camping out here, honestly," he said. "That's how bad I wanted to be here."

    School officials were aware that some would find the promotion offensive. Issues related to Harambe have come up including on campus at UMass-Amherst.

    "Our marketing initiatives are designed to respond in a positive and fun way to student interests," the school said in a statement. "The name Harambe stands for bringing people together and that was our focus. However, we were not aware the issue had become controversial on another campus or that some online tributes to Harambe had been co-opted in inappropriate ways by Internet users not associated with our campus. UMass Lowell is committed to being an inclusive community for all."

    Other students who attended Wednesday's game said they were not offended.

    "Not that huge of a soccer fan but free stuff's always nice," said student Matt Zate.

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