The University of Wisconsin-Madison released a statement after a photo of a fan wearing a racist costume at a football game went viral on Saturday. The fan appeared to be trying to make a political statement by holding a sign and wearing a President Obama mask with a noose attached.
Per the statement, after UW officials became aware of the "highly insensitive and offensive costume," guest services were sent to ask the fan "to remove the offensive components of the costume," and he complied.
Here's the full statement the university sent to USA TODAY Sports:
During the first half of this evening's Wisconsin football game against Nebraska, UW officials were made aware that an individual in the seating bowl had donned a highly insensitive and offensive costume. UW Athletics' guest services staff were dispatched to the individual's seating area where they asked him to remove the offensive components of the costume. He complied.
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 individual to remove the offensive parts of the costume.
UW-Madison is dedicated to promoting a campus environment where all people feel valued, safe and able to thrive. To that end, the university continues to encourage all of our community members to engage in discussion over vital issues in ways that promote greater understanding and respect for all persons.
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