UW-Madison statement calls Obama noose costume ‘despicable’

At the University of Wisconsin weekend football game against Nebraska, a fan wore a President Barack Obama mask and a noose around his neck.

The fan took off the noose when asked by Camp Randall Stadium staff.

Chancellor Rebecca Blank says that once the noose was removed, the rest of the costume fell within the stadium’s costume policies.

Blank and athletic director Barry Alvare have issued this statement on the incident:

To the Badger community,

What we saw Saturday night at Camp Randall was despicable and caused an immense amount of pain throughout our community. And it should have, as a noose is a symbol of one of the vilest forms of racial hatred and intimidation in our country’s history.

As many have noted, thousands of African-Americans were lynched in the United States from 1882-1968. We can’t ignore the significance of this history and we can’t underestimate the symbolism of a noose to all those who see that image today.

A noose displayed in this fashion has no place on campus. Together, the Athletics Department and the University’s Office of Legal Affairs are initiating a review of stadium policies with the goal of ensuring that symbols of this type are not displayed in our stadium again.

We have work to do at UW-Madison on campus climate issues, and an incident like this only deepens the divides across campus. 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.

To those who have spoken out about this, we hear you and we thank you for your feedback and concern. Together, we will continue to strive to make UW-Madison a place where all Badgers can thrive.

Rebecca Blank, Chancellor

Barry Alvarez, Athletic Director