This turkey episode continues to become a source of embarrassment for the University of Kansas.

First a fraternity was suspended indefinitely by its national chapter for cruelly killing a turkey during an end-of-semester dinner dance at its house. That was followed by a KU School of Education Dean apologizing this week for a crude joke about the event.

Jim Lichtenberg wrote an email making fun of the incident and including a slang term used to describe masturbation. Lichtenberg meant to send the email to the other deans in his department, but it accidentally got sent to a woman in Indiana who had emailed the three deans after reading about the incident.

A shamefaced Lichtenberg sent the woman an apology on Thursday, saying he should have never written the email and calling it a “personal and professional embarrassment.”

He did a stupid thing, but it wasn’t cruel. Let’s not get hung up in the politically correct world of saying the right thing. Let’s not lose site of the real wrong in all of this. Animal cruelty is sick and wrong, and the young men responsible for the turkey’s death should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and their academic futures at KU should be seriously considered.

Police were called to the Beta Theta Pi house last month on reports of possible cruelty to the turkey. According to the report, officers determined that the turkey, which had been in a case, somehow got loose and was “chased and abused by several individuals at the party,” according to Sgt. Trent McKinley of the Lawrence Police Department.

Someone killed the turkey, “stating he did so to end its suffering,” McKinley reported.

But before he was killed, witnesses told the Kansas City Star that the turkey was chased through the crowed, thrown like a football and choked. At one point, its wing snapped and then its leg, witnesses said.

A musician hired to play the party said the turkey was running around scared and the crowd “turned into a blood lust. We saw a mob mentality.”

It sounds like twisted behavior from a group of students from which we should expect better.

— The Hutchinson News