After a fan wore a costume depicting President Barack Obama with a noose tied around the neck at Saturday’s football game, the University of Wisconsin announced they will be reviewing their policies at Camp Randall Stadium.
UW Chancellor Rebecca Blank and Barry Alvarez, UW Director of Athletics, released a statement Tuesday condemning the act saying it has “no place on campus.”
Officials said they will seek to ensure “that symbols of this type are not displayed in our stadium.” The male fan, in a prison jumpsuit, not only wore an Obama mask, but also a mask depicting presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. He was led around the stadium by the noose around his neck held by a man wearing a Donald Trump mask.
Halloween costumes may be worn at Camp Randall and the Kohl Center, but they “must be of an appropriate nature,” according to UW Athletics’ carry-in policy.
“A noose is a symbol of one of the vilest forms of racial hatred and intimidation in our country’s history,” Blank and Alvarez said in the statement.
"…must be of an appropriate nature."
Noose around neck of the image of our black president in a jail suit is appropriate? pic.twitter.com/zfd5C1zr0f
— Nigel Hayes (@NIGEL_HAYES) October 30, 2016
UW has received harsh criticism after initially stating the fan was not ejected from the stadium because he was exercising his constitutional right to freedom of speech. This comes at a time when UW has received notoriety of recent campus climate incidents.
Rev. Alex Gee, a former UW recruiter, expressed his deep disappointment in UW through an open letter. Gee cited multiple past incidents in which UW failed to properly condemn hate crimes because of freedom of speech that made people of color feel as if they were not “free.”
“When I see something as historically diabolical and destructive to the African-American family and psyche as a noose, I cringe,” Gee wrote. “But when I see campus leadership issue what sounds like slap-on-the-wrist response, I hurt.”
— Althea René (@Sou11stress) November 1, 2016
“We have work to do at UW–Madison on campus climate issues, and an incident like this only deepens the divides across campus,” according to the UW statement. “Both the University administration and Athletics Department are committed to doing this hard work, while being acutely aware that we are a long way from where we want to be.”