This year, there were ample articles from various publications illustrating all the options that constitute as offensive Halloween costumes. This University of Wisconsin – Madison fan and Trump supporter clearly didn’t get the memo.
The college football fan donned a mask of President Barack Obama in a prison jumpsuit with a noose around his neck to Saturday’s University of Wisconsin v. University of Nebraska game.
His friend, who sported a mask of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, held the end of the noose.
After sports-goers tweeted their disdain for the inappropriate display, the University of Wisconsin released a statement that many found to be controversial.
In the statement released via Twitter, the university called the costumes of the individuals involved “repugnant and counter to the values of the university,” even noting that “guest services” employees were sent to ask the individuals to “remove the offensive components of the costume,” to which they complied. However, the university also defended “the individual’s right to free speech.”
The statement reads, “UW Athletics’ policy regarding admission into the stadium with a costume stipulates that no one may be wearing a mask upon entering the facility. Once inside, it is permissible to wear a mask.
The costume, while repugnant and counter to the values of the university and athletic department, was an exercise of the individual’s right to free speech. The university also exercised its rights by asking the individuals to remove offensive parts of the costume.”
Many found the university’s lack of distinction between “free speech” and “hate speech” troubling.
And others felt that the university didn’t take enough action by simply asking the individuals to remove the “offensive components” of the costume.
What are your thoughts regarding the university’s response?